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SMC Cross Country: Belles finish strong at vital MIAA?Jamboree

Michael Blasco | Monday, September 28, 2009

In what was a make-or-break event of the season, Saint Mary’s rose to the occasion.

The Belles posted their best finish of the fall this weekend, finishing fourth with a 133 at the MIAA Jamboree at Hope College in Holland, Mich.

Senior captain Megan McClowry led her team yet again with a time of 19:39 for 20th place overall.

Belles coach Jackie Bauters said she was pleased with her team’s effort in such an important event – the MIAA Jamboree marks the last occasion for teams to earn conference points before the MIAA Championship at the end of October.

“[Since the MIAA Jamboree] is our last 5k of the season, I’m glad so many of the women were able to post such solid times and get that extra boost of confidence and personal accomplishment,” Bauters said. “I know these will carry over into the second half of the season and the 6ks.”

No. 2 Calvin finished first in the meet with a perfect score of 15. Senior Knight Jess Koster took home medalist honors with a 17:59, 25 seconds faster than the nearest competitor on the 5-kilometer course near Ridge Point Church in Holland.

No. 7 Hope took second with 58 points, while Adrian’s 104 also put them ahead of the Belles.

“The team is looking to improve upon [last year’s fourth-place fnish] in the MIAA,” Bauters said. “The Jamboree accounts for a third of our points in our total ranking and we’re hoping to finish third this year. We would like to compete for second if possible.”

Freshman Belle Julia Kenney continued her impressive rookie campaign with a 22nd-place finish, finishing five seconds behind McClowry with a 19:44.

“We have some very hardworking underclassmen,” Bauters said. “I’m thrilled to see them perform well. Julia is a worker and always looking to improve.”

Sophomore Joanne Almond placed 26th with a 20:10. The junior tandem of Catie Salyer and Samantha Wieczorek finished 31st and 34th with 20:21 and 20:30, respectively.

Bauters praised the strength of the junior runners.

“Their work ethic, enthusiasm and spirit will help carry the team this year,” she said.

Saint Mary’s travels to Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute this weekend for the Gibson Family Collegiate Invitational, the team’s first 6k event of the season.