After two disappointing losses to Northern Michigan University over fall break, the Chargers rebounded with a solid second place performance against Lewis College and Grand Valley State. The Chargers topped Lewis College 160 – 63 while falling to Grand Valley 151 – 88.
The women improved their times in the second official competition of the season. Senior Sarah Leitner said the team as a whole seemed much more sharp than in their first meet of the season and performed well.
Leitner said, “Looking only at the score would give the impression that Grand Valley beat us badly, and I think that the score doesn’t reflect our true performance.”
Leitner also added that “our relays performed much better this time around.”
In the 200-meter medley relay, the Chargers took second to Grand Valley by an incredibly narrow margin. At the very end of the meet, led by Hayley Johnson, Lauren Burt, Sarah Leitner, and Rachel Kurtz, the girls avenged their loss in the 200-meter medley relay by taking first place in the 200-meter free relay.
Freshman Zoe Hopkins said “ I feel like we really redeemed ourselves after that first meet.” Hopkins herself made an important contribution to by the Chargers. Hopkins made her debut in the 1000-meter freestyle, a particularly grueling event, placing second with an impressive time of 11:13.36. Hopkins, who has raced the 500-meter free before but never the 1000-meter free, said the race required “a completely different pace and mindset.”
Two other freshmen performed well in the Chargers’ second place showing. Sarah Rinaldi, whom Coach Kirner was especially impressed with, won the 200-meter IM and displayed her wide range of abilities by placing third and fourth in the 100-meter breast and 100-meter free, respectively. Jennifer Wheeler, also a freshman, placed second in the 500-meter free.
Coach Kirner said he pleased with his girls’ performance. He felt like the girls “were more mentally prepared this time than last” and displayed “more team spirit, which is always a positive factor in any meet.”
In addition to being impressed by Sarah Rinaldi, Kirner also said Sophomore Alison Bauer did well as she was “fast early in the season, which is a good sign for what is to come later on in the year.”
The Chargers don’t race again until November 3rd, when they will compete against Malone and Findlay at home. In the meantime, the girls will stick to an intense training schedule and look to build strength for the Calvin Invite at the end of November.