Cross Country at GLIAC Conference Meet Tiffin Ohio

For the first time since 1999, the women’s cross-country team placed 2nd out of 15 teams at the GLIAC tour­nament at Tiffin Uni­versity in Tiffin, Ohio, with several out­standing indi­vidual per­for­mances.

The women’s team had their fastest average time of the season. It was the first time the women placed 2nd at the con­ference meet since 1999.

The Charger women’s impressive weekend launched them into 2nd place in the Midwest region and 7th in the nation. They are con­sidered one of the top con­tenders for the regional and national cham­pi­onship.

“I think we had our best group of runners at con­ference,” junior Emily Oren said. “Our placement in the con­ference proves that.”

Oren, named National Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week on Oct. 27, led the team in the 6K with an impressive time of 20:52.

Junior Kristina Galat and superstar freshman Hannah McIntyre placed right behind Oren, just seconds away from each other. McIntyre was the first freshman to cross the finish line. The GLIAC named her “freshman of the year” for her impressive feat.

“Hannah raced really well,” Head Coach Andrew Towne said. “That was key.”

The solid top three group of Galat, McIntyre, and Oren will be crucial for the team’s overall score in the upcoming regional and national meets.

“We closed the time gap between our number one runner through our sixth runner,” sophomore Molly Oren said, who fin­ished fourth on the team with a time of 21:37. “Def­i­nitely a step in the right direction.”

The Chargers’ toughest com­petitor at the meet, Grand Valley State Uni­versity, took the cham­pi­onship in both the men’s and women’s meets. In the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s latest national poll, the Lakers were ranked the No. 1 Division II team.

“I kind of expected what hap­pened going in to the meet. I knew that we were the second best team there, so going out and proving that was pretty awesome,” Emily Oren said.

The men’s 4th place finish in a faster con­ference this year was off slightly from last year, when they tied with Ashland for 3rd.

Coming off an injury, senior Joshua Mirth led the team by placing 10th out of 128 runners with a time of 24:15. Senior Luke Hickman was right on his heels with a time of 24:18, his fastest time of the season.

Senior Jack Butler also put up a per­sonal best time, fin­ishing the 8K in 24:49. Senior Matt Perkins fin­ished closely behind Butler. Freshman Anthony Wondaal earned a spot in the top five Hillsdale runners with a time of 25:31.

“We were expecting a top four finish,” Hickman said. “We knew we had com­pe­tition.”

Hickman said he was proud of the guys.

“Our major con­trib­utors struggled with injuries over the past few weeks before the con­ference meet,” he said. “It was amazing that we could keep up our fitness levels.”

Towne said he and cross-country head coach Joe Lynne feel con­fident with the con­ference race results.

“The men really battled it out. Across the board, it was sat­is­fying,” Towne said. “I’m feeling com­fortable where we are. This past weekend was good.”

The results from the con­ference meet have been an encour­agement for both teams to place well at the regional meet on Nov. 22, Towne said.

The top four team fin­ishers at regionals will head to the national meet in early December. In order to make com­peting at nationals a reality, the teams must contend with their top com­pe­tition. For the ladies, Grand Valley stands as a top threat. The men must defeat Malone, Ashland, and Wis­consin Parkside to advance.

“This meet was the start to our long-term sat­is­faction as a team,” Towne said. “We are ready to show our com­petitors our strength at regionals.”