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SMC Cross Country: Belles finish 15th in final meet

Katharine Mack | Monday, November 15, 2010

Although the Belles’ season came to an end Saturday afternoon at Regionals, the race concluded a one of the most successful seasons in program history.

“It was a pretty good day yesterday,” Belles coach Jackie Bauters said. “Everyone ran fairly well, although we were hoping for some faster times. The race started very fast, so I was pleased that they held on as well as they did. We also finished 15th, which was one of our team goals.”

The Belles improved from a 17th place finish in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional last year to a 15th place finish this year with a score of 407. The field comprised of 34 squads, which included numerous top-25 programs.

“The field was packed. We have some really tough competition in the Great Lakes,” Bauters said.

Among these were MIAA foes No. 10 Hope, who finished second, and No. 7 Calvin, the winner of the Regional. The Belles did finish ahead of MIAA conferences foes Adrian and Alma Saturday.

Sophomore Julia Kenney broke another personal record as she finished with a run in the 22-minute range for the first time ever. Her final time of 22:53.3 granted her 34th place finish overall. Kenney’s day received All-Region honors at the conclusion of the race.

“Julia ran a very tough race, and I was so excited to see her finish in the top 35 and receive All-Region recognition,” Bauters said. “I definitely see bigger things happening for her next year.”

Junior Joanne Almond, the second-place finisher on Saint Mary’s squad, also had a personal record with a time of 23:33.1. Sophomore Emma Baker finished 73rd, running a 23:44.7. Senior Catie Salyer took 102nd overall, finishing with a time of 24:11.2. Sam Wassel, a senior, ran well enough to put the Belles to finish ahead of Adrian and Alma in the team standings; Wassel finished 153rd overall in 25:08.5.

Sophomore Angela Nebesny and senior Clare McVey finished sixth and seventh for Saint Mary’s at 25:16.9 and 25:27.7, respectively.

Bauters pointed out the tremendous contribution her seniors made to the team this season.

“Our senior class has really helped develop the atmosphere that we are looking for in our program,” Bauters said. “Their contributions to our success as a team are huge, and we definitely have some holes to fill next fall. It’s a very special group and I’m going to miss them all. It’s going to be really hard to see them go.”

Although the season is now over, Bauters said she is happy with the success of her team this year, and is optimistic for the 2011 season.

“Overall, I am very pleased with the season,” Bauters said. “I think we broke through some serious barriers this season, and many of the girls see what their potential can be for next year.”