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The Hillsdale College women’s track team split their squad again last weekend, with some ath­letes com­peting at the Miami Hur­ricane Alumni Invi­ta­tional in Miami, Florida, and others at the OWU Marv Frye Invi­ta­tional in Delaware, Ohio.
Six sprinters and field event spe­cialists who had pre­vi­ously qual­ified for a national com­pe­tition traveled down to Miami in order to take advantage of the warmer and more pre­dictable weather at a time when con­di­tions in the Midwest are harsh and adverse to top per­for­mances.
Senior captain Corinne Zehner earned a pro­vi­sional qual­i­fying time in the 100-meter hurdles, running it in 14.25 seconds, and placed 10th in the 400-meter hurdles, running it in 1:02.48.
Junior Dana Newell and sophomore Rachael Tolsma both threw pro­vi­sional qual­i­fying marks in the hammer throw and are now ranked 16th and 18th in the NCAA Division II national qual­i­fying list.
Juniors Sarah Benson and Alex Whitford and freshman Kristin Freeman also com­peted.
“I thought our two hammer throwers did a nice job, and I thought Corinne made a good step forward,” head track coach Andrew Towne said.
Although she enjoyed the warm weather and getting to see other top ath­letes compete, Whitford said she wasn’t happy with her per­for­mance in the pole vault.
“I’m doing a lot of tech­nical work right now, so I’m tearing down my vault and breaking it up into little pieces and working on it all because I came into college with a pretty ter­rible form,” she said. “We’re doing it step-by-step and it’s not fully put together yet, so it kind of didn’t come together for the meet.”
Like Towne, Whitford high­lighted the per­for­mances of the hammer throwers as suc­cesses at the meet.
“We were really happy with how they did,” she said. “They cap­i­talized on the oppor­tunity.”
The remaining sprinters and field event ath­letes trav­elled to Ohio Wes­leyan last Sunday. Middle dis­tance and dis­tance ath­letes had the weekend off.
While the weather in Ohio wasn’t as nice as in Miami, the ath­letes com­peted well, winning the 100, 200, and 400-meter dashes. Sophomore Maddie Estell also won the triple jump.
“Ashlee Moran did a really nice job. She came on during the end of the indoor season and is becoming who we thought she’d be,” Towne said. “Allison Duber hasn’t had a chance to race a good time because of the weather, but she’s been racing well.”
Duber, a junior, agreed with Towne and said a wind in the last 100-meters of her 400-meter dash on Sunday did slow her down, but still felt like she had a good race.
“I felt like it was a break­through race for me. During indoor season I went through a really big mental block, and I had to question alto­gether why I was running,” Duber said. “I could have run almost a :56, but again that wind on the home stretch killed me.”
After her per­for­mance on Sunday, Duber is looking forward to another oppor­tunity to compete this weekend in what should be better weather.
“I’m dying to run a per­sonal best; I really want to run a :55 or at least a :56 by the next meet,” she said.
Towne is also looking forward to the women’s home meet this Sat­urday — the first weekend this season where the whole team will compete at the same meet.
“Ideally, this will be the first weekend they compete at a high level in a decent amount of events,” he said. “Most of our top-notch kids will do some­thing similar to what they would be doing at GLIAC, espe­cially from the 400 on down.”
The Hillsdale Border Battle will take place at the college’s Ken Herrick track this Sat­urday started at noon.