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Tanner Schwan­necke placed first in the 800-meter race at the GLIAC cham­pi­onship meet. (Photo: Evan Carter / Hillsdale Col­legian)

In it’s final GLIAC Indoor Track and Field Cham­pi­onships, the Hillsdale Chargers gave quite the farewell.

Coming out of this weekend, Hillsdale will send 10 ath­letes to the national cham­pi­onships.

“As a whole, it was a really good last indoor GLIAC cham­pi­onship. Everyone per­formed really well and gave their best effort,” assistant coach Samantha Kearney said.

On the women’s side, the Chargers put up 18 pro­vi­sional per­for­mances, placing second overall. The men’s squad took fourth overall, earning 13 pro­vi­sional marks. 

Senior Molly Oren won the 3,000 meter, running her per­sonal best of 9:36.45, earning the No. 8 spot on the national list, ensuring her fourth trip to the national meet. 

“I felt really strong in both races and really con­fident,” Oren said. “I didn’t expect to win it, but I just felt really good and the pace wasn’t too hard.” 

With top runners like Emily Oren grad­uated, Molly Oren said she and her peers have had to step up this year and make things happen for them­selves.

“I feel fine doing the 3K and DMR double,” Oren said. “I did it last year and this year I feel like I’m better suited to do it because I did it at GLIACs and I’m more con­fident in it.”

Oren, a three-time All-American, aspires to be All-American in both events at the national meet.

Junior Hannah McIntyre came in second with her time of 9:41.20. McIntyre is ranked fifth in the event nationally.

McIntyre was also the GLIAC champion in the 5,000 and hit the pro­vi­sional standard for that event, as well. She ran her season best time of 16:45.67, and is ranked sixth nationally for the event. The three-time All-American will head back to the national meet to compete in the 3000, 5000, and dis­tance medley relay.

Junior Tori Wichman placed second in the 200 with her time of 25.12 seconds. Junior Ashlee Moran placed fourth, running her season best of 25.32. Both hit the pro­vi­sional mark for the event.

Senior captain Allison Duber placed third in the 400 with a season-best per­for­mance of 56.56. Duber and Wichman will both head to nationals in the event. In the 800, junior Hannah Watts ran a pro­vi­sional time of 2:16.44, placing eighth.

In the women’s mile, Hillsdale earned three pro­vi­sional marks. Sophomore Allyson Eads came in fourth with her time of 5:00.98, freshman Arena Lewis placed fifth, running 5:01.05, and junior Amanda Reagle fin­ished eighth with a 5:03.68 per­for­mance.

Eads, Watts, Oren, and freshman Lorina Clemence teamed up for the dis­tance medley relay. The Chargers took third with their pro­vi­sional time of 11:52.30, which qual­ifies them for the national meet. 

The women’s 4x400 relay placed second with a season-best time of 3:51.35. The squad, com­prised of Wichman, Duber, Moran, and junior Fiona Shea, are ranked 20th nationally.

In the pole vault, senior Alex Whitford took second and will head to the national meet ranked ninth.

Hillsdale’s two All-American weight throwers con­tributed two more pro­vi­sional marks. Senior Dana Newell placed sixth overall with a throw of 60 feet, 8.75 inches, and is ranked 11th nationally. Junior Rachael Tolsma took eighth with her throw of 60 feet, 5.25 inches. Tolsma is ranked 17th going into the national meet.

The men’s team scored 82 points, earning fourth place overall. 

Sophomore Tanner Schwan­necke was the GLIAC champion in the 800 with his time of 1:55.03. Schwan­necke is ranked 19th in the nation. Junior Nathan Jones came in seventh. 

In the 60-meter dash, senior Todd Frickey — who is ranked 16th nationally — took fifth with a time of 6.88.

In the men’s 400, junior Colby Clark placed sixth, hitting the pro­vi­sional standard with his time of 49.19. 

In the men’s mile, senior Caleb Gatchell won with his time of 4:14.11 and freshman Joseph Humes took second his time of 4:15.24. Gatchell will run at the national meet ranked 19th.

“It felt really good,” Gatchell said. “I knew on paper I was the favorite, but mile races at con­ference are really weird. We tend to go out really slow and close hard. So I just had to be ready for that                                                                                    and put myself in a place to make a move the second half of the race and making sure that no one else would get around me. Thank­fully I was able to hold everyone off.”

Gatchell has earned two All-American titles and is well-acquainted with the meet.

“Nothing is guar­anteed,” Gatchell explained. “You just have to approach it as another oppor­tunity, but you have to be ready to hurt and race hard.”

The dis­tance medley relay — run by Gatchell, Eldredge, Schwan­necke, and freshman Nick Fiene — took first in the GLIAC. Their season-best time of 10:00.63 earned them the No. 18 national ranking, but will not go to the national meet.

The men’s 4x400 relay of freshman Nate Eldredge, junior Lane White, Clark, and senior Ty Etchemendy placed third with a time of 3:18.27, meeting the pro­vi­sional standard. They are ranked 19th nationally.

Junior Jared Schipper became GLIAC champion in the pole vault. He vaulted his season best and pro­vi­sional height of 16 feet, 10 inches. Schipper sits com­fortably in the No. 7 spot going into nationals and has been working his way out of a slump in the past couple meets.

“It finally felt like I figured out what I was doing wrong and fixed it,” Schipper said. “I was doing bad all season because I was trying to get on the wrong poles and it finally made sense to me.”

Schipper expressed how strong of a year this is for the event, since his best height this season would have been ranked second in pre­vious years.

“I’m a little bit more relaxed. I feel a little less pressure,” Schipper said. “This year, I’m ready to just have fun.”

In the jumps, freshman Merrick Canada took eighth in the long jump with his jump of 22 feet, 4.5 inches — his per­sonal best. In the triple jump, Etchemendy placed fifth and met the pro­vi­sional standard with his jump of 47 feet, 5.25 inches.

Junior David Chase com­peted in the men’s hep­tathlon and placed fourth overall after earning 4734 points in the mul­tiple events, also meeting the pro­vi­sional standard.

Now that the GLIAC con­ference meet is over, ten ath­letes will train for nationals. The meet will be hosted in Birm­ingham, Alabama, March 9 – 11. However, training will not change for the indi­viduals as the goal has con­sis­tently been to peak during cham­pi­onship season. Now the pri­ority is recovery, main­te­nance, and mental readiness. The GLIAC meet was just a rehearsal for nationals, Kearney said.

Hillsdale track and field has recently cul­ti­vated a tra­dition of placing in the top three at the NCAA Division II national meet. On the women’s side, Hillsdale earned national runner-up the past two seasons. 

“Our goals are never dif­ferent — we’re always going to try to be excellent, always going to do our best,” Kearney said. “Even when we were runner-up, we never talked about a title or the podium or any­thing like that, we just talked about per­forming to our best ability. That is our expec­tation. If we are per­forming our best and doing every­thing we can, then we are going to do well. Tro­phies and all that stuff will come with it.”