The fourth-ranked Hillsdale College women’s indoor track and field team has sprinted to a fast start this season. The Chargers traveled to Indiana Uni­versity last weekend to compete with several prominent D‑I and D‑II schools in the Glad­stein Invi­ta­tional. After their third meet this semester, the Chargers have already broken records and qual­ified for the national meet.
Sophomore Chloe Ohlgren broke her own triple jump school record which she set at Findlay last week, jumping 11.64 meters to hit the pro­vi­sional qual­i­fying mark for the national meet. For the rest of the season she will focus on reaching a better qual­i­fying mark, as she is just on the brink in the current ranking.
“Getting into nationals is a huge goal,” she said.
Ohlgren walked on to the track team last year in time to compete in the outdoor season. Having a full fall season to train with the team has proved rewarding early this season.
Junior pole vaulter Alex Whitford also hit a pro­vi­sional mark clearing 11 feet, 8 inches. She ranks ninth in the nation, coming off knee surgery last season.
Senior Emily Oren, a sea­soned national champion, ran the mile in 4:51, placing sixth while also reaching the pro­vi­sional standard for the national meet.
Kristina Galat com­peted in the “select” 3000 meters, impressive for such a big meet, and auto­mat­i­cally qual­ified for nationals with a time of 9:30. She is ranked second nationally in the event.
Junior Molly Oren and sophomore Hannah McIntyre also ran the open 3000.  Both Chargers beat their per­sonal records and hit pro­vi­sional times for the national meet. Oren ran 9:57 and McIntyre won the event with a time of 9:46.
Sophomore Hannah Watts placed third in the 800 meters running a time of 2:15. Watts met the pro­vi­sional standard for the national meet last week at the Findlay meet.
In the throws, both sophomore Rachael Tolsma and junior captain Dana Newell hit pro­vi­sional marks in the weight throw. Newell placed sixth, putting her at 12th in nation for the event.
“I’m really excited,” Newell said. “It’s really chal­lenging, but that’s what we need — someone to chal­lenge us every week.”
This meet was loaded with intense com­pe­tition, including several Division I schools.  Being an invi­ta­tional meet, there are high stan­dards to be met in order to even compete in it. Therefore, high value is placed on the com­pet­i­tiveness of the athletes.
“I thought we com­peted really well,” head coach Andrew Towne said. “Some­times with younger kids it can be unnerving for them, but I thought we did a really good job competing.”
Towne said that from this point in the season it is time to start making deci­sions about delib­erate placement of ath­letes to put the team in the best position pos­sible going into cham­pi­onship season.
“We focus on the indi­vidual within the concept of the team,” Towne said.
The Chargers are taking a break this weekend but will compete again on Feb. 6 in the Margot V. Biermann Ath­letic Center.