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SMC Cross Country: Belles expect preparation to pay off at Calvin

Kit Loughran | Wednesday, September 11, 2013

With two meets under their belts, the Belles head to the Calvin Knight Invitational in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Saturday.
Coming off the Alumnae Race that Saint Mary’s hosted last weekend, the Belles are excitedly anticipating the meet Saturday, Belles coach Jackie Bauters said.
“Racing thus far has helped get the team excited for the upcoming weekend, which will really be the first test of the season,” Bauters said.
Bauters said she is confident preparation through practices and races leading up to the invitational will help the Belles.
“Prior races and practices should give the team an idea of where they are at and who they can run with this weekend,” Bauters said.
Belles senior Jessica Biek said the team devoted an exceptional amount of effort and focus in preparation.
“To prepare for the Calvin meet, we all have been putting in almost 40 miles a week even in this inhospitable weather,” Biek said. “Speed work outs get thrown in to build our confidence at race pace, much before the race even happens.”
Biek and Belles freshman Brittany Beeler led Saint Mary’s with a fifth-place 23:51:45 finish in the relay-style Wabash Hokum Karem on August 31. Biek said it is hard to determine team improvement until after this weekend, but she has still seen the team grow as a whole.
“Since the Wabash Hokum Karem has been our only real race so far, we can compare race improvements after this weekend,” Biek said. “But, we have all bonded as a team really well over the past three weeks, establishing a supportive group to race with can be very beneficial.”
Biek said she hopes that the team continues to work together and motivate one another this weekend. She said she has also set goals for herself.
“If everything works out Saturday, I hope I will be more consistent and not run the first mile too fast,” Biek said. “I’m attempting to last through 3.1 at a 6:06 pace.”
Bauters said she has high hopes and standards for her returners, like Biek and senior Colette Curtis.
“Especially for my returners that have run the course before and know how competitive the field is, I hope to see better race strategies utilized,” Bauters said. “There could be some really great performances if we run smart.”
Bauters would like to see the team continue to come together as a whole this weekend, she said..
“I see our pack coming together nicely and helping each other out, and I think this will continue to improve after this weekend,” Bauters said. “I think the strength of the group is helping build confidence in individuals.”
The Belles head into the Gainey Athletic Complex in Grand Rapids, Mich., with confidence for Calvin College’s annual Knight Invitational on Saturday at 10 a.m.