The Hillsdale Chargers experienced tough competition, two new personal bests, and a third-place finish on Saturday at the 2018 Pre-Nationals Meet in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Thirty teams and 293 runners competed in this meet, including four other G-MAC schools: the University of Findlay, Davis & Elkins College, Walsh University and Malone University. Hillsdale scored 128 points, behind Walsh, which finished second overall with 91 points. Malone took eighth, Findlay was next in 23rd, and Davis & Elkins came in 26th.
This meet gave the Chargers one last opportunity to compete against rival schools before their next meet: the G-MAC championship on Nov. 3. Head Coach Andrew Towne said he felt the team had a solid performance and executed well.
“I thought it was a good experience for them to be on the same course that NCAAs will be on,” Towne said.
Sophomores Maryssa Depies and Christina Sawyer led the way for the Chargers, taking ninth and 17th, respectively. Depies finished the race in 22 minutes and 56 seconds, and Sawyer ran 23:07.
Right behind the pair of sophomores was junior Ally Eads, who took 22nd overall and finished in 23:15.
Next to cross the finish line was sophomore Lauren Peterson who has continued to improve all fall. Her time of 23:49 replaces her previous best of 24:23.9, which earned her a 37th-place finish.
“It’s fun,” Peterson said of setting new personal records. “I PR’d in the 6k at Michigan State, and again this past weekend. I feel like I have an opportunity to add something to our team this year.”
Junior Kate Vanderstelt has also continued to improve this fall, as she finished 48th overall and fifth for Hillsdale. Previously her best time was 24:01.6 from October 2016, but she finished Saturday’s race in 24:00, earning a new personal best.
Despite finishing third as a team, the Chargers weren’t quite at their full potential, according to Towne.
“I don’t think we were a full team,” Towne said. “We had a couple situations where someone wasn’t racing or a couple kids that were racing for their first time in a while in a quality meet.”
Junior Arena Lewis was out of town and unable to run, and freshman Sophia Maeda was just coming back from an injury, so this was her first ever 6k race. Maeda said she thought it was good to have the experience of racing a 6k before the G-MAC conference championship.
The Chargers will continue to improve their times and fitness levels as they prepare for the approaching championship season.