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SMC Cross Country: Squad boasts personal bests

Brian Hartnett | Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Despite season-best efforts from several team members, Saint Mary’s fell just short of a top-five conference finish, as the Belles took the sixth spot at the MIAA Championships in Albion, Mich., on Saturday.

Junior Jessica Biek recorded her best time of the season, completing the six-kilometer (6K) course in 23:06 to grab the top spot for the Belles and finish 22nd overall. Senior Emma Baker finished second for Saint Mary’s and 43rd overall with a time of 23:59. Behind them, freshman Allie Danhof recorded the best 6K time of her season to finish 53rd and junior Colette Curtis posted the first sub-25 minute 6K of her career to finish in 56th place.

Saint Mary’s coach Jackie Bauters said she was impressed with her team’s efforts.

“I do believe it was the best race of the season,” Bauters said. “The team really prepared for it both physically and mentally. I was really excited to see their hard work pay off.”

Bauters said she was particularly proud with the results of some of the younger members on her veteran-laden team, which includes six seniors.

“It was great to see my non-seniors have stellar days,” she said. “Colette Curtis had the breakout race we’ve been looking for all season, and she finally finished where she is capable of running. Allie Danhof and [freshman] Katelyn Dunn put together great races, and we will be looking for more from them next fall.”

The Belles recorded a team score of 165 to finish sixth in the field of nine teams. In doing so, Saint Mary’s matched its finish at last month’s MIAA Jamboree and finished sixth overall in the conference standings, which are based one-thirds on the Jamboree and two-thirds on the championship meet.

Calvin took home the conference crown after winning the championship meet with an overall score of 26. Calvin junior Nicole Michmerhuizen was named the MIAA Most Valuable Runner.

Saint Mary’s will now turn its attention to the NCAA Regionals, which will be held on Nov. 10.

Bauters said the team plans to use the extended break to build on its overall times.

“Thankfully, we have about two weeks to prepare for the regional meet,” Bauters said. “We’ll look to improve on our times from championships at the regional.”

The Belles will compete in the NCAA Regional meet in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Contact Brian Hartnett at [email protected]