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SMC Cross Country: Outlook is strong for Belles

Becki Dorner | Monday, September 4, 2006

The runners of the Belles cross country team started their fall season on a positive note as hosts this past Saturday at the Alumnae Exhibition Meet. The team posted faster than expected times for the course that measured a little longer than the usual 5K distance.

Junior Megan Gray led the team with a 21:16, followed by Sara Otto, Katie White and Kelly Biedron who all clocked in near the 21:40 mark.

“[Most of the times were] faster on the course this year compared to last,” senior captain Meaghan Herbst said. “I know I was a minute and a half faster, and everyone felt good.”

Coach Jackie Bauers noticed solid performaces as well.

“There were a few nice packs, and the girls worked together very well,” she said.

Herbst also observed strengths in the packs as well.

“The pack in the front is much larger this year, which is very promising,” she said. “The front group last year only had about three girls, and this year there should be about five or six that are consistent.”

As far as team strategy, it was crucial that the girls worked together to gain a tactical advantage running the newer, more taxing course.

Bauers commented that the site of the race was more challenging, but the times were as strong or stronger than last season. The team will return to the course for the MIAA Jamboree meet on Sept. 23.

The Belles’ next contest is the Aquinas College Invitational in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday. Last year at the Aquinas Invitational some of the top Belles’ times were Kelly Biedron with a posted a 21:18, Sara Otto with a 20:16 and Katie White with a 20:42.

Coach Bauters said she saw a lot of promise for her team, even at this early stage. However, there is always something upon which to improve.

“I think we can improve by closing some gaps within our top 7, but for as early as it is, I feel good about where we are,” she said. “I’m excited to run at Aquinas this Friday.”