Last Thursday, the Saint Mary’s cross country team began their 2022 season in the annual Manchester Hokum Karen. It was a hot evening in North Manchester, Indiana, a town of a few thousand west of Fort Wayne and south of South Bend.
On the women’s side of the competition, Saint Mary’s athletes competed alongside runners from Huntington University, and Manchester University, the meet’s host.
There was no overall team score for the event. Instead, the race was run relay-style with two teammates pairing up to alternate running one-mile loops for a total of six miles. Each of the three woman’s collegiate teams participating was represented by five pairs of runners.
Two pairs of runners competing for the Huntington University Foresters took the first and second prizes of the race. Both these pairs averaged just under six-minute miles. The duo of Shelby Christman and Carmen Trier came in first with a time of 35:32.1. Abby Mays and Addy Wiley finished second with a time just five seconds slower.
The Saint Mary’s duo of junior Amanda Tracy and freshman Isabella Auch was good for a third-place finish at a time of 39:00.6. Tracy, a junior, stamped the Belles’ quickest numbers of the day, posting miles times of 6:03.7, 6:20.6 and 6:28.3. Tracy’s strong showing is no surprise. The Illinois native finished last season’s efforts with a personal best at the NCAA Great Lakes regional competition. Auch meanwhile, a first-year, finished with mile times of 6:29.9, 6:46.4 and 6:51.4, respectively.
Pairs of runners from Manchester took home fourth and fifth places. The Saint Mary’s duo of senior Alexa Zeese and senior Anna DeMars just missed out on a top-five finish with a time of 39:33.8. The senior Belles ran at a remarkably consistent pace. Neither of the athletes finished a mile slower than 6:42.1. Zeese, recording three times all within five seconds of one another, posted a negative split time from her second to third mile.
The Saint Mary’s couple of sophomore Brigid Hull and senior Julia Bobosky took eighth. And the first-year pair of Mary Weber and Carly Davis took 10th. Senior Julia Crowley and sophomore Abby Seaton wrapped up the field for the Belles with a 13th-place finish.
Up next, the Saint Mary’s cross country team will travel north to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the Calvin Knight Invitational on Saturday. The National Catholic Invitational, hosted at Notre Dame, is also coming around on the schedule soon enough on Sept. 16.
Though in a loaded conference, Saint Mary’s returned five of their seven scoring runners from the NCAA regionals last year. They should expect to be completive in upcoming races with the help of their first-year and veteran runners alike.