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Scott McClallen is a senior studying eco­nomics. (Photo: Scott McClallen / Hillsdale Col­legian)

Some have argued Hillsdale College left the GLIAC because Hillsdale’s ath­letic pro­grams couldn’t compete. Hillsdale’s 40-plus-year history in the GLIAC proves oth­erwise.

For instance, in 2017, both men’s and women’s track and field fin­ished second in the GLIAC, while several other pro­grams posted impressive seasons.

Junior Joel Pietila won the 2017 GLIAC Men’s Golf Indi­vidual, while the second-year men’s tennis team fin­ished fourth in the GLIAC. Junior Justin Hyman and sophomore Charlie Adams ranked the No. 8 doubles team in the region.

One only has to scan past achieve­ments to see that Hillsdale holds GLIAC records and awards in sports across the board.

In 2016, Kyle Cooper was the GLIAC Men’s Bas­ketball Player of the Year. Luke Ortel won the Player of the Year honor in baseball in that year, as well, setting the con­ference record for hits in a season, while leading the team to the NCAA tour­nament. Katie Cezat won the GLIAC Women’s Bas­ketball Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009 — aver­aging 29 points and 17 rebounds a game to lead the 2009 GLIAC cham­pions. Last year, Emily Oren shat­tered the GLIAC steeple­chase record.

Three dif­ferent Hillsdale players received four GLIAC Vol­leyball Player of the Year honors from 2006 – 2011.

Three Hillsdale football players won GLIAC Player of the Year in six years, and the Chargers cur­rently have two players starting in the NFL.

“If you were to rank the [reasons for leaving] from 1 – 10, and this was on the list at all, it would probably be right at the bottom,” said Brad Monas­tiere, assistant ath­letic director for media rela­tions and event man­agement.

Hillsdale ath­letics have con­sis­tently stood out in the region and even com­peted nationally. 

Emily Oren was a nine-time national champion in women’s track. The teams she was a part of con­sis­tently placed on the podium on a national level.

Two years ago, women’s cross country was ranked first in the nation during the regular season.

“That’s a first for us, to have a team that got ranked No. 1 in a Division II poll, and yet it hap­pened within the two-year window that we gave our notice and is another shot to the theory that we can’t deal with the com­pe­tition,” Monas­tiere said. 

Hillsdale vol­leyball has qual­ified for the NCAA tour­nament nine times, which requires an out­standing season and a top eight spot in the region.

“When someone wants to point to com­pe­tition [as a reason for leaving], it just simply isn’t true,” Monas­tiere said. “If it was, where is our 1 – 10 football season where we bot­tomed out and got crushed by everyone? That hasn’t hap­pened.”

In fact, it hasn’t hap­pened in any sport.

If Hillsdale left the GLIAC because they could not compete, embar­rassing records would have pre­ceded the announcement in 2015.

Between vol­leyball and men’s bas­ketball, Hillsdale fin­ished under .500 just one season in the past 10 years.

From 2003 – 2017, women’s track and field placed in the top five all but two seasons.

From 2007 – 2012, Hillsdale won at least seven football games every year, and only had two losing seasons from 2005 – 2015. They also won the GLIAC in 2011, and have all-time winning records against 13 of 16 GLIAC teams.

“I’m not saying we dom­i­nated the GLIAC, but we were never a doormat to anybody — going back to when we joined the con­ference in the 70s,” Monas­tiere said.

Other teams may hold more con­ference titles, but Hillsdale has con­sis­tently fin­ished in the top half of the GLIAC and boasts impressive records.

Softball has won 20 or more games for four con­sec­utive years. Two years ago, the team was picked 10th in the pre­season poll and fin­ished third in the regular season.

From 2007 – 2009, Hillsdale went 50 – 9 in women’s bas­ketball and has con­tinued to impress since.

If a school limps away from a con­ference dragging last place records, then they probably just couldn’t compete. Hillsdale has no such records.