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SMC Cross Country: Belles head to conference championship on a roll

Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Saint Mary’s will visit Holland, Mich., for the MIAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday. The Belles will try to continue their successful run following a first place finish in their most recent competition, the Manchester Invitational, on Oct. 19. 

In that 6-kilometer race (6k), Saint Mary’s enjoyed their first invitational win since 2007. Senior captain Jessica Biek led the Belles as the event’s individual winner. Biek won the 6k by just two seconds, with a personal record time of 23:03.7. 

With momentum on their side, Saint Mary’s will attempt to beat their sixth place finish from just a year ago at the MIAA Cross Country Championships, but they know they face formidable competition. By comparison, Biek’s personal-best time would have been good for 20th place in last year’s championships. Additionally, the Belles will face two of the regions top teams in Calvin and Hope, who are ranked first and fourth in the region, respectively.

In last year’s race, Calvin won decisively, with only one college, Hope, within 80 points of their final score. From last year’s team, the Knights are returning five of their seven scoring runners, including last year’s champ, senior Nicole Michmerhuizen, who ran her last 6k race in 21:45.5. 

In the last collision of conference rivals, the Belles ended the race with a fourth-place finish. Saint Mary’s is coming off of the fourth-fastest preceding finish among the teams competing this weekend, with a team time of 2:00.3 at the Manchester Invitational.

The Belles will see where they stand among top competition Saturday at the MIAA Cross Country Championships.