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SMC XC: Saint Mary’s takes fourth place at Benedictine

Ken Fowler | Monday, October 10, 2005

History repeated itself Friday, as the Belles turned in another impressive finish at the Eagle Invitational in Lisle, Ill.

Becky Feauto led Saint Mary’s to a fourth-place finish in the 25-team race hosted by Benedictine University.

Feauto’s time of 20:16 was her second best five-kilometer time this season, placing her No. 16 individually in the race, her best finish of the year.

Junior Sara Otto was second for the Belles, just two spots and four seconds behind Feauto.

The Belles finished fifth in the tournament last year and fourth in 2003.

“Notoriously, we’ve done very good there,” head coach Jackie Bauters said before the meet.

Otto said the course itself helps the Belles’ times there.

“I just really like the course,” she said. “It just seems to go by fast.”

Bauters herself led the Belles in 2003 with a 17th-place finish en route to the team’s best finish that year.

“It was really exciting,” Otto said. “The team was really pleased with how things went.”

Junior Katie White continued her solid running in the meet for a third straight season, finishing third for the Belles in the tournament. White finished fifth for the Belles as a freshman and fourth last season. Her 20:58 five-kilometer time was her second-best time in the 5K this season, and she finished No. 32 individually.

Two freshmen rounded out the top-5 for the Belles. Kelly Biedron continued her strong running in her first season, placing No. 37 in the individual field. Her time of 21:20 was five seconds faster than Caitlin Stevenson’s 40th-place time.

“We’re getting to midseason, so everyone is pushing themselves the best they can,” Otto said.

The Belles entered the tournament hopeful because of their past strong performances in the race, as well as results from the beginning of this season. Reigning Eagle Invitational champion Northern Illinois finished behind the Belles last week at the Sean Earle Lakefront Invitational. What’s more, Bauters reorganized the team’s racing groups before the meet to maximize the performance of some of her improving runners.

“We’ve been … trying to re-pack some girls because some of them have made some improvements and need to move up,” Bauters said.

Though Northern Illinois defended its meet crown, Bauters’ strategy worked well, as more than half a dozen Belles posted their best place finish of the year Friday.

The Feauto-Otto tandem have been finished No. 1-2 for the Belles in each of the team’s five races this year.