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Belles prepare for Chicago races

Walker Carey | Friday, September 30, 2011

Saint Mary’s will compete this Saturday at the Sean Earl Invitational hosted by Loyola University in Chicago.

The Belles are part of a strong field, which consists of 53 teams including Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin of the Big Ten Conference.

Heading into the final 5-kilometer race of the season, the Belles are eager for the race, but realize that they need to make some strides within their conference as the season progresses.

Senior Joanne Almond, who led all Belles runners with a 20th place finish in last Saturday’s MIAA Jamboree, didn’t downplay the importance of Saturday’s event, but realizes that the rest of the conference season is where the team needs to direct its focus.

“Our team is excited to race in Chicago,” Almond said. “We are looking forward to the last 5-k [of the season], but right now our focus is on racing well later in the season.”

Junior Julia Kenney, who finished second among Belle runners with a 32nd place finish at the MIAA Jamboree, backed up Almond’s sentiments regarding the remainder of the season.

“Over the next few weeks, we will continue to improve,” Kenney said. “We have to prepare to meet our [conference] competition again at the conference championships.”

The MIAA championships are unique in that they determine two-thirds of the team scores that will decide the conference champion for the season.

The other third was determined at the MIAA Jamboree, at which the Belles finished in seventh place.

With four weeks remaining before the MIAA championships, the Belles look to continue the improvement process Saturday and carry that success forward as the regular season winds down.

Contact Walker Carey at wcarey@nd.edu