March 14, 2009
Ballinger's record effort gives her another All-America honor
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HOUSTON, Texas—University of Southern Indiana junior Mary Ballinger (Chesterton, Indiana) can add a fifth All-America honor to her name after her school record-setting performance at the NCAA II Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday evening.
Ballinger finished third in the 5,000 meters with an indoor school record time of 16 minutes, 36.61 seconds, just over three seconds short of second-place Jennifer Harpp (Shippensburg University), who crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 33.38 seconds.
Seattle Pacific University's Jessica Pixler won the event with a time of 16 minutes, 22.64 seconds.
For Ballinger, it wraps up an outstanding two days at the NCAA II Indoor Championships and the NCAA II Winter Sports Festival. She helped USI's distance medley relay team to a fifth-place finish to pick up her first All-America award of the weekend Friday night. Other members of USI's DMR that earned All-America honors is senior Christy Dixon
(Owensboro, Kentucky) as well as juniors Lacy Williams
(Haubstadt, Indiana) and Lauren Crick
In the fall, Ballinger became the first-ever competitor in school history to earn All-America honors in cross country for a second time when she finished 10th at the NCAA II Cross Country Championships. She stunned the 5,000-meter field at the NCAA II Indoor Championships when she finished second a year ago.
Ballinger's performance, coupled with USI's DMR last night, put the Screaming Eagles a tie for 16th in the final team standings. USI finished with 10 points, just a one tally back of 13th and two behind 12th-place.
USI is set to open its 2009 outdoor track and field schedule March 27-28 at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Spring Classic in Carbondale, Illinois.
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