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Division I Cross-Country meet a challenge

Pat Leonard | Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The Saint Mary’s cross-country team was not favored by any means to defeat Division I opponents such as Notre Dame, Dayton and DePaul at the National Catholic Invitational at Notre Dame on Friday.

The Belles, however, set realistic goals and paced themselves to finish No. 25 overall and No. 16 among Division II varsity contenders on the weekend.

Times were a bit slower for Saint Mary’s, but coach Dave Barstis provided an explanation.

“My goal was to have everyone race for only two miles, then bring it in easy,” he said. “I set a goal time for the one mile and two mile marks and everyone achieved them, so I’m extremely pleased going into the Jamboree.”

The upcoming MIAA Jamboree this Saturday at Adrian College will open conference competition for the Belles, and Saint Mary’s is taking every last precaution to be healthy for the race, including not running athletes in races.

“Sara Otto did not run because of an injury,” Barstis said. “We needed to save her for the first conference race this Saturday.”

Notre Dame dominated and won the overall meet. Saint Mary’s scored a 418 in Division II competition and 703 versus Division I teams.

At the National Catholic Invitational, senior Jackie Bauters led the Belles with a time of 20:50 and a 112th place finish. Freshman Katie White, who had the third-best Saint Mary’s time at the Heidelberg Invitational and the top time at the Aquinas College Invitational, came in 136th place with a time of 21:07.

Junior Elizabeth Commers (21:45), freshman Erin Nolan (21:46) and freshman Allison Beyer (21:47) finished right on each other’s heals, finishing in 172, 175 and 178th places, respectively.

Beyer improved last week’s time by 26 seconds.