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SMC Cross Country: MIAA to begin Championships

Michael Blasco | Friday, October 30, 2009

After a two week break, Saint Mary’s will return to action this Saturday at the MIAA Championships in Adrian, Mich. The meet, hosted by Adrian College, accounts for two-thirds of the total points allotted by the conference to teams vying for the top spots in the final MIAA standings. 

The Belles took fourth place at the other conference tournament, the MIAA Jamboree, on September 26. No. 2 Calvin took the top honors in convincing fashion, sweeping the top-five individual honors.

Still, Saint Mary’s is in a solid position for its best ever conference finish.

“It’s the best finish we’ve had at Jamboree,” Belles coach Jackie Bauters said. “Adrian definitely came out this season with some fresh talent, but I think we can come back and compete for that spot, though.”

Saint Mary’s is hoping that a combination of veteran leadership and young talent will be able to vault the team over its conference competitors. Leading the pack for the Belles will be senior captain Megan McClowry and breakout freshman Julia Kenney. The pair has led Saint Mary’s in each of the Belles’ six meets this season.

“The team is looking to improve upon [last year’s fourth-place finish] in the MIAA,” Bauters said. “We would like to compete for second if possible.”

Saint Mary’s will face its stiffest competition from No. 2 Calvin and No. 7 Hope, who each feature deep and talented lineups. The Belles will need to rely on a group of sophomore harriers behind Kenney and McClowry to make ground in the conference.

“I’d like to see our 3-6 [runners] close the gap a bit with our 1-2 [runners],” Bauters said. “If we can do that, we’ve got a great shot of achieving our goals.”

The Bulldogs should be the X-factor this weekend. Adrian narrowly edged Saint Mary’s at the MIAA Jamboree despite fielding a squad without any junior or senior harriers.

The 6-kilometer meet begins at 11 a.m. Saturday morning on the Championship Course of Lenawee Christian School.