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Belles do well at Heidelberg

Dan Tapetillo | Friday, September 10, 2004

The two latest editions to the Belles played pivotal roles have paid immediate dividends.Last Friday, Saint Mary’s competed in the 6K Heidelberg Invitational, finishing fourth, in a field of five teams. The Belles were led by freshman Megan Gray and transfer student Meghan Murphy, finishing first and second respectively for the team.”I was excited [with how we did], but there is still a lot of hard work that needs to be done,” Gray said.Joining a team full of returning veterans might have been an awkward and intimidating experience for Gray and Murphy, but it was just the opposite. Both newcomers say their teammates have been very welcoming. “All the girls have been really helpful,” Gray said. “We push each other in the workouts, but it is more about the team and not the individual.”To begin the season, coach Dave Barstis had the objective of being team-oriented rather than individual-oriented on his list of season goals. Barstis’ wish is to have the top seven performers running within 45 seconds to one minute to each other. He believes this team-oriented approach will help to both establish motivation throughout the race and to unify each member of the squad.In the first meet of the season, the top seven runners finished within two minutes of each other. Gray, who finished first for the team and 13th overall, came in with a time of 24 minutes, 59 seconds. Murphy finished second on the team and 19th overall in 25:37. Also placing for the Belles were veterans Erin Nolan and Katie White, who finished third and fourth for the team.The team finished fourth with a score of 77 points. Sienna Heights University won the invitational with a score of 12 points, followed by Ohio Northern and Shawnee State.Today, the Belles will be competing in the Aquinas College Invitational. Last season, the team finished sixth out of 13 teams. White was the Belles’ top finisher at the Aquinas Invitational last year.Despite the team’s past success at this invitational, the Belles are simply approaching the meet as if it were a workout. Each race is an opportunity to work out the mechanics of competing as one unit in preparation for the rest of the season. “Nov. 13 is where we want to run well,” Gray said. “We are just getting started.”