The Hillsdale men’s cross-country team made the biggest jump in the nation in rankings this week thanks to a stellar per­for­mance in Louisiville over the weekend.

The US Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Asso­ci­ation had Hillsdale ranked 24th, but after sweeping the com­pe­tition at the Greater Louiville Cross-Country Classic meet they moved up to 13th.

Eight men of the Chargers’ varsity squad won the Louisville meet and the eight women com­peting earned 10th place. The rest of the team members ran this weekend at Notre Dame’s course in Indiana where the women placed 25th and the men came in 20th.

“We had a great day across the board,” sophomore Joe Newcomb said.

“Both meets were helpful in gauging the men and women’s fitness levels,” said head coach Joe Lynn.

About 120 – 130 schools from various divi­sions were rep­re­sented at the Louisville meet.

The meet was split into two heats based off of regional and national rankings.  The women com­peted in the gold race, the men in blue.

“It was exactly where we needed to be. It was good con­fi­dence building in order to execute a good race plan,” Lynn said on the men’s per­for­mance. “For the ladies, the gold race is where we wanted to be.  We were in a little over our heads but it was a good level of com­pe­tition and expe­rience.”

Com­peting against 356 runners from over 40 schools, the men’s team took first place, aver­aging a time of 25:10.  The team put up a weekly rank of 3rd in the region.

Senior Joshua Mirth took second place overall. He fin­ished the 8K with a time of 24:36.  Junior Luke Hickman trailed close behind Mirth fin­ishing fourth with a time of 24:54.  Their almost back-to-back placing was a huge factor in the team’s overall score.

“The com­pe­tition was pretty good. Similar to what we will see in terms of the con­ference meet.  The weather was great, the course flat, we couldn’t have asked for any­thing better,” Mirth said.

The women’s team raced in the gold heat against 300 ladies from 30 dif­ferent teams.  Their 10th place finish was a feat con­sid­ering the heat con­tained the highest ranked runners.  Junior Kristina Galat was Hillsdale’s top runner.  She fin­ished with a per­sonal best 5K time of 17:35.  Despite their place, the team appre­ciated running in a more com­pet­itive race.

“We beat a bunch of D‑I teams, which is exciting,” Galat remarked.

Along with Galat, Oren and junior Kate Royer also put up per­sonal best times in the 5K.

Both teams hope to see the Louisville course again in December where the National meet will be held.

The team agreed it was helpful to see the course and antic­ipate what it will be like if they qualify for the Nationals.

“It was a good mental boost to see us do well.  I think everyone has a pos­itive outlook after the results this weekend,” Mirth said. “We ran well this past weekend, let’s come back and do it again in December.”

At the Notre Dame Invi­ta­tional, both teams put up promising times despite their lower final placings.

“The Notre Dame kids did a good job, regardless of the course and weather.  They ran well, that’s the point of cross country,” Lynn said.

Even after this weekend’s success, no one is guar­anteed a spot on the varsity team for the remainder of the season, Lynn said.

Freshmen Amanda Bodery and Samuel Phillips put up solid times this week. Seniors Chelsea Kilgore and Matthew Perkins also stepped up, showing their ability to con­tribute to the team.

“Kilgore’s race will prob ably earn her a spot on the varsity team,” sophomore Molly Oren pre­dicted. “That just shows there is a lot of depth of the team across the board.”

With just nine weeks of their season left, the team will not be taking a break.

“We are excited about the results from last weekend, but by no means are we sat­isfied,” Lynn said.