The Hillsdale College track team traveled to Indiana on Friday for the Indiana University Relays. They returned Saturday with sixteen top-10 finishes, the two fastest men’s mile times in the GLIAC, and a shattered school record.
Senior Amanda Putt broke the Hillsdale mile run record for the second meet in a row. She finished fourth at IU in a time of 4:46.43 — a drop of almost three seconds from the 4:49.04 she ran at Jan. 20’s University of Findlay meet.
Sophomore Matt Perkins and senior team captain Jeff Wysong finished seventh and ninth in the men’s mile run. Their times of 4:15.92 and 4:16.32, respectively, are the fastest two times run in the GLIAC this indoor season.
Other notable distance performances include senior Jen Shaffer’s 2:17.09 10th place finish in the women’s 800-meter, freshman Joshua Mirth’s 15:09.83 fifth place finish in the men’s 5000-meter, and both men’s and women’s sixth place finish in the Distance Medley Relay.
“The guys are performing well and improving every week,” said men’s head coach Jeff Forino.
But the distance runners weren’t the only Hillsdale athletes to turn in solid performances.
Sophomore Maurice Jones finished second in the 400-meter dash in a time of 49.08. His 22.06 in the men’s 200-meter dash placed him sixth in the race and moved him up to the third fastest time run this season in the GLIAC.
In the field events, senior Kathy Dirksen threw her way into second in the women’s weight throw with a toss of 18.01 meters. Fellow senior and team captain Nate English, who is currently ranked sixth in the nation, placed 11th in the shot put with a throw of 16.77 meters.
“I was excited that there were so many good throwers there,” English said. “It was good to get out there and go against some tougher competition.”
And finally, junior Kayla Caldwell finished second in the pole vault. She tied Western Michigan University’s Sarah Ross at 3.80 meters, but Caldwell had two misses going into the final height while Ross had none. Neither was able to clear 3.90 meters.
The meet was divided into invitational races and open races. The top-seeded times, many of them D‑I athletes, were placed in the invitational races. The invites served as pseudo-fast heats, although they were separate from the open races.
In the coming weeks the team will be traveling to Geneva, Ohio for the D‑II challenge on Feb. 3 and then to Grand Valley State University on Feb. 10 for the Big Meet. In preparation for these meets, the team has scaled back the volume and intensity of their workouts.
“Now that the tough part of the season is over, I cannot wait to see how many personal records are set,” said assistant coach R.P. White.