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SMC Cross Country: Belles ready for first 6K of season

Matt Gamber | Friday, October 5, 2007

Though today’s Benedictine Invitational in Lisle, Ill., won’t directly affect Saint Mary’s MIAA standing, the six-kilometer meet will be one of the Belles’ most valuable training experiences leading up to the six-kilometer conference championship on Oct. 27.

“This meet is important because it’s the first 6K that we will have run this season, which is a jump for freshmen who were running 4Ks just this past year,” coach Jackie Bauters said. “Because it’s the only 6K we run before championships, we need to use it as a learning tool and hopefully come away with some success to feel better going into championships.”

A fourth-place finish in last year’s meet propelled the Belles to fifth place in the MIAA standings, the best result in school history.

As she has in virtually every meet of her Saint Mary’s career, senior standout Megan Gray probably will lead the pack. Along with Gray, freshmen Catie Salyer and Sam Wieczorek, sophomore Megan McClowry and senior Olenka Bilyk have scored in all four of the Belles’ meets.

Junior Caitlin Stevenson had a “breakthrough performance” last weekend, Bauters said, and is hoping to continue her improvement. The runner Bauters is really keeping her eye on, however, is freshman Anne Maguire.

“I really believe Anne is ready to have a great race,” Bauters said. “I think the longer course will be of benefit to her.”

Ideally, it will prove to be a benefit to the whole team.

“It’s important to find out how ready we are to tackle the slightly longer race, if it really impacts us at all,” Bauters said. “If we’re not there yet, we have three more weeks to get ready for the big show.

“Hopefully we’ll discover what our weaknesses are and how to improve upon them during the next few weeks.”