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SMC CROSS COUNTRY: Feauto and Otto will lead

Ken Fowler | Friday, October 28, 2005

Two weeks after several Belles set personal records in the Manchester College Invitational, Saint Mary’s returns to action Saturday at 11 a.m. in Kalamazoo, Mich. in the MIAA Championships.Senior Becky Feauto and junior Sara Otto hope to lead the Belles in the race, which accounts for two-thirds of the conference title.Feauto said the team is hitting its stride at the right time.”The three seniors – myself, Megan O’Neil and Jess Eaton – we all had [at least our] season [personal bests] at Manchester,” she said. “We’re right in line to peak as far as I can see.”Feauto broke the 20-minute mark in her final collegiate five-kilometer race at Manchester, and she hopes to further her success in the six-kilometer MIAA race.”A 6-K, it is a different race, but I think you have to run it like it’s a 5-K,” she said. “You can’t let it get to your head.”Belles Head coach Jackie Bauters said she expects the momentum from Manchester to translate into good results, even though the race is 1,000 meters longer.”I’m really excited. It’s going to be really competitive within our packs,” Bauters said. “I don’t think it’s so substantial a longer race endurance wise that it will affect [them] in a negative way.”Bauters said she expects Fauto and Otto, who have finished 1-2 for the Belles in all six 5-K races this year, to lead the Belles in the longer race this weekend.”I think they probably will finish one-two,” Bauters said. “But I don’t think the 3-4’s will be too far behind.”Bauters said Feauto should have a mental edge this week as opposed to the past, as well.”That 20-minute barrier, I know for me, was huge,” she said. “Because once you break it, you’re usually good to go. It’s just doing it once [that is important].”Mentally, it makes them so much more confident in their abilities.”Otto also has a reason to be optimistic. She set a personal best at Manchester with a time of 20:03, good for No. 11 overall in the race.Feauto said she expected Otto’s momentum to carry over into this weekend.The Belles enter the race in fifth place in the conference standings, and Feauto said that among their goals is to catch Kalamazoo, which enters the race in third.