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SMC Soccer: Teamwork new plan for Belles

Becki Dorner | Friday, September 8, 2006

In what is normally an individual sport, the Belles will work together today as they open the regular season at the Aquinas College Invitational in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Head coach Jackie Bauters said she encourages teamwork amongst her runners and was pleased to see a group mentality last week at the Saint Mary’s Alumnae exhibition meet.

“There were a few nice packs, and the girls worked together very well,” she said.

Senior captain Meaghan Herbst said running in a pack will help.

“The pack in the front is much larger this year, which is very promising,” she said. “The front group last year only had about three girls, and this year there should be about five or six that are consistent.”

Junior Megan Gray led the team with a 21:16 at the Alumnae meet, followed by Sara Otto, Katie White and Kelly Biedron, who all clocked in a pack at around 21:40 on a course slightly longer than the normal 5K distance.

Herbst said she would like to see the pack mentality get even stronger today.

“I think that for the first meet, everyone was focused on individual goals,” she said. “For the meet in Aquinas we should work on running as a team and staying grouped in the front. This kind of teamwork, coupled with rigorous training, bodes well for the future of this team.”

Bauters said the solidifying of these packs in the front will help the Belles to better times and is a good way to close the gaps among the top seven Belle runners, which is a team goal for the Aquinas meet.

“Personally, I would like to see our girls run together and pack up at Aquinas next week,” senior Katie White said. “Shortening the time between our first runner and our seventh runner is always a concern and something we’ll be working on throughout the season.”

Last year at the Aquinas Invitational, some of the top Belles’ times were Biedron with a posted time of 21:18, Otto with a 20:16 and White with a 20:42. The Saint Mary’s runners said they hope to improve on those individual this year.

White said that early in the season the Belles do not ease up their workouts just before a meet. This makes times in early meets slower, but helps the team get in better shape by the more important races later in the year – especially the MIAA and NCAA championships.

“Right now we are training through our races (no tapering) so we’ll be running our races tired,” White said.

Despite the tough training schedule, the Belles are focused on the future, specifically towards the MIAA Jamboree Sept. 23 and other MIAA meets that count for conference standing points.

Bauters said the Aquinas Invitational should be a good measuring stick for where the team is right now in comparison to their other league competition. Last year, the Belles finished 5th in the MIAA league standings.

Bauters said she sees a lot of promise in her team.

“As early as it is, I feel good about where we are,” she said. “I’m excited to run at Aquinas this Friday.”