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(Photo: Todd Lan­caster | Courtesy)

Senior Hannah McIntyre led the dis­tance runners in a sweep of the 5,000 meter at Grand Valley State Uni­versity on Sat­urday. Sophomore Arena Lewis came in second at the opener of the Mike Lints Alumni Open.

“At this point in the year, you wanna con­tinue to take steps forward,” Head coach Andrew Towne said. “I feel like we’ve done that every week, from being home, to Michigan, to this past weekend.”

Fin­ishing in 16:23, McIntyre made an NCAA auto-qual­i­fying mark. Lewis’s time was just below an auto-qual­ifier. Freshmen Marissa Depies and Kyleigh Edwards fin­ished third and fourth in the race with pro­vi­sional marks.

Lewis said the 5,000 was relaxed, with most of the women from Grand Valley par­tic­i­pating in the 3000 meter. The chargers per­formed well in the 3,000 meter race though, freshman Christian Sawyer making a pro­vi­sional qual­i­fying mark. Sophomore Addison Rauch fin­ished seventh in the race.

“Our whole dis­tance squad did crazy well,” Lewis said. “…We’d all just dis­cussed the plan for the race beforehand and we were all ready to go fast and see what we could do.”

McIntyre was named the Women’s Track Athlete of the Week after fin­ishing the race 17 seconds faster than her goal time, a second faster per lap. 

“Before the race, I had to tell myself, ‘you know you have to run fast today, you just have to make a decision,’” she said.

Lewis said McIntyre made the race easy phys­i­cally and men­tally for her younger team­mates.

“[Hannah’s] just a machine,” Lewis said. “It was so crazy. We were sup­posed to be hitting 60s for each lap and she was coming through 59s com­pletely by herself. And she’s just so selfless. She let me sit on her shoulder, and do whatever she was doing. I put no work into the race and she just led me through. She’s the best teammate ever.”

Lewis and McIntyre said they com­mu­ni­cated and sup­ported each other throughout the race.

“It was really great to have her behind me,” McIntyre said. “She’s a tough cookie.”

McIntyre also said that she shared with her younger team­mates her expe­rience as a freshman, and how she depended on older team­mates during meets.

“I said, ‘You guys are capable of running a lot faster than you think,’” McIntyre said. ‘So clear it with Coach, but I think you guys should just try to stick with me as long as you can.’”

The Chargers made good marks in other events. Senior Chloe Ohlgren fin­ished third in the triple jump with a dis­tance 10:89 meters. Senior Hannah Watts, sophomore Abbie Porter, and freshmen Carmen Botha and Calli Townsend fin­ished fifth in the 4x400 relay.

“I felt going into this meet this was the first chance to really establish our­selves,” Towne said.

“This next week will be another big step in that direction.”