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SMC Cross Country: Team travels to compete in invitational event

Michael Todisco | Friday, October 8, 2010

Saint Mary’s will travel to Lisle, Ill., today to compete in the Eagle Invitational hosted by Benedictine University.

The Belles hope to build off the momentum they gained last week when they finished strong against a talented field at the Sean Earl Invitational in Chicago. The squad finished 28th in an event that featured many ranked Division I, Division II and NAIA opponents.

Belles coach Jackie Bauters believes that the experience of competing against such strong competition will help give her team confidence for this week’s event and the rest of the season.

“I hope that what the team took away is that they can compete in any race and against all types of competition, even Division I schools. [This] is a great confidence boost,” Bauters said.

The field at Benedictine will feature more local squads than the Sean Earl Invitational. Schools such as North Central, Illinois Central, Elmhurst, Beloit, Marian and Goshen typically compete in the event.

While many of the Belles’ events have been five kilometers this year, all of their remaining races will be six kilometers, beginning with the Eagle Invitational, which will provide a new challenge for the team.

“This week we will work on improving our strategy for the 6k,” Bauters said. “We are 6k’s from here on out and need to get more confident in our ability to sustain over that last kilometer.”

Bauters said that the team practiced racing as a cohesive group as a focus for this week’s event. She stresses that this strategy will enable her team to succeed in the Eagle Invitational and the latter portion of the team’s season

“We look to close gaps within our packs this week,” Bauters said. “Racing as a team will be really important at our championship race at the end of the month, so we will work on using everyone’s strengths to have the whole group improve.”

Bauters believes her senior leader, Kristy Kucharski, will excel at Benedectine.

“I’m really looking for Kristy Kucharski to have her break out race this week,” she said. “She is ready to have her best performance yet and I hope to see it Friday.”

The race begins at 3:30 p.m at Benedictine.