Freshman Adam Wier run at the Forest Akers East Golf Course at the Spartan Invi­ta­tional in East Lansing, Michigan last Friday. (Calli Townsend | Col­legian)

The Hillsdale Chargers con­tinued their strong start to the season on Friday at the Spartan Invi­ta­tional in East Lansing, Michigan. The team fin­ished ninth out of 23 teams and beat their regional com­petitor Michigan Tech Uni­versity, who was ranked 10th in the Midwest region pre­season poll.

“On paper, we weren’t ranked in any­thing by anyone, and we beat the 10th ranked team in our region,” senior Eli Poth said. “We put our­selves in a good spot and we showed everyone we are good. It was a good, solid start to the season.”

The Chargers were led by junior Joey Humes, who placed 13th overall with a time of 25 minutes and 33.0 seconds. Humes had not run in an 8k race since his freshman year, and he said the dis­tance wore him out.

“I was with the lead group for about two and a half miles. Then the two Grand Valley guys, one was last year’s national runner up and the other one was sixth, they took off right after that,” Humes said. “The wheels just came off. It was my first 8k, and it felt it. Once it got strung out, I just couldn’t keep up.”

While Humes wasn’t entirely sat­isfied with his finish, assistant coach R.P. White said he was pleased with how Humes has pro­gressed since his college debut at the Spartan Invi­ta­tional two years ago.

“Joey has posi­tioned himself as a national-class athlete. He has com­peted at the NCAA Cham­pi­onships in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, and we’ve talked about taking the next step to becoming an All-American,” White said in an email. “As a freshman at the Spartan Invite, I preached learning and gaining expe­rience. He’s come a long way since his debut race at MSU his freshman year, and I am eager to see his progress con­tinue.”

The Forest Akers East Golf Course, where the meet was held, is peren­nially one of the softer courses of the season. This year was no exception. Both Poth and Humes said the soft ground, com­bined with Friday’s high heat, made the race more dif­ficult.

“The course was squishy, and it takes a toll when you are trying to push off and it feels like you aren’t going any­where,” Humes said. “The soft course def­i­nitely made it tough later on in the race.”

The team’s next meet is the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 29. Sophomore Jack Shelley, who has been side­lined with a stress fracture in his foot for the season’s first two meets, is expected to make his Hillsdale debut at the meet in Louisville, Ken­tucky. White said the firm course con­di­tions will allow the team to run a faster race than it did at the Spartan Invi­ta­tional.

“I can always count on a 30 – 60 second improvement from MSU to Louisville. Hope­fully that’s the case again this year,” White said. “If we get out the first mile ade­quately and stay com­pet­itive in the middle por­tions, we should be happy with our times and our team place.”