Belles place 26th of 31 at ND Invitational
Anna Fricano | Monday, September 20, 2004
Megan Gray led the way for the Saint Mary’s Friday at the National Catholic Invitational held at the University of Notre Dame. Gray, who was 30 seconds shy of her season’s best run, finished 89th and was the fastest Belles runner. Coach Dave Barstis opted to treat the run as a workout rather than prepare for the race as the team usually would. Moreover, the team faced the challenge of running against Division I schools including DePaul and Gonzaga, among others. The team finished 24th overall out of 31 schools, but has come out of the race feeling better prepared for next week’s conference meet. The squad felt it was better off after having run the difficult race, and it improved on many of its goals for the team. The Belles were mainly concentrating on improving their splits and running together as a team. And run together they certainly did. The top four finishers for Saint Mary’s all completed the race within one minute of each other.Another standout for the Belles on Friday was sophomore Katie White, who had her best team finish of the year and fell shy of her best time by 16 seconds. Most importantly, though, is the strength of the team that can be seen from the weekend’s top finishers. It is evident that any number of runners could step up for the Belles when they compete in their first conference meet next week. Gray and sophomore transfer Meghan Murphy seem to have added a depth to the team that will only help them in upcoming weeks. The two newcomers of the season simply add to the list of top finishers that could emerge from the team. “I am not going to put it past these girls to get fourth or better at the conference meet,” Barstis said.The Belles certainly seem to be on the path to accomplishing that goal. The first indication will come in less than a week when the Belles compete in the MIAA Jamboree at Hope College. The runners all plan on using Friday’s race to their benefit, expanding on the improvements they made to prepare for the crucial conference meet this week. The team walked away from the Catholic Invitational with an overall success and one more race under its belts, which will only aid them in taking on the conference beginning Saturday.