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SMC Cross Country: Belles record strong times at invitational

Michael Todisco | Monday, September 20, 2010

Saint Mary’s finished eighth this weekend at the Knight Invitational at Calvin College. The Belles were able to post many notable individual times, as four individuals set personal records at the event.

Ranked No. 15 nationally, host team Calvin College grabbed the victory with a score of 39. Other highly-touted programs also performed well at the invitational. No. 14 Ohio Northern (69) and NAIA competitor No. 21 Aquinas (121) took second and third respectively. The Belles were able to best conference opponents Adrian and Alma en route to their eighth place finish (208).

Belles coach Jackie Bauters said she was pleased with her team’s showing at the Knight Invitational.

“I am very happy with the team’s performance this weekend,” Bauters said. “It was a great field of runners and the ladies went after it.”

Bauters was particularly impressed by the personal improvements exhibited by her team, as four individuals recorded their lowest career times.

“I am so thrilled for all of them,” she said. “They really did the work over the summer to get them in a place to have very successful seasons.”

Junior Joanne Almond, who obliterated her previous best time by 45 seconds, led the Belles. She finished with a time of 19:25 and was the medalist for Saint Mary’s, taking 23rd at the event. Emma Baker (20:25), Kristy Kucharski (20:49) and Lauren Easton (20:50) also set personal records at Calvin this weekend.

“It’s great to have Emma [Baker] healthy this year after an early injury last year prevented her from having a strong season,” Bauters said.

Bauters added her team’s success is driven by motivation and fortitude.

“I really believe this is the most talented and hardest working team I’ve coached at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “I think they have a lot to be confident about and it translated into a great race