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Women's Cross Country/Track and Field

March 02, 2008

Ballinger leads Eagles at GLVC Championships,
USI grabs two titles at league meet

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Mary Ballinger



CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind.Sophomore Mary Ballinger (Chesterton, Indiana) earned three All-GLVC awards Saturday to lead the University of Southern Indiana women's track and field team to a seventh-place finish at the GLVC Indoor Championships.

Ballinger accounted for 28 of USI's 46 team points by winning the 5,000 meters, finishing second in the 3,000 meters, and helping the Screaming Eagles distance medley relay (DMR) team to a first-place finish.

Her performance in the 5,000 meters was a rarity in the fact that she set a strong NCAA II provisional qualifying mark with her time of 17 minutes, 13.58 seconds. Entering the day, Ballinger was on the bubble to qualify for the NCAA II Indoor Championships in the 5,000 meters. However, her time Saturday virtually assures her a trip to nationals.

"No one has ever run a valid qualifying mark in the 5,000 meters, men or women," Head Coach Mike Hillyard said. "For her to go out and run the mark pretty much on her own after running the DMR is pretty impressive."

Ballinger also helped the DMR post a stronger NCAA II provisional qualifying time of 12 minutes, 15.20 seconds. Joining her on the team and in earning All-GLVC honors for the performance was senior Heather Cooksey (Brownsburg, Indiana), junior Christy Dixon (Owensboro, Kentucky), and sophomore Lauren Crick (Evansville, Indiana).

In all, the Eagles had five top-five finishes, including a fourth-place finish by freshman Carmisha Leary (Indianapolis, Indiana) in the shot put and a fifth-place finish by freshman Leslee Getts (Corunna, Indiana) in the 5,000 meters. Leary's throw of 38 feet, 1.50 inches was a school record in the shot put.

While Ballinger is almost a lock to join Cooksey at nationals in the 5,000 meters, Dixon and Crick will need to wait for the final declarations later this week to see if they will have the opportunity to compete with the two in the DMR.

The NCAA II Indoor Championships are March 14-15 in Mankato, Minnesota.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information


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