This weekend, Hillsdale hosted its annual “Tune-Up” meet, giving athletes a chance to do just that — tune up last-minute performances before heading into the conference meet this weekend at the University of Findlay.
“I thought it was another really good step for us. It was exactly, as the meet is named, a good tune-up for a lot of people,” head coach Andrew Towne said. “We’re ready for GLIACs. The majority of our kids that are going to compete there have been at a pretty high level and are confident that they can continue to do that.”
Junior Tori Wichman met the provisional standard in the 200-meter dash with her first-place time of 24.95 seconds — her best this season, which places her 24th on the national list.
Senior Allison Duber took first in the 400 meter, with a provisional time of 56.99 seconds. Duber is currently ranked 26th nationally. Junior Hannah Watts won the 800-meter race with a 2:16.64 performance, meeting the provisional standard.
Senior pole vaulter Alex Whitford is still ranked sixth after once again vaulting provisional height, clearing 12 feet, 6.25 inches.
Senior Dana Newell broke the school record this weekend in the women’s weight throw with her throw of 62 feet, 7.25 inches. This is a personal record for Newell who remains ranked tenth nationally.
“There wasn’t a lot of competition,” Newell said. “The main thing I was focusing on was doing the best I can and I was hoping for 62 feet, but I didn’t think I would get it, but I got it on my first throw.”
The record was held by her throwing counterpart, junior Rachael Tolsma, last year. Newell’s personal record previously was just under 61 feet.
“I still feel better overall, and it’s just good to know that I’m still hitting these high marks, and I still have time before NCAAs,” Newell said. “The idea behind it is just focusing on the same things I’ve been focusing on all year — trying not to do anything new and just focusing on the performance and do what I need to do.”
Tolsma also reached the provisional standard throwing 57 feet, 7.5 inches. She’s ranked 16th overall.
Both throwers earned All-American titles in the event last year and expect to continue the trend this year.
On the men’s side, there were an additional five provisional standards met this weekend.
Senior Sergio San Jose Lorza ran a 6.86 in the 60-meter dash, breaking his personal record, taking second, and meeting the provisional standard for the event.
Senior Todd Frickey also ran a 6.86 in the finals for the 60, but placed third — .09 seconds behind Lorza in the preliminaries.
In a race where every millisecond counts, Frickey is currently ranked 14th nationally for his performance of 6.81 early in the season while Lorza is ranked 36th for his performance this weekend.
Lorza also ran his personal best in the 200 this weekend, making the provisional list with his 22.08-seconds performance.
In the 800 meter, sophomore Tanner Schwannecke took first and gave his season-best performance of 1:53.58, putting Schwannecke at No. 17 on the national list.
“I felt pretty excited with how I did, but being right on the edge there just makes me really want to push this week and kill it next week at conference,” Schwannecke said. “I just want to be the best I can be. If it doesn’t work out it will give me something to work for in the future.”
Schwannecke attributes this race to his training and focusing on staying calm and pacing. He said he’s excited for the conference meet where he’ll compete against the athlete that is 16th on the national list.
Last year, Schwannecke raced at the national meet with the distance medley relay, which is also on the cusp of making it to the national meet.
Junior Jared Schipper cleared a height of 16 feet, 3.25 inches in the pole vault. This is the previous All-American’s sixth time meeting the provisional height this season — Schippter is ranked 12th nationally.
“If you look at our program objectives, our number one objective is always NCAAs and how we are faring there. The next priority is how we do at the conference level,” Towne said.
At the Chargers’ final indoor GLIAC conference meet, Towne wants his athletes to leave a lasting performance.
“We are always trying to win, but there is a certain way we do things at Hillsdale across the board and in the program that exemplify Hillsdale, and we want to continue to show those things in our last go-around,” Towne said.
The team motto is always “excellence,” but each year Towne adds another word for the team to focus and reflect on. This year he chose “commit” as a constant reminder to his athletes to avoid outside distractions during competition.
The GLIAC conference meet is one of the last in the country, and Sunday is the last qualifying day.
“You never totally know what you have to get done so you always want to be at your best,” Towne said. “But as I look through our roster at men and women, there are quite a lot that are safe for NCAAs and some that are on the fence and some that could surprise people.”