Going the Distance

Going the Distance

Jackie BautersCross Country coach and alumna Jackie Bauters ’04 knows what it means to be a student athlete. Graduating magna cum laude with a major in psychology , she was the most valuable runner for her cross country team. As the Belles coach for the last four years, Bauters says the best part of her job is working with the athletes. “I know every coach probably feels this way, but I have one of the best groups of young women I could ever hope to work with,” says Bauters. “Getting to know them, watching them develop over their four years into the leaders of tomorrow, and being able to touch on their lives while there’re here is an incredible experience.”

As the coach Bauters is responsible for running the cross country program, including recruiting, scheduling, and training. The coaching position is part time; Bauters also works at the University of Notre Dame as a research assistant in one of their psychology labs. After Saint Mary’s, Bauters attended Ithaca College for a master’s degree in sports sciences, with a concentration in sport psychology.

Bauters spent her first year of college at Miami of Ohio and found she didn’t care for the “greek” social life there, and missed being a part of a team. “My thoughts were to get into an education program so that I could teach at the high school level as well as coach. Saint Mary’s has a phenomenal education department and I knew that I could run at the DIII level, which made it very alluring.”

While at Saint Mary’s, Bauters also kept active in the community, volunteering at the Robinson Community Learning Center’s after school program, Habitat for Humanity’s Rebuilding Together, and tutoring at Clay High School. She studied abroad in Europe, and participated in an Appalachia service trip to Kentucky and West Virginia her sophomore year, a trip that made a great impact on her. “It was a wonderful chance to go work with my peers and help a community that has so little, but so much faith …I hope this experience has made me a more thankful, gracious, and generous person.”

When it comes to mentors Bauters credits psychology professor Catherine Pittman and former cross country coach Dave Barstis. “Her [Dr. Pittman] encouragement and enthusiasm really made my experience as a psychology major more enriching. Dave was my coach, and was a constant support system for me. Not only was cross country one of the best parts of my day, he really made the time to talk with me and mentor me to where I am today.”

Bauters keeps busy and competitive today by training for marathons and other races including running the Boston Marathon this year. "When I'm stuck inside, I like watching sports – and our other Belles teams.”