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SMC Cross Country: Saint Mary’s finishes ninth in Terre Haute

Michael Blasco | Monday, October 12, 2009

At the Gibson Family Intercollegiate Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind. Saint Mary’s finished ninth with a team score of 282 in a field of 15 on Saturday.

On the same course that will be hosting the NCAA Division III Championships in a few weeks, freshman Julia Kenney lead the Belles for the first time in her collegiate career with a 24:53 on the 6-kilometer course. Two other underclassmen finished in the Saint Mary’s top five.

“We have some very hard working underclassmen, and I’m thrilled to see them perform well,” Belles coach Jackie Bauters said. “Julia [Kenney] is a worker and always looking to improve. I’m excited for her performance.”

DePauw lead the field with a team score of 61, and Tiger senior Lauren Reich took home medalist honors with a time of 22:19.

Behind Kenney’s 42nd-place finish, senior captain Megan McClowry finished 46th overall with a 25:01 time. It marked the first time this season that McClowry did not lead the Saint Mary’s squad.

A cluster of Belles runners rounded out the scoring effort for the team, with sophomore Joanne Almond (25:35, 60th), junior Catie Salyer (25:46, 66th), sophomore Arianne Rodriguez (25:49, 68th) and junior Clare McVey (25:54, 70th) all finishing within 20 seconds of one another.

Bauters has cited her squad’s back four runners as the key to Saint Mary’s efforts this season.

“I’d like to see our 3-6 close the gap a bit with our 1-2,” Bauters said. “If we can do that, we’ve got a great shot of achieving our goals. I want the team to focus on why we’re out there – because we love to run and compete. If they bring that competitive spirit consistently, we’ll be successful.”

The Belles will head to North Manchester, Ind., on Saturday for the Manchester Invitational. The 6-kilometer race is hosted by Manchester College and will be the final meet for Saint Mary’s before the MIAA Championships on Oct. 31.