(Photo: Hillsdale College Athletics)

The men’s cross country team finished 19th overall Saturday at the Conference Crossover in Romeoville, Illinois, but senior captain Nathan Jones said the competition and experience still helped the team prepare for championship season.

“We didn’t quite get what we wanted out of it,” Jones said. “Going back-to-back weekends, I think that hurt us a little bit, but it was a really good chance to see where we stack up against some of the teams that will be at regionals. Just to see some of that competition there and get some more experience for our guys was good.”

Freshman Mark Miller ran a season-best time of 25:48.1, placing 40th overall.

“Mark is a very talented freshman, and he’s adjusted well week-to-week to a distance he hasn’t seen prior to this year,” head coach Andrew Towne said. “I’ve been really happy with him, and think the future’s very bright for him.”

Jones earned 63rd place with a time of 26:02.4, and junior Nick Fiene finished 96nd overall with a time of 26:28.0.

Towne said the team continues to learn from each race, but the strain of racing back-to-back weekends showed in the team’s performance.

“We started out well, but didn’t finish very well. We continue to have some injury and sickness issues,” Towne said. “We didn’t get quite the result we wanted, but you can tell they’re doing a really good job of paying attention to themselves and what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong, and trying to make that better each week.”

Three team members also traveled to the Lansing Community College Invitational on Friday to compete, where freshman Jack Shelley’s time of 27:36.0 earned him 51st place in the meet. Shelley, junior Santiago Quintana, and freshman Alex Oquist all ran season-best times in Lansing.

“I was really happy with those guys,” assistant coach R.P. White said.

In two weeks, the team will travel to Nashville, Tennessee to compete in the G-MAC championship on Oct. 21.

“We should be ready to go for championships,” White said. “My mantra for the team this season has been to learn from experience, so whatever the outcome happens to be, as long as we see improvement, we’re going to be happy. However the points stack out, it’s going to be a great experience for the guys.”