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SMC CROSS COUNTRY: Belle take fifth at MIAA Jamboree

Ken Fowler | Monday, September 26, 2005

It was a moral victory.

The Belles finished in the middle of the pack in the nine-team MIAA Jamboree Friday, but showed potential and promise throughout the lineup, said Saint Mary’s top runner, Sara Otto.

The junior finished the five-kilometer course in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 20:07, just six seconds off her personal record. The time placed her No. 24 overall in the field of 147 runners.

Calvin’s Camille Medema won the race for Calvin with a time of 18:43, 14 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Tieneke Vanlonkhuyzen of Kalamazoo.

Senior Becky Feauto followed Otto across the finish line just five seconds later, at No. 25 overall, securing the combination’s third 1-2 team finish to start the year.

Otto said the duo tries to run close together during their races and that it has helped them early this season.

“We’re definitely helping each other out when we’re running together,” Otto said. “It helps … to have a teammate running next to you, pushing you.”

The Belles’ top seven finishers – the runners whose places factor into the team scores – all completed the course within two minutes of Otto and Feauto.

“I’m excited how the times stayed together like they did,” Otto said.

Freshman Kelly Biedron came in third for Saint Mary’s with a time of 20:47, good for No. 35 in the race.

Biedron’s classmate Caitlin Stevenson crossed the finish line next for the Belles at 21:13, and fellow freshman Alicen Miller finished fifth for the team at 21:29.

Freshman Grace Fey and junior Katie White rounded out the point-scorers for Saint Mary’s.

The amount of underclassmen in the top seven excited Otto.

“We’re looking really good because we have a young team,” Otto said. “There’s so much potential [on the team].”

Saint Mary’s head coach Jackie Bauters said the team was hoping to stay competitive with conference foe Albion before the meet.

Led by Alyson Howe (No. 7 overall), Albion finished third, behind Calvin and Hope and in front of fourth-place Kalamazoo.

Otto said Saint Mary’s fifth-place finish was satisfactory because of how the Belles ran.

“I felt like we were in a solid fifth, [but] I know we have a long way to go to get to the fourth place,” she said.

“You’re … working on picking people up as you go and passing people as a team. That was more my concern – working as team.”

The Belles’ next meet is Saturday at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational at Loyola University in Chicago.