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Belles travel to Loyola for race

Anna Fricano | Friday, October 1, 2004

The Belles have two races left before the MIAA cross-country championship on Oct. 30. They will travel to Loyola University Saturday to compete in the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational. After last week’s Jamboree at Hope College, the team will return to its ‘work-out’ mindset – using use the next two races primarily to prepare for the conference meet. Coach Dave Barstis wants to use the time to build the runners’ stamina for their last critical competition. “We’re back to our ‘the race is a work-out’ mentality for the next two races before the conference championship,” he said. The team has good reason to work hard for the next four weeks. An unfortunate injury helped to deter Saint Mary’s from the fourth-place finish it hoped for Saturday. Megan Gray was forced to complete the race on a twisted ankle after injuring herself part way through the meet. However, Barstis is confident Gray will be completely recuperated for the conference meet. “Megan is close to 100 percent and will be racing this weekend,” Barstis said. And the sixth-place finish that the team achieved hasn’t changed their outlook for the season. “It only counted for one-third of the points so a strong showing at the championships can still get us a fourth-place overall finish,” Barstis said. In order to achieve that strong showing, the team has upped the intensity on its daily workouts and may find the race this weekend to be somewhat of a challenge. “This was our first week [of high intensity workouts] and most of the runners are pretty sore, but they are supposed to be sore,” Barstis said.Their primary goal is to maintain their focus so they can peak by Oct. 30. Everyone is running with a mindset of avoiding injuries and making the most out of the experience they can gain from the two non-conference races they have left. The Lakefront Invitational will provide plenty of opportunity for competition for the Belles. The race draws upwards of 40 teams from around the region. This year, the 5,000-meter race will be divided into two divisions, based on the division of the school. Saint Mary’s will run in the maroon division on Saturday; the race will begin at 10 a.m. The Belles will be running against schools such as Grand Valley State University, Malone College and Western Ontario. With their eyes set on Oct. 30, the team will go into this race looking to use the difficult competition to prepare for the end that is quickly approaching.