SMC Cross Country
Led by Beeler, Belles finish fourth
Marek Mazurek | Sunday, October 12, 2014
Saint Mary’s finished fourth place out of 15 teams in the Benedictine Eagle Invitational in Warrenville, Illinois, on Friday.
The fourth-place finish marks the best race for the Belles since Aug. 30 at the Wabash Hokum Karem, in which they finished second. Belles coach Jackie Bauters said the race was a “huge improvement” from her team’s earlier performances.
The Belles, who ended with a score of 111, were led by sophomore Brittany Beeler, who finished sixth overall with a personal best time of 22:44:49. Bauters said she was impressed by Beeler’s performance.
“[Beeler] ran solid,” Bauters said. “She ran a smart race start to finish. It’s great to see all the hard work materialize. … We’re just really proud of her. I’m hoping it’s the breakthrough that she needs to continue on that path.”
In addition to Beeler, four other runners for Saint Mary’s finished with personal best times — sophomores Kaitlyn Alessi, Kathryn Marshall and Colleen Ogren and junior Katelyn Dunn. Bauters said the number of personal best times was encouraging.
“Those girls have worked really hard in practice — the whole team has,” Bauters said. “The course runs fast … so that helps them. I think the way we structure the weeks helps get them prepared. Even though not everyone had a personal best [time], everyone ran their best time of the season for the most part.”
No. 23 North Central won the meet and was the fifth nationally-ranked team the Belles have raced against this season. Aurora and Beloit rounded out the top three teams at the meet.
Bauters said it is beneficial for the team to race against quality programs like North Central.
“I love competing against some of the best in the nation,” Bauters said. “I think it really helps prepare the girls to race better, to have better race strategy and also to push themselves in races. I think going against the best helps you prepare for your best. I think having nationally-ranked teams in our conference is a benefit to us.”
Bauters also said she was looking forward to the Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble next Saturday as a chance to build off this week’s improvements.
“I’m excited,” Bauters said. “We haven’t done back-to-back weekend racing basically all season, so I’m interested to see if that plays any factor for the girls in their individual preparations. I think they’ll be able to perform well.”
Saint Mary’s will travel to Oberlin, Ohio, on Saturday for the Rumble.