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SMC Cross Country: Belles finish fourth in MIAA Championships

Chris Michalski | Monday, November 16, 2009

The Belles finished the 2009 postseason exactly as they did in 2008, placing fourth in the MIAA Championships and 17th in the NCAA Division III Regionals.

Regionals were run Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind. No.1 Calvin College took first place overall, and two other MIAA schools, Hope and Adrian, finished ahead of the Belles.

The Belles had to fight sickness, with junior Catie Salyer, sophomore Arianne Rodriguez and freshman Megan Morrissey running under the weather, as well as junior Clare McVey being out for the race completely. Despite this challenge, many of the Belles’ runners posted low times and were rewarded with a team total of 462.

Freshman Julia Kenney continued her remarkable season, posting the best time for her team for the fourth race in a row. Her time of 24:18.20 was good enough for 61st overall. Close behind her in 63rd was sophomore Joanne Almond, who posted a time of 24:25.12, her best of the season.

“Joanne was ready to run — the taper really prepared her for a solid performance and I believe we’ll see her continue to help lead the team next year,” Belles coach Jackie Bauters said.

Senior co-captain Megan McClowry, who has been a team leader all season, took third for the Belles with an overall place of 105th. This was McClowry’s last race of her career, and Bauters said she would be greatly missed by the returning Belles.

“Megan is such a great athlete she has been a joy to coach for the past four years,” Bauters said. “I’m constantly impressed at her ability to give so much at practices and to the team. Her leadership by example especially will be missed.”

Other seniors that will be leaving the team include Taylor Flaherty, Kate Peters and co-captain Ellen Pfister. Key returnees include Kenney, Almond, junior Sam Wieczorek and freshman Emma Baker.

The Belles will have plenty to build off of for a successful season in 2010.

“I feel good about what we accomplished this season but know that we have a lot of talent that is waiting to be developed,” Bauters said. “I hope the ladies are ready to put in the work and continue thinking big—each season is better than the last and that‘s what we’re working on.”