SMC CROSS COUNTRY: Belles run to third place finish
Associate Sports Editor
Saint Mary's ran to a team best this weekend. The Belles finished in third place in the North Park University Invitational, topping six other complete teams in the best finish since head coach Dave Barstis took over the program.
Although the team was looking for improvement over last week's race, the runners did not expect to finish as high as third.
"We've all been working really hard, but I thought it was really cool that we got third place," freshman Kristen Zaininger said. "It was really exciting."
Despite nursing shin splints, Zaininger managed to bring home the second best time for the Belles, finishing in 26th place overall with a time of 21 minues, 10 seconds.
"I don't feel that I'm at my top performance, but I'm getting better," she said.
The Belles, who had been strung out in recent finishes, ran as a pack on Saturday, with results that paid off. Saint Mary's top four runners finished within five places of each other and runner No. 5 finished only 11 places behind lead runner, Jackie Bauters.
"We're trying to stick as a pack becasue that brings the best reults," Zaininger said. "We're learning how to pace ourselves."
It was a young team that led the Belles to victory on Saturday. Two freshmen, two sophomores and one junior made up Saint Mary's scoring team. Bauters, who finished the race in first place and is a sophomore transfer student from Miami of Ohio, is running in her first season at the collegiate level. She took a year off while at Miami of Ohio.
Joining Bauters in placing for the Belles were freshmen Zaininger and Amy Blue, sophomore Caitlin Gillen, who sat out last season with an injury, and junior Jessica Kosco.
Blue finished third for the Belles right behind Zaininger in 27th place with a time of 21:12. Kosco came in fourth for the Belles in 29th place with a time of 21:18, and Gillen finished 29 seconds later with a 34th place finish and a time of 21:47.
The overall team score of 104 was good enough to top North Central College, North Park University, Trinity Christian, Trinity International, Waubonsee Community College and Chicago State University.
Elmhurst College won the meet, finishing four of its scorers in the top 10 and wrapping a team total of 24. Augustana College took home second place with a team total of 32.
This weekend the Belles will take on their first MIAA competition of the year at the MIAA Jamboree which will be hosted at Hope College.
This is the only time the Belles will face all MIAA competition before the MIAA championship in November.
All Sports Stories for Monday, September 17, 2001