Fresh off the training of the fall track program, the Hillsdale College men’s track team displayed a strong showing at Saginaw Valley State University last weekend.
Seventeen Hillsdale athletes participated on the men’s side at the SVSU Holiday Classic. Head coach Andrew Towne said he had almost zero expectations going into the Classic. He explained that season openers are always an adjustment, even for the most seasoned of athletes.
“You really have no idea with the first meet, because we haven’t competed since May,” Towne said. “We’ve seen lots of improvement throughout the fall with most kids, but it’s a new environment. Even for a senior who’s competed for three years, when you have a six month layoff, competition is a new environment for them.”
While Towne’s expectations were practically non-existent, he said the meet gives the team a good benchmark going forward.
“It gives you a good idea of where our skills are at right now,” Towne said. “One of the things you want to see as a coach, whether it’s the fall, the first competition, between competitions, is you want to seem them improving. You want to seem them understanding what they did wrong and how to fix it. That would be my biggest expectation. I want to see where we are at and how we worked through things and I thought we did a good job with that.”
Though nobody compiled team results, Towne said he was pleased with many individual performances including, that of freshman Adam Wade, who took third in the 800.
“One of the things that was impressive about him was he’s a freshman, and even when you’re an old man in the 800 every 800 meters is different,” Towne said. “People makes moves at different points, you have to cover surges at different points. There isn’t a set script for it. And even for an old guy, it’s tough to sort out what to do in a race. For a freshman, not only did he run fast, but I thought he managed the race really well.”
Wade says that his time of 1:54 in the 800 was his best ever at a meet.
“It was way faster than I was ever in high school,” Wade said. “So I feel pretty good about the training program and how that’s going.”
Towne was also pleased with senior weight thrower Daniel Čapek, who had one of the best openers in his career.
“I threw 16.95 meters,” Čapek said. “My PR is 18.06 meters, so there’s still room for improvement. I could have done better this meet. I just had problems with technique, but overall pretty good. I usually tend to improve as the season goes, so it should go pretty well.”
When rehashing the events of the meet, senior captain David Chase cited the hard work the team put in during the preseason.
“I think the meet went really well,” Chase said. “We opened up a lot stronger than we have in the past and I think that shows there is a lot of talent and a lot of hard work that was done this fall. I think this upcoming semester, once we get into a groove and we get used to competing then it’s going to be a very successful year.”
The team must now wait one month until its next meet at the University of Michigan on Jan. 13. The Wolverine Invitational will see the Chargers take on Eastern Michigan University, University of Cincinnati, University of South Florida, and University of Michigan.