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Belles’ season comes down to MIAA race

Anna Fricano | Friday, October 29, 2004

Saturday will determine the Belles’ fate in the MIAA standings, as the Saint Mary’s cross country team will travel to Calvin College to compete in the conference championship. The team finished sixth place at its only other conference race this year, the MIAA Jamboree. In order to achieve a fourth place spot in the final standings, the Belles will need to have one of their best performances of the season. Albion, Kalamazoo and Alma will all prove to be obstacles for Saint Mary’s to overcome. Coach Dave Barstis knows that the team has a challenge ahead. “If we can beat Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo can beat Alma, we’ll finish fourth overall in the standings,” Barstis said. Saint Mary’s is poised and ready to capitalize on any opportunity that the Belles have to move up in the conference standings. Freshman Megan Gray is confident in her team’s ability to compete on Saturday. “All of the workouts … and especially the hill workouts … have made us stronger runners. At this point, the potential is there, we just have to relax and run,” Gray said. Senior and co-captain Risa Zander also has high hopes as well as high expectations for her fellow teammates. For the seniors on the team, this Saturday may mark the final cross-country meet of their collegiate careers. Zander, along with co-captain Elizabeth Commers and senior runners Sara Dunn, Ashley LaLonde, Aubrey Szany and Kristin Zaininger will all run in their final team competition. Although the top seven runners in the conference race will go on to compete in the regional meet, Saturday will be the last time that the entire 2004 team will run together. Zander looks upon her final race with the team as something to remember. “Being a part of this team is going to be one of the things that I will miss most about Saint Mary’s, if not the single most,” Zander said. There would be no better way for the ladies to finish off their four years than with yet another step up the ladder in the MIAA Conference standings. After finishing sixth place in the 2003 season, their highest finish since running in their first championship in 1998, the entire team is ready to again improve upon their performance and again make history for Saint Mary’s. The team will travel to Calvin with this goal in mind, as well as the potential to make it a reality.