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(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.”