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Belles struggle as top runners fight injuries

Pat Leonard | Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Their performance this weekend could have literally added insult to injury. But the Belles are finding the positive in everything these days.

The Saint Mary’s cross country team ran with its two top runners nursing injuries Saturday at the Sean Earl Loyola Lakefront Invitational, and neither freshman Sara Otto nor Katie White broke the 21-minute mark. Only one Belles runner accomplished that feat as they finished 37th overall and 22nd out of 35 non-Division I teams.

Otto had already been held out of the National Catholic Invitational at Notre Dame two weekends ago. She ran Saturday and finished 44 seconds behind her MIAA Jamboree time. Coach Dave Barstis, however, assured the team they did not have all that bad of a day.

“The positives for this race are that even though Sara wasn’t at her best, we still beat [MIAA opponent] Alma College and lowered our 1-5 gap to 42 seconds,” Barstis said.

The overall winner of the race was Wisconsin’s Hilary Edmondson with a time of 17:18, over three minutes faster than the closest Saint Mary’s runner.

Otto, who along with White has slight foot problems, slipped uncharacteristically out of the top five Belles finishers, ending in 318th place with a time of 21:30. It marks the first time Otto did not finish in the top three for Saint Mary’s when she ran.

Senior Jackie Bauters led all Saint Mary’s runners with a 229th place finish at the 20:38 mark.

Bauters, freshman Katie White (21:00), junior Elizabeth Commers (21:07), freshman Erin Nolan (21:09) and senior Jessica Kosco (21:20) were the top five Belles times of the race.