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SMC Cross Country

Saint Mary’s wraps up solid season with sixth-place finish at MIAA Championships

| Friday, May 17, 2019

Saint Mary’s finished up the program’s 14th year under the leadership of Saint Mary’s alumna and head coach Jackie Bauters. The team was able to mount a sixth-place finish at the MIAA Championships on October 27, with senior Adele Edmonds leading the pack for the Belles at the championship meet placing 23rd with a time of 24:03.4. Junior Katie Glenn followed close behind finishing 28th, crossing the finish line in 24:22.8. Senior Sarah Allen was the next Belle to cross the line in 24:47.2. Freshman classmates Brigid Conmy, Emily Blank and Gabby Russell rounded out the pack of Belles crossing the line within mere seconds of each other, at 25:56.9, 25:57.8 and 25:58.0, respectively.

On top of the strong performance in conference, the Belles were able to record a 26th-place performance at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional race on Nov. 10. All the while, the Belles were honored beyond the course, earning the Division III All-Academic Team award from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for their devotions to their studies at the end of the season. Bauters spoke on how proud she was of her team for earning the honor for the ninth consecutive season. 

Achieving academic success as a team is always a goal for us,” Bauters said. “The ladies work really hard in the classroom and I’m so proud of them being recognized by the USTFCCCA.”

Heading into her 15th year at the helm of the Saint Mary’s cross country program, Bauters is no stranger to endurance activities in South Bend. She ran for the program in three of her years at the college and in the 2001 season, earned herself a spot on the MIAA Second-Team All-Conference squad. Additionally, she helped to start a legacy in academics after being named to the MIAA academic honor roll all three of her seasons on the squad. She also served as the team‘s captain her senior year. Bauters spoke on what she is looking for her team to improve upon during the offseason. 

“I mean we were pretty young this year so that’s part of it. But we had a lot of talent and it wasn’t always capitalized on in races and I think some of it is just confidence to go out there and compete with some of the women that are out there,” Bauters said. ”We compete against pretty high-level teams every week regardless of which race we’re in. So I think it’s just a matter of realizing they belong out there and seeing all their work come to fruition when they’re on the course.”

With some of the restrictions in regards to rules set by the NCAA, the Belles have a tight window to operate and get in their practices for the year. Bauters talked about how the Belles manage this narrow amount of time.

“With the NCAA’s rules what we are allowed to do is a very limited five-week spring season. So it is kind of hard to compete with people that have full track seasons obviously so we get a limited amount of time to train together. It’s not nearly enough, but we try to maximize what we can and try to get them ready for summer. It’s just hard because you’ve got people who are competing for 18 other weeks and we just don’t,” Bauters said.

Bauters said these scheduling obstacles require her team to do a lot of independent training.

”They do run together outside of season it’s just not guided, structured from me and everything else because of the rules that we have,” she said.

With a relatively young roster, the Belles will be looking toward some incoming recruits to pick up the pace. 

“We have about eight kids coming in right now, so it’s bigger which is good. The depth isn’t across the whole group but we’ve got two really strong athletes coming in that are going to be frontrunners for us right away,” Bauters said. “I think with them with a couple other girls that are coming in that are kind of adding to the bulk of our pack it‘s going to be good. From all my interactions with them individually, from a fit prospective it works with our team culture and everything which is something we look for. So I’m excited about this class coming in it should be a great year.”

The Belles have high hopes for the 2019 season and will be looking forward to developing their recruits, as well as further training their veteran runners like Glenn. 

“If our first years transition well, I’m hoping we’re fighting for third place in the MIAA or a strong fourth. I would love to see someone make first or second team All-MIAA. I can’t wait. I’m really excited about the group we have and I’m excited to see how … Katie Glenn helps lead this team — on and off the course,” Bauters said. “Those are some of the bigger goals I think … but I think once we see what we are capable of in the first couple of weeks, I‘d like to see us in the top 12 to 15 in the region, I think that’s possible.”

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