The Hillsdale Chargers traveled to Mount Pleasant, Michigan last Friday, and proved to be very competitive with all schools, ranging from large Division I programs to smaller community colleges. With a strong start and impressive depth, the Chargers captured second place with 42 points, behind first-place Michigan State University with 29.
This race signaled a much earlier start to the season compared to previous years, but the team adjusted well. The Chargers viewed it as a opportunity to evaluate where they are at in their fitness and training before getting into the heart of the season.
Junior Arena Lewis led Hillsdale and was the sixth runner overall to cross the finish line at 18 minutes and 14.52 seconds. Freshman Sophia Maeda also finished in the top ten, placing ninth in 18:19.07. Despite her strong showing, Lewis felt she still had more to give.
“Personally I don’t think I did super well. I started off too aggressively and died later in the race,” Lewis said.
Lewis credits her team for its second-place finish.
“The team is looking amazing. We have such great depth. The freshmen fit in so well and each one stepped up to fill important spots on the team,” she said. “Sophia did amazing and I can’t wait to see what she does later in the season. This meet was a great opener for us and based on how we did, I think this season will go well.”
Maeda said she went into the race not knowing what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised.
“The race went much better than I expected. I wasn’t feeling the greatest going into the race, so I went out a little conservatively and I think that made a huge difference.” Maeda said. “The team has been so awesome and has kept the stress so low that it hasn’t really been too much different [from high school]. The intensity is higher, but they’re all so supportive that racing was just another day of running with my friends. It’s definitely more nerve-racking than high school, but it’s nice to have the first race under our belts.”
Sophomore Christina Sawyer finished in 11th overall with a time of 18:28.04, and Junior Allysen Eads finished 16th in 18:50.07. Sophomore Maryssa Depies, who is coming back after an injury, finished right behind Eads in 17th, with a time of 18:52.15.
Assistant coach R.P. White was pleased with his team’s performance.
“The girls had a very solid opener,” he said. “I was proud of their effort and it was constructive to evaluate fitness levels and identify things we can improve upon.”
The Chargers will be on the road again on Friday, Sept. 14 when they travel to East Lansing, Michigan, for the Spartan Invitational, hosted by Michigan State.