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SMC Cross Country: Saint Mary’s places 28th

Laura Coletti | Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Belles scored 751 team points and placed 28th at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Brooks Invitational on Oct. 13. No. 6 Calvin won the event with a team score of 91.

Junior Jessica Biek paced the Belles with a time of 23:31.50, good for a 74th-place individual finish in a field of 500 runners.

The team faced adversity at the beginning of the meet in the form of bad weather. Race officials were initially unsure if the runners could safely compete.

“The Brooks Invite was a very interesting race this year,” Belles coach Jackie Bauters said. “The start was pushed back due to bad storms. Crazy enough, the women ended up starting their race two minutes after the start of the men’s race, as the race directors felt like there was a window of time to safely get the race in. As a result, we were all a little off schedule, first waiting to start and then being told we were going earlier. It worked out and the race was great, but it definitely made it more of an adventure.”

Saint Mary’s was able to work through the kinks, and as a whole, ran a race that pleased Bauters.

“Overall, I was pretty pleased with the team’s performance, even though it seems like the times have not improved,” Bauters said. “While I was hoping for some faster times, they are very similar to the other team’s performances.”

Bauters said when comparing results from the MIAA Jamboree on Sept. 21 to the Brooks Invitational, times from other conference members also did not improve. She attributed the lack of improvement to the adverse weather conditions at the Brooks Invitiational.

“The course was so wet and full of puddles that I think it did impact some of the overall time performance,” Bauters said.

Sophomore Samee Chittenden finished behind Biek with a time of 24:52:30 and set a new collegiate 6-kilometer personal record to go along with her 222nd-place individual finish.

The squad will now turn their attention toward the MIAA championships this weekend.

“In preparation for championships, I’m feeling very confident in our team’s ability to put out their best performances of the season,” Bauters said. “We had a productive fall break and put in quality miles.”

The Belles will race in the MIAA championships on Saturday in Albion, Mich.

Contact Laura Coletti at [email protected]