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Hillsdale men’s and women’s cross country teams pause for a picture during summer camp. (Photo: R.P White | Courtesy)

The Hillsdale men’s cross country team will compete in its first 8k race of the season on Friday at the Spartan Invi­ta­tional in East Lansing, Michigan. The Chargers will be com­peting on the Forest Akers East Golf Course against teams of many clas­si­fi­ca­tions, ranging from NAIA pro­grams to Division I schools such as Michigan State Uni­versity.

The team is coming off a third place finish in its first race at the Jeff Drenth Memorial, where assistant coach R.P. White said he was pleased with the team’s per­for­mance given its current training volume.

“We’re still in the thick of really high density training, so nobody is going to feel good. But everybody ran solid races,” White said. “Overall it was a solid start, and I think it set us up to perform really well this weekend at Michigan State.”

Junior Joey Humes ran the fastest time out of all 44 runners who com­peted at the Jeff Drenth Memorial.

Humes ran the 5k race in 15 minutes, 13.44 seconds, fast enough to set the G-MAC record at that dis­tance and be named G-MAC Athlete of the Week. Humes said the win left him feeling val­i­dated after a long summer of training.

“Being in a cross country race is when you think, ‘Man, the whole summer was worth it,’” he said. “I think everyone hits a low point in the summer at some point or another, but everyone pushed through and here we are. I think that hard summer effort is really paying off.

Senior Eli Poth will be making his season debut at the Spartan Invi­ta­tional. It will be the first time Poth will race with his brother Eric, a junior, as team­mates on Hillsdale’s cross country team. 

“I think when they’re able to line up together, they’re both going to get con­fi­dence from that, and they’re both going to have some special runs this year,” White said.