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SMC Cross-Country: Gray takes 38th in Championships

Matt Gamber | Monday, November 19, 2007

Megan Gray closed out her Saint Mary’s career with a bang Saturday, finishing in 38th place at the Division III National Championships, held at St. Olaf’s in Northfield, Minn.

Gray improved nearly 100 places from her 133rd-place finish at last year’s Nationals, and her time of 22:21 put her just two seconds behind Calvin College’s Christina Overbeck, the runner with whom Gray hoped to remain close during the six-kilometer race.

Amherst captured the national team championship, while Willamette’s Sarah Zerzan took home the meet’s top individual honors with a time of 20:54.

Gray, who battled through a series of injuries during her first two years at St. Mary’s, certainly made her mark on a rapidly improving Belles program over her four years. She became the first Saint Mary’s runner to be named to the all-MIAA first team and to qualify for Nationals, and she helped lead the squad, which she captained, to a school-best fourth-place MIAA finish this season.

“Her road to success was never an easy one, but it was one marked with faith, trust, persistence and a lot of hard work,” said coach Jackie Bauters, who has developed a close relationship with Gray during their time together. “I could not be more proud or happy for her to have achieved everything she has over her career, and especially this year.”

Though the Belles will certainly miss Gray, who has led the Saint Mary’s pack in every race over the past two seasons, they look to remain strong next year with the return of current freshmen Sam Wieczorek, Catie Salyer and Claire McVey, along with current sophomore Megan McClowry and senior-to-be Caitlin Brodmerkel, a captain this season.

“Megan has been a driving force in our program, especially in the past two years,” Bauters said. “She has been a huge asset to our program and is definitely a class act.”