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SMC Cross Country: Belles get ready for last meet of season

Becki Dorner | Friday, October 27, 2006

The Belles head into the MIAA championship meet Saturday in Alma, Mich. with renewed confidence after recent impressive performances.

In their last meet of the season, the Manchester College Invitational, the Belles finished third out of nine teams, and Megan Gray took the individual title. In the previous meet, the Eagle Invitational, Gray took fourth individually and the team took fourth overall.

“The team looked stronger than most other teams during the second half of the race and ran well together,” Belles coach Jackie Bauters said of the Manchester Invitational.

In preparation for the MIAA meet, many of the team members stayed around campus for fall break.

“[It] benefited the team and allowed them to stay more in the flow of the season, rather than being totally out of sync a week before the championships,” Bauters said.

For the final week of practices, Bauters emphasized group goals, while the runners discussed how to improve the teamwork that helped them in the Manchester Invitational.

The Belles hope to improve on last year’s fifth-place finish in the MIAA standings. Last year at the MIAA championship, Sara Otto was the squad’s best runner with a time of 24:15 on the 6K course.

Fellow senior Katie White recorded her best finish last year at the MIAA championship as well, where she finished 33rd, clocking in at 24:45.

Bauters is optimistic about the conference meet this time around.

“This season has been wonderful thus far, and I believe the team is ready for a great race this Saturday,” she said.

The main competition for the Belles will be last year’s MIAA champion Calvin College, Hope and Albion. But the most important thing is, Gray said, “for everyone to just go out there and have fun, run their race and enjoy it.”