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SMC Cross Country: Belles set new personal records

Maija Gustin | Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Belles set 12 new personal records for a close second-place finish at the Manchester Invitational on Oct. 16. The squad was narrowly defeated by host Manchester College, which finished with 38 points to the Belles’ 45.

“I was very pleased with the team’s performance at Manchester,” Belles coach Jackie Bauters said. “I would put this as one of our best races so far — based on pure performance.”

Bauters was especially impressed with the Belles’ top eight runners.

“We did a much better job of packing up in small groups this week and finishing together,” Bauters said. “I’d still like to see our top-five spread decrease, but our six through eight were right there which could be key at Championships.”

Julia Kenney finished third overall with a time of 23:09, followed closely by Joanne Almond, who finished sixth at 23:34.  Kenney and Almond were joined in the top 10 by Emma Baker and Catie Salyer. Baker finished ninth with a time of 24:08, and Salyer earned 10th with a time of 24:09.

“Our top four all had solid races, but I was particularly impressed with Julia and Catie’s performances,” Bauters said. “Catie, Emma and [senior Samantha Wassel] have been working together all season, and Catie has done a remarkable job helping to lead that trio.”

Grace College’s Marijean Wegert finished first at 22:43, while Manchester’s Meredith Cors placed second with a time of 23:05. Manchester had two more runners in the top five, as well as runners finishing 12th and 15th to help secure the win.

“It would have been great to get the win over Manchester, but their top three were just too close for us unfortunately,” Bauters said.

Bauters also would have liked to see a little more competition in the nine-school meet.

“The field was a little smaller than in recent years,” Bauters said. “I think it would have been nice to have a few more teams show up to create a more competitive field and possibly even better times.”

The Belles will next run at the MIAA Championships, hosted by Calvin College, on Saturday.