Cross Country Recap

2014 Season in Review

The Saint Mary’s cross country team continued to make significant strides for the program and its presence in the MIAA and Division III in 2014.

The Belles started off the year with a second place finish at the Wabash Hokum Karem race. In the relay-style race, the Belles were second after having three pairings finish fourth, tenth, and eleventh while earning fourth, fifth, and sixth place finish points as only a maximum of three groups from each school could earn placement points.

After a respectable 11th place finish at Calvin’s annual Knight Invitational which features several ranked teams, the Belles had two weeks to prepare for the MIAA Jamboree at Kalamazoo in mid-September. At the first of the two conference events of the season, the Belles showed their strength of running together as the top nine runners crossed the finish line within two minutes of one another as the team placed fifth. The scoring five for Saint Mary’s were separated by a mere 62 seconds, an accomplishment which would be repeated similarly throughout the year.

In the next race for the Belles, each member of the team cut time from their 6k performances at the conference jamboree at the Benedictine Eagle Invitational in October. The team claimed fourth place out of 14 teams at the race, finishing behind nationally-ranked North Central, regionally-ranked Aurora, and third-place Beloit. Moreover, six returning harriers for the Belles posted a personal record time at the race. Sophomore Brittany Beeler broke into the 22-minute range at the race and was named the program’s first MIAA Runner of the Week on the following Monday.

The Belles wrapped up a fifth place finish in the MIAA two races later after finishing just six points behind fourth-place Alma at the conference championship race in early November. Brittany Beeler became the third Saint Mary's runner to post a time in the 22s at an MIAA Championship race while finishing 12th and earning a spot on the All-MIAA Second Team.

At the NCAA Regional, Beeler continued to assert herself as one of the top runners in the history of the program by posting yet another personal record time and taking 24th overall to become the third Belle in the last four seasons to earn All-Region honors by finishing in the top 35 at the race. As a team, the Belles took an 18th place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Ohio to wrap up the 2014 season.

Throughout the fall, the top five finishers for the Belles all finished within two minutes of one another in each of the team’s five 6k races on the year. Kaitlyn Alessi, Beeler, Samee Chittenden, Katelyn Dunn, Kathryn Marshall, Colleen Ogren, and Maggie Pacana all had at least one personal record 6k time in 2014 for the Belles. Eight different runners, meanwhile, were scoring finishers for the team in the fall.

At the conclusion of the season, several team members were recognized with special awards. Brittany Beeler was named the Most Valuable Runner while classmates Colleen Ogren and Maggie Pacana were selected as Most Valuable Runner and Best Mental Attitude, respectively. Reilly Pieri, meanwhile, was recognized with the Coaches’ Award.