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SMC Cross Country: Belles prepared for race at Regionals

Chris Michalski | Friday, November 13, 2009

The Belles will take on the rest of the Midwest this weekend as they compete in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional.

The Belles finished 17th last season in this race with a total of 481 points. The race will feature 40 schools that contain 550 of the best runners from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

No. 1 Calvin College, an MIAA school that the Belles have faced three times already this season, is the favorite to win this year’s regional. The Knights have won 13 regionals since 1992 and are currently two-time defending champs.

Other ranked schools in the field include No. 12 DePauw University, No. 13 Case Western and No. 22 Oberlin College. Baldwin-Wallace and Manchester College also received an invite by winning their respective conferences. The top runner in the field is Denison’s Katie Navarre, who finished ninth nationally last year.

The Belles are coming off a successful meet in which they matched a program-best fourth place finish in the MIAA Championships for the third year in a row. The Belles were just eight points out of third place behind the Adrian Bulldogs. Ahead of both were Hope College and winner Calvin College.  Freshman Julia Kenney led the way for the Belles, posting the best time for the third meet in a row.  Kenney has placed first for her team in every 6000-meter race so far this season, and the Great Lakes regional will be of the same length.

Also posting low times this year is senior co-captain Megan McClowery, a consistent contributor for the team. McClowery has been either first or second for the Belles in every race except for the MIAA Championships, where she stumbled and fell to third on the team.

The Regional will be hosted by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and will be run on the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course. The women’s race will begin at 11 a.m. and the men’s will follow at noon.