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SMC Cross Country: Belles set to compete in MIAA Jamboree

Becki Dorner | Friday, September 22, 2006

Saint Mary’s has spent this week physically recuperating from a difficult weekend of racing and training for the MIAA Jamboree, which will be hosted by Hope College Saturday.

At the National Catholic Cross Country Invitational last weekend, Saint Mary’s came in last among 34 teams. The top finisher for the Belles at the meet – which was hosted by Notre Dame – was sophomore Caitlin Brodmerkel with a time of 23:19.

For both of their last two meets meets, the Belles have faced a few internal challenges in addition to those presented by the fast pace of Division-I teams like Indiana University, Notre Dame and Marquette.

Many of the Belles were dealing with colds, soreness and injuries, including captain Katie White, who couldn’t finish Saturday due to shin splints. The team also had to deal with conditions outside of its control.

“I think the weather played a factor this weekend, having it so cool and damp all week, only to race in 85 degrees and sunny,” Belles coach Jackie Bauters said.

The Belles did hill workouts on Monday to prepare for Hope’s inclined course and have been preparing all week to give themselves a better chance in the meet.

“[We’re going to] pay closer attention to getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and eating healthy foods,” senior Sara Otto said.

White, a senior, also commented on the importance of the Belles’ training.

“This week we want to keep our intensity up during our workouts while trying to minimize stress, maximize sleep and stay healthy for one of the most important races of our season,” she said.

The Belles will compete against all members of the MIAA at the Jamboree, giving them their first glimpse into the competition they face in competing for the league championship.

Last year, Saint Mary’s came in fifth out nine teams in the Jamboree, with Calvin taking the overall title. The overall individual winner, Camille Medema, led Calvin with a time of 18:43.

Otto had the best time of the Belles’ returnees at last year’s event, which she finished in 20:07. Kelly Biedron, who recorded a 20:47 last year, will help lead the Belles.

Strategy-wise, the Belles will continue to focus on their team goal of closing the gaps among the top five runners.

“Closing the gap for the top runners will not be easy, but it certainly can be done,” Otto said. “I think right now our bodies are at various levels of health and training, and I suspect we will see the time gaps becoming much smaller in the next few weeks.”