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SMC Cross Country: Biek, Beeler pace Belles at Calvin

Cole Schietinger | Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Saint Mary’s headed to Grand Rapids, Mich., on Saturday for Calvin College’s Knight Invitational. In the crowded 26-team field, the Belles managed to finish the day 11th, with an average time of 19:35 for the 5-kilometer race.

Facing over 300 runners, senior Jessica Biek and freshman Brittany Beeler led the way for Saint Mary’s, coming in 40th and 45th, respectively. Biek’s time of 19:03.9 was her personal best and continued her remarkable streak of first-place team finishes, which goes back to the first race last year. Biek’s time was also the fifth-fastest 5-kilometer in school history. Just behind Biek was Beeler, who posted the Belles’ sixth-fastest time ever at 19:05.5 in the first 5-kilometer of her career.

Belles coach Jackie Bauters said she was pleased with the performances from Biek and Beeler, but believes they can get even stronger.

“It was great to see them race together,” she said. “I think we all had hoped for them to be under 19:00 but it was a great starting point for the season. I hope that they are able to push each other in workouts and help develop their weaknesses.”

Sophomore Allie Danhof and junior Samee Chittenden paced each other to achieve personal records. With times of 19:39.8 and 19:42.6, Danhoff and Chittenden came in 77th and 82nd, respectively. Also setting a new personal best was sophomore Katelyn Dunn, whose time of 20:24.2 left her in 127th place.

Less than 20 seconds apart, freshmen Kaitlyn Alessi, Kathryn Marshall and Colleen Ogren, senior Sarah Thompson, and junior Emily Getz rounded out the Belles’ top 10 finishers with times of 20:44.9, 20:47.3, 20:59.8, 21:02.2 and 21:02.7, respectively. In a field of 316, these five Saint Mary’s runners managed to finish within 25 places of each other, from 157th to 182nd.

Bringing up the rear for the Belles were senior Colette Curtis, freshman Maggie Pacana, junior Erin Knauf, and sophomore Holly Higdon, with times of 21:20.3, 21:54.1, 22:07.0 and 22:24.6, respectively. All four placed in the 200s, with Curtis finishing in 202nd and Higdon coming in last for the Belles at 260th. Higdon’s time was a collegiate 5-kilometer personal best.

Bauters said the performance was something the team could build off as it moves forward in its season.

“I’m really happy with the team’s performance,” she said. “It was a stacked field and finishing 11th is something for us to be proud of. We beat several MIAA teams – Adrian, Kalamazoo, and Trine – that were there.”

After taking next week off, the Belles will travel to Adrian for the MIAA Jamboree on Sept. 28.

Contact Cole Schietinger at [email protected]