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“Ally Eads competes in the 3K Steeplechase at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival.” (Photo: Amanda Reagle / Courtesy)

The Hillsdale College women’s track team opened outdoor competition this weekend, appearing in five different meets. Head coach Andrew Towne said although the team’s forces were split between meets in California, Michigan, and Texas, he was happy with overall performances which included several provisional marks, an automatic mark, and a broken school record.

“I don’t like to split up, but typically, our one big travel meet is Mt. Sac. It hasn’t lined up the past couple years. When that doesn’t happen we have to split up a little,” Towne said. “I thought we had a lot of good things — not that any of the meets were an end-all, but it was a chance to get a really good race early on to give the athletes an idea of what they can do as they move forward. All in all, it was a pretty solid weekend for us to start off.”

At the Texas State Bobcat Invitational, junior Tori Wichmann ran a provisional time in the 200 and broke the school record with her time of 24.44. The record was previously set by Dionna Williams in 2004. 

“It was really exciting to finally PR in the 200, because I hadn’t since high school,” Wichmann said. “I’ve just been trying to do everything that I need to do since the beginning of the year, so things have just kind of flowed from indoor season to outdoor.”

Wichmann believes there is still room for improvement.

“I don’t believe that time will get into the national meet, so I definitely want to run faster, but because I was able to run that at the first meet I believe that running faster should come with time,” she said. “I just know that I’m also going to have to be patient with myself and my time improving because if I get pushy and impatient my time won’t improve.”

Though the 200 is her favorite event, Wichmann said she is looking forward to possibly running the 100 this season to help improve her times.

In the pole vault, senior Alex Whitford jumped 11 feet, 11.75 inches, which met the provisional standard for the event.

At the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California, junior Hannah McIntyre hit provisional time in the 5,000 meter with 16:49.74. 

Senior Molly Oren hit the automatic standard for the 3,000-meter steeplechase with her time of 10:20.30. Most of the competition at the meet was from Division I, pushing Oren to do what she needed to do, she said. Oren’s goal was to run a time which would automatically qualify her for the national meet. 

“It was kind of an expectation,” Oren said. “We were going out there to get the job done so that I can focus on other things this season.” 

The rest of Oren’s season is committed to preparing for the national meet. She was national-runner up in the steeplechase last year and has set a goal to win her favorite event this year.

“The first race is always kind of weird because you haven’t steepled in a year and you’re trying to remember what it feels like and where to push and where to go with the flow,” Oren said. “It’s just so different from running a normal 3k. It just adds a whole new element of something else to focus on.”

At the San Francisco State Distance Carnival, sophomore Allysen Eads ran a time of 10:49.35 in the 3,000 steeplechase, meeting the provisional standard. 

“The biggest thing that we’ve been talking about since the indoor season is committing to being as good as we possibly can be. From that standpoint, I feel pretty good,” Towne said. “One of the things we talked about in our team meeting on Monday is at this point in the year, there is a sense of urgency for the older girls, because there is a clock on their career. So I think we need to be a little more urgent in taking advantage of every opportunity we get. With that said, I think this was one of our best season openers.”

This weekend the squads will split up again between Kentucky State and Ohio Wesleyan.