LAREDO, Texas – For the St. Mary’s cross country team, the 2011 season was all about making strides.

On Saturday, the Rattlers continued taking major ones.

St. Mary’s finished fourth at the Heartland Conference Championship Meet, missing out on a top-three finish by a mere 12 points at the 6k race on the campus of Texas A&M International.

Jessica Waninger (Jr., Santa Claus, Ind.) paced the squad with a 10th-place finish, crossing in 24 minutes, 36 minutes. Allison Manning came in 16th (25:23), while Ariel Ornelas finished 26th (26:14).

Meanwhile, Olivia Lara finished 29th (26:31) and Alicia Sanchez 30th (26:39).

St. Mary’s had 111 points as a team.

Dallas Baptist took the conference title behind Kelsey Bruce’s first-place finish. Boasting the Nos. 1, 3, 4, 6 and 8 finishers, the Patriots totaled 22 points as a team. Newman came in second at 52 points, while host Texas A&M International finished third at 99.

St. Mary’s finished fifth at the 2010 Heartland meet.

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