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Belles take fifth in MIAA Jamboree

Becki Dorner | Monday, September 25, 2006

Saint Mary’s turned in a fifth-place performance Saturday at the MIAA Jamboree in Holland, Mich., hosted by Hope College. Though the Belles beat three of the eight teams, they were only 18 points short of third place – promising news to coach Jackie Bauters.

“[It is] a good place for us to be at this point of the season, looking forward to where we could be at [the conference championships] in just over a month.”

Powerhouse Calvin took first, placing its top five runners in the first six spots. The Knights were led by Camille Medema, who ran a 19:15 on the 5K course. Following Calvin were Hope, Albion and Kalamazoo.

Leading the pack for the Belles was Megan Gray with a time of 20:14. Other top finishers were Sara Otto (20:45), Megan McClowry (21:43), Kelly Biedron (21:53) and rounding out the top five was Katie White (22:04).

The Belles had to fend with a fairly muddy course, although the wind and rain were not large factors compared to last weekend’s contests. Saturday’s course posed another challenge – hills. Bauters said that the last week of hill-specific training really helped prepare for a course that includes a long gradual hill that the runners had to mount twice during the race.

“We were passing people, not being passed on the hills and it was great to see that confidence from the girls during the race,” Bauters said.

In preparing for Saturday’s meet the Belles also focused on mental toughness, and Bauters saw a marked difference in her runners.

“Mentally they were much more prepared, and hopefully that will progress through the duration of the season,” she said.

The next contest for the Belles is the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational at Loyola University on Saturday, which will again present new challenges for the Belles.

“Practices this week will change focus a little and hopefully help the team with the last half mile of the race, which seemed to be the most difficult part of the race for the team this week,” Bauters said.