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SMC Cross Country: Alumnae Meet Opens Season

Becki Dorner | Friday, September 1, 2006

Before every race, acclaimed running coach Mike Fanelli would give his runners the same piece of advice: “Run the first part with your intellect, the middle part with your personality and the last part with your heart.”Saint Mary’s looks to follow this same advice to piece together a successful fall season, combining smart training, camaraderie and dedication to both the craft of running and to each other.The runners begin their fall 2006 schedule Saturday when the Belles play host to the pre-MIAA Exhibition Alumnae Meet. Second-year head coach Jackie Bauters stressed that the exhibition will be “a good opportunity to see where the team is at and what we need to work on.””Hopefully it will be a good time for the team and I can get a better idea of the talent,” Bauters said.Indeed, the squad is relatively young and unproven, with nine freshmen after graduating three seniors last season.But the Belles do enjoy a solid core of experienced returning runners. Senior captains Meaghan Herbst, Sara Otto and Katie White will guide the freshmen. The three have been consistent in the past and hope to usher in a new era for the program.Last season Otto finished first or second for the Belles in every single meet she entered, with her best time of 20:07 clocked at the MIAA Jamboree. White’s peak came at the perfect time last season when she posted a career-best 24:45 mark at the 6K MIAA Championship.White hopes to pick up where she left off at the end of last year after a summer of track workouts and hill training Bauters implemented.”[Bauters] has really taken our program to the next level,” White said. “Jackie has a strict plan for our team, but I think that kind of seriousness of effort is needed.”Saint Mary’s sophomores also add experience to the fold. Kelly Biedron was a steady performer all last season, posting times that were among the top half of the field in each race. Caitlin Stevenson will also be counted on to provide consistency after improving her times during the final three races of the 2005 season. In addition, Grace Fey looks to continue her improvement after posting several low times last season.The regular season kicks off Sept. 8 with the Aquinas College Invitational in Grand Rapids, Mich.