SMC Cross Country
Beeler leads Belles in Calvin Knight Invitational
Renee Griffin | Sunday, September 14, 2014
Saint Mary’s finished 11th out of 25 teams at the Calvin Knight Invitational on Saturday in its first major meet of the season.
Sophomore Brittany Beeler finished led the team, finishing 40th overall in the race. Saint Mary’s coach Jackie Bauters said the team’s finish was not great, but not disappointing either.
“I had expected us to do a little bit better time-wise, but I was overall pleased with the performance,” Bauters said. “We have a lot to work on, but it was a good start.”
Bauters said Saint Mary’s will need to get faster at every spot on the roster in order to be more competitive in conference meets.
“We’ve really got to get our number one up where she can be,” Bauters said. “She didn’t have her best race on Saturday. We’ve also got to close the gap between our number one and number seven runners entirely. A lot of our competitors are going to be tough and we’re going to need our three, four and five spots to really get us to the next level.”
Racing against teams like Calvin, which is currently ranked No. 7 in the NCAA Div. III poll, was a positive experience for the Belles, Bauters said. The long list of teams also included St. Francis, Case-Western, Heidelberg, and conference-rival Alma.
“It was good to go up against some really strong programs that are regionally and nationally ranked, like Calvin and Case [Western],” Bauters said. “It was a good showing from everyone that was there. That’s why we go to Calvin, to compete with some of the best teams around.”
Some individuals on the team showed signs of progress at the Invitational, Bauters said, specifically sophomore Kaitlyn Alessi and junior Katelyn Dunn, who finished in 109th and 110th places, respectively.
“Kaitlyn Alessi and Katelyn Dunn had really good races for our first real meet this season,” Bauters said. “Alessi ran really well coming off some good summer training, so that was great to see.”
Bauters said she is looking forward to the MIAA Jamboree, the first six-kilometer race of the season, as a chance to get experience and exhibit improvement, especially with so many younger runners.
“I think we’ve got a lot of first-years who have never run the 6K, so even though it’s not really different distance-wise it does take some adjustments,” Bauters said. “We’ll have to see how it goes. We’re excited for Jamboree since it counts for a third of our conference points.”
The Belles have a two-week break before the Jamboree, which takes place Sept. 27 at Kalamazoo.