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SMC Cross Country: Squad finishes sixth in relay

Laura Coletti | Monday, September 3, 2012

Looking to rebound from a disappointing 2011 season, Saint Mary’s finished sixth this weekend at the 50th annual Wabash College Hokum Karem race.

The Hokum Karem-style race featured pairs of runners alternating one-mile loops around Wabash’s campus to total of four miles. The tandem of senior Emma Baker and junior Jessica Biek finished first for the Belles and in 13th place overall with a time of 24:50. Saint Mary’s coach Jackie Bauters said she was happy with her team’s performance.

“Overall I’m really pleased with how the team ran,” she said. “In general, we ran better this year than last year as a team, even though it doesn’t look like it in the results. I think it provided us with a good idea of our fitness at this point in the season and where we need to focus on some of our attention.”

In future meets, the Belles will be running more classic-style races. Bauters said she is looking forward to see how her squad fares in a 5K next weekend.

“Getting a chance to race a full 5K next weekend will help highlight which areas really are weak,” she said. “It’s so early in the season that there is plenty of room for improvement, and I’m sure that we will see some major gains in the next few weeks.”

Trying to recover from last fall’s disappointment, the Belles have set lofty goals for themselves this year.

“The team has their eyes set on breaking back into the top half of the conference after a disappointing team finish in the conference last season,” Bauters said. “I believe we are on pace to meet this goal.”

Instead of being led by a single captain, Bauters looks to have each of her six seniors act as an example to the entire team.

“For leadership this year, we decided not to have a captain, but rather a leadership panel as a senior class,” she said. “Each of our seniors brings a different way to contribute and lead the team. Their combined leadership has already positively impacted the team, and I believe they will be the momentum to get us where we want to go this season.”

The Belles will next take the course this Saturday in Grand Rapids, Mich., at the Calvin Invitational.

Contact Laura Coletti at [email protected]