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SMC Cross Country: Runners ready for season’s last tuneup

Matt Gamber | Friday, October 12, 2007

With the Manchester College Invitational tomorrow slated to be Saint Mary’s final tune-up before the Oct. 27 MIAA championship meet, the Belles will look to build on last weekend’s first-place finish at Benedictine’s Eagle Invite.”This race has traditionally been a great day for personal records for the team, so we’re looking to come out of Manchester with some season bests,” Belles coach Jackie Bauters said. “I would also like to see our three-four-five pack [of runners] continue to move up and close the gap with our one and two so we can take that with us to championships.”Senior Megan Gray, who claimed the individual title at the meet a year ago, has looked strong all season and is the Belles top runner. Freshman Sam Wieczorek has quickly developed into a solid No. 2 for Saint Mary’s and finished fifth at the Eagle Invite. Freshman Catie Salyer, sophomore Megan McClowry and senior Olenka Bilyk have consistently occupied the final three scoring positions for the Belles, but Bauters has seen improvement from several other runners.”I believe much of the team is ready to have a great race,” Bauters said, “but I think it will be fun to see what [freshman] Stephanie Waite and [junior] Caitlin Brodmerkel do this weekend – as well as [junior] Alicen Miller, who has really been excited for this race.”While this race offers an opportunity for some of the Belles less heralded runners to see their times drop, the team is focused for its shot at the conference championship in two weeks.”We’ve been doing more repeats in practice to continue to prepare for [the MIAA championships], so the girls can feel strong finishing the six-kilometer race in two weeks,” Bauters said. “No tapering yet. We have another great week of practice ahead next week.”Other than that, we’re just trying to keep the girls healthy and on track for a good last few weeks – or longer.”