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Both the men and women’s teams entered the NCAA D‑II Midwest Regional meet on Nov. 22 looking to finish in the top four to quality for the national meet on Dec. 6.

The women clinched their goal with a second place finish, just behind their unwa­vering com­petitor, Grand Valley State Uni­versity. The men unfor­tu­nately fell just short of qual­i­fying for nationals, fin­ishing in sixth place.

“We knew Grand Valley was number one [in the women’s division],”  Lynn.  “Just like usual, we didn’t back down.”

While the men’s team will not be trav­elling to Nationals, they will not go without rep­re­sen­tation.

Senior Joshua Mirth, who was named an All-American in 2012, qual­ified indi­vid­ually for Nationals. His 10K time of 30:32.8 earned him an impressive 3rd place finish at the regional meet.

“Obvi­ously, any­thing could happen,” Mirth said.  “Based on Regionals, I think I’m in as good of shape as I ever have been, so if I run like that again, I think I will do well.”

This will not be Mirth’s first time running at the national meet and Coach Lynn thinks this race will be no dif­ferent than the others.

“He will establish himself upfront and run with the leaders,” Lynn said.  “He is resilient.”

Although the men’s season is over, both the coaches and runners are sat­isfied with how the season went.

“Both Coach Towne and I are really proud of the guys” Lynn said.

With six seniors grad­u­ating, the team left Sat­urday knowing they had a great year. Moving forward, Lynn plans to con­tinue raising the team’s stan­dards.

The women’s team has per­formed spec­tac­u­larly throughout the season.

“This season we went in with a dif­ferent level of expec­tation,” senior captain Chelsea Kilgore said. “While our place at Nationals was not assured, there was little doubt that we would make it. We were relieved by def­i­nitely making it through, yes, but it was no sur­prise.”

“We just did what we wanted to do,” junior Emily Oren said.

Taking first place as the regional champion, Oren’s place and time of 20:45.4 makes her a top indi­vidual con­tender at the National meet.

Junior Kristina Galat ran strong, taking eighth place with a time of 21:15.  Freshman Hannah McIntyre ran time of 21:32.4, taking 18th place.

“Hannah has really come in big for us this season” Lynn said.

Sophomore Molly Oren and junior Kathryn Royer fin­ished with times of 21:40 and 22:21, showing con­sis­tency throughout the season, and senior Amy Kerst fin­ished her last regional meet with a time of 24:03.

“This team has depth and talent that we’ve never seen before at Hillsdale and our training methods have been working,” Kilgore said.

Progress and con­sistent success have pro­pelled the women’s team to a state of com­pet­itive readiness, Kilgore said.

Training for the national meet is not going to be much dif­ferent than sea­sonal training, according to Lynn. Minor imple­men­ta­tions will occur to make sure the runners are as fresh as pos­sible.

“We’ve had a routine going for four months now that has obvi­ously worked.  Now our focus is to maintain that,” Lynn said.

As far as strategy goes, Lynn stresses the impor­tance to be aggressive and establish their place in the race, trusting in their training and strength.

“This is not an indi­vidual event,” Lynn said. “It’s about the teams’ strength as a whole, like it has been all year.”

Hillsdale’s biggest com­petitors on Sat­urday will be GVSU, Adams State Uni­versity in Col­orado, and Augustana College in Illinois.

No matter the outcome, Lynn knows the women will walk away with pos­itive results.

“It’s our respon­si­bility to take control and not worry about the other teams,” Lynn said. “They have stood up to the chal­lenge each time, we’re looking to do that one more time.”