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Belles to compete in second Div-I meet of the season

Pat Leonard | Friday, October 3, 2003

The Saint Mary’s cross country team has wounds to heal. The Belles, however, also have a race to run.

Before the team gets a much-needed break leading up to the MIAA Championships Nov.1, it must run two important races. The first of the two races will happen this Saturday at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational at Loyola Chicago. And the team needs its top runners even though they’re battling injuries.

Freshmen Sara Otto and Katie White have been two of Saint Mary’s best runners this season. But each is nursing injuries, with Otto hobbling on a bad toe and White fighting arch problems in her feet.

Both freshmen will run Saturday, which possibly could endanger the team’s season.

In addition to senior Jackie Bauters, Otto and White have finished in the top three in all of the Belles’ races thus far. A loss of either runner would have a devastating impact on the team.

Last season at the same event, Saint Mary’s finished in 21st place out of non-Division I teams and 28th overall. Bauters and Laura Ficker placed 171st and 180th, respectively.

The Belles have already improved their performance this season in Division I races, placing 16th at the National Catholic Invitational at Notre Dame. Saint Mary’s has finished closer to the top in all of its other races, including a fifth-place finish in its first race and two sixth-place finishes.

Most recently in the MIAA Jamboree, the Belles saw results of a slow progression to top form. The top five runners in each varsity race count to the team’s final score. In contrast to having just three runners place relatively high in its previous races, Saint Mary’s saw junior Elizabeth Commers join the three usual leaders at 52nd place in the Jamboree.

The Invitational is one of two races that will take place before the MIAA Championships.

The Belles also have the Eagles Invitational at Benedictine University on Oct. 10.