Belles golf, cross country finish middle of the pack at weekend events
Andrew McGuinness | Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Over the weekend, the Saint Mary’s golf and cross country teams posted some strong individual results. However, their overall team scores left room for improvement. The golf team tied for 10th in the Illinois Wesleyan Fall Classic at Ironwood Golf Course in Normal, Illinois. Meanwhile, the cross country team finished 11th in the Gil Dodds Invitational at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville, Illinois.
After winning the first of four MIAA Jamborees of the season at Albion on Sept. 14, the Belles were unable to keep the momentum going on a quick turnaround. That didn’t stop sophomore Julia Lizak from delivering an excellent outing, one that earned her MIAA Athlete of the Week honors for the second time in her collegiate career. Lizak shot 78-76 in the two-round competition, leading the Belles and finishing tied for 24th overall. She displayed excellent consistency in her second round, making 11 pars and never scoring worse than a bogie.
Freshman Colleen Hand finished not too far behind Lizak in the best performance of her young collegiate career. She took just one more stroke than Lizak, placing 33rd while leading Saint Mary’s with 22 pars on the weekend. Senior Haley Angel matched Lizak’s second-round 76 while converting four birdies. That effort was enough to make her the third Belle to finish inside of the top 40.
Saint Mary’s did show improvement as the tournament progressed. After shooting a 315 in the first round, the Belles improved by four strokes, finishing tied for seventh in the second round. They will return to action this weekend for the Benedictine Midwest Region Classic in Kansasville, Wisconsin.
This weekend marked the first scored competition of the season for the Belles, and it certainly wasn’t an easy one. The 19-team meet included several nationally and regionally ranked teams for Saint Mary’s to compete against. Although Saint Mary’s finished 11th, there was a very clear gap between them and the teams below them. The Belles finished with 278 points, just 23 back of 10th place Elmhurst but 123 ahead of 12th place Trinity Christian.
Senior Amanda Tracey led the Belles and set a personal record at 23:05.4, improving on her NCAA Regional time from last fall by 21 seconds. Senior Haley Greene and freshman Savannah Paulson also came in under 25 minutes, with freshman Cecilia Conrad finishing just five seconds past that mark. Freshman Jordan Siminski, junior Susannah Bernovich and sophomore Isabelle Auch also contributed to the team’s top seven.
The Belles’ next competition is the Knight Invite on Sept. 29 at South Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.