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.”