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SMC Cross Country: Belles split team in half

Becki Dorner | Friday, September 15, 2006

The long hours and long runs will pay off for the Belles this week.

The team will split in half to compete in two meets today – the National Catholic Championships at Notre Dame and the Indiana Intercollegiate Championships in Terre Haute.

While the National Catholics – a yearly event on the Saint Mary’s schedule – will feature teams from the Catholic schools across the country, the Indiana Intercollegiates, new to the Belles’ slate, feature strong regional competition like Indiana, Michigan, Butler and Purdue

“[The Indiana Intercollegiates] should be a great opportunity to race against some wonderful Indiana competition,” Saint Mary’s coach Jackie Bauters said.

Senior captain Katie White said the Belles will continue to focus on pacing and teamwork in both races this week.

“For next week, we want to get the top pack tighter,” she said. “Our one to five runners were really spaced out. We all finished about 10 to 12 seconds behind the [Saint Mary’s] runner in front of us. I think Coach Bauters would really like to see us maintiain contact during the race use our teammate to attack runners and as motivation.”

The closest top finishers at last week’s Aquinas Invitational for the Belles were Kelly Biedron and Katie White, with times of 21:09 and 21:17, respectively, that earned then the fourth and fifth best times for the team. Megan Gray was the top Belles finisher, placing 20th overall with a time of 20:03, followed by Sara Otto with 20:32 and Megan McClowry, who clocked in at 20:44.

Bauters said she wants to see improvement this weekend against the tough competition.

“I’m hoping for improvements at Notre Dame and hopefully for the first years [in Terre Haute], more experimenting with racing strategy, so they become more comfortable and confident,” Bauters said.

After this weekend, the Belles will head to the MIAA Cross Country Jamboree Sept. 23.

Albion College was originally slated to play host to the meet, but due to recent heavy rains in the area, the team will now travel to Hope College in Holland, Mich.