Hillsdale women’s cross country finished fifth at the Conference Crossover at Lewis University in suburban Chicago on Saturday, dropping to third in the region behind Walsh University and tenth in the nation according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
“We lost to Walsh by only four points,” assistant coach Samantha Kearney said. “The girls are using that as motivation. They know it’s not going to be given, not just a walk in the park, but they know we’ve got the talent and ability.”
Cal Baptist won the meet, upsetting the Midwest’s top-ranked team Grand Valley State. Alaska Anchorage came in third and Walsh in fourth. Kearney said Cal Baptist will be a tough team going forward. Northern Michigan came in sixth, and between Walsh, Hillsdale, and Northern Michigan, it was a close battle.
Senior Hannah McIntyre was the Chargers’ top runner at the 6K course, finishing with a time of 21:54.7, and seventh overall in the race.
“It was a fun meet, it felt more low key, it felt like a high school meet,” McIntyre said, describing the course’s bare-bones atmosphere that lowered the pressure of the meet. “I wish I ran faster, and I think that’s the case for the whole team.”
The course seemed chill, she said, until she reached a big hill about 200 meters after the starting line that the runners had to haul up. It was also a mental course, she said, for making decisions and choosing not to fall back. But she said having a team that is real and open pushed her to keep pushing herself.
Behind McIntyre were a pair of freshmen: Maryssa Depies, 33rd overall with a time of 22:34.8, and Christina Sawyer, who was 39th overall with a time of 22:41.5.
Depies said she kept in front of the pack and constantly passed runners.
“Personally, I was really happy with the race, I’d been struggling with health issues,” Depies said. “It felt so good, I felt my legs for the first time in a long time.”
She said her legs felt like bricks when she ran and would go numb to the point where she couldn’t notice them beneath her.
“There’s more in my tank, I can do more,” Depies said. “I’m not satisfied with my time.”
As for the two runners senior Maddie Richards and freshman Megan Poole, who raced in Lansing this weekend, Kearney said Poole finished No. 1 for Hillsdale, 20 seconds off her personal record, and is adjusting to collegiate running after racing more frequently in high school.
She said Richards has been out for about two years due to injuries that kept her from competing.
“This is her first year competing since sophomore year here,” Kearney said. “It’s about getting back to the level she wants to be at, having a racing mindset. That’s a really good thing to see from someone who has had her path here.”
The team won’t run until the G-MAC championships, the first championship meet of the season, on Oct. 21 in Nashville, Tennessee. Kearney said the girls are looking to go head-to-head at Walsh and Cedarville. The remaining two meets will be regionals and nationals.
“This season has been a blast,” McIntyre said. “We’re all on the same page. We’re working on being real and open with each other. We really want to make it real.”