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SMC CROSS-COUNTRY: Invite to test Belles’ success

Katelyn Grabarek | Friday, September 19, 2008

Although the Belles have had success early this season, they face tough competition when they head to the Calvin Invitational.

“I am looking for progress out of the team,” head coach Jackie Bauters said. “I want to see them continue to push themselves and find their race. It’s a pretty stacked race with some ranked Division-III teams, so it’s not necessarily about seeing the team place well so much as seeing them work on the things we’ve been talking about and hopefully with the caliber of the meet, have some really great times.”

The field will include teams from Alma, Aquinas, Baldwin Wallace, Calvin, Case Western Reserve, Denison, Ohio Northern University, Oshkosh, and Spring Arbor.

Calvin’s team is ranked No. 2 in the Division-III rankings. Case Western Reserve is ranked No. 10, and Oshkosh is ranked No. 20.

The Belles are coming off of two fourth place finishes in their last two races at the Hokem Karem and the Bradley Invite.

“I was pretty pleased with their performance last Friday,” Bauters said. “They definitely went out to compete. We’re not to the point of them feeling good for the last half-mile but we’re getting there. They are running more tired and I think they all ran well given the circumstances.”

Leading the Belles racers in each of their last two races has been junior Megan McClowry.

McClowry finished 12th out of 111 runners at the Bradley Invite last week and teamed with freshman Arianne Rodriguez in the Hokem Karem to again lead the Belles to their fourth place finish.

“The difference for me this season is due to summer training,” McClowry said. “I was able to come in with a good base and then my teammates have helped push the pace at workouts this season.”

McClowry and her teammates will be looking to improve on their times this weekend before hosting the MIAA Jamboree.

“One of our goals for the team this year is to improve upon our finish in the conference,” McClowry said. “Last year we got fourth place, which was the highest place we had gotten, and we hope to better our place this year. One of my goals, along with some of the other girls is to consistently break the 20-minute barrier in the 5k.”

The Belles will travel to Calvin, and then will host the MIAA Jamboree on Sept. 27.