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.