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Chargers run at Hillsdale Invi­ta­tional on Sat­urday. Calli Townsend | Col­legian

Nearly 50 people huddled together in the barn at Hayden Park on Sat­urday morning. Pouring rain and lightning bolts shooed ath­letes and spec­tators off the course, but this didn’t deter the women’s cross country team’s ener­getic spirit.

As they endured the 30-minute weather delay, the Hillsdale women’s cross country team show­cased skills other than running: dancing, football throwing and soccer ball kicking.

“I feel like for me, the delay kind of helped me destress about the race a little bit,” freshman Claire McNally said. “We were just having fun together in the barn and just hanging out, it was a good time.”

The gun finally sig­naled the start of the race at 12:15 p.m. and the Chargers were off, dashing up the long hill before them.

Before the meet began, freshman Sophia Maeda said the girls were hoping to sweep the com­pe­tition, taking first through 10th place — and they did, earning a perfect score of 15 points.

Going into the one-mile mark, much of the team ran together in a pack with only one Lake Superior State runner near them. By the end of the race, however, she faded away, leaving ten Chargers to cross the finish line, right in a row.

The first Charger to cross the finish line was sophomore Maryssa Depies, running the 5 kilo­meters in 18 minutes, 39.9 seconds. On Tuesday, Depies earned the G-MAC Women’s Cross-Country Athlete of the Week honor.

“It was fun to go out and race with your team and not have a lot of pressure on you,” she said.

Next to cross the finish line was Junior Arena Lewis, with a time of 19:04.2.

“[The race] was kind of like a practice, so it was kind of fun to chat with Maryssa, and about halfway through, well, I fell, and it just got kind of hard,” Lewis said. “But it was still fun to see us go 1 through ten.”

Sophomore Christina Sawyer and senior Ally Eads were next, fin­ishing in 19:27.8 and 19:38.3, respec­tively.

After a strong finish and some intense training, the Chargers are looking good as they head into their next meet on Oct. 20. They will be racing at the 2018 Pre-Nation­al/Re­gional Cross Country Race hosted by Slippery Rock Uni­versity, in Pitts­burgh, Pa. This is a change in the original schedule, as the team is looking to face steeper com­pe­tition as prepa­ration for the cham­pi­onship season.