As the Hillsdale College Chargers entered a buzzing Kelly Family Sports Center at last Friday’s GVSU Open, they faced a tough test from some of the nation’s best teams. Throughout the meet, however, the Chargers showed they were up to the challenge.
Hillsdale placed fourth out of 18 teams, finishing only behind host Grand Valley State University and Lewis University — two Division II teams ranked in the top six of last week’s U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings — and the University of Toledo, a Division I team.
Sophomore Kajsa Johansson sparked a solid performance on the track, finishing third in a competitive 200 meter dash. Johansson set a personal best with a time of 25.23 seconds, and finished only three tenths of a second behind the Division II provisional time. Meeting this time would give Johansson a chance to qualify for the national meet.
“[Johansson] had a shorter freshman year because of injury, but she’s shown some great stuff on the track this year,” head coach Andrew Towne said. “She’s someone who will definitely continue to make an impact.”
The Chargers put their best foot forward in the 3000 meter run, finishing as the top four collegiate runners and dominating the field of 45 competitors. Junior Arena Lewis separated herself from the pack throughout the race, and turned in a time of 10 minutes and 5 seconds. Senior Ally Eads finished behind her in 10:12.
Freshman Sophia Maeda and sophomore Christina Sawyer finished as the third and fourth collegiate runners in the event with times of 10:14 and 10:16, respectively.
In the 800 meter run, sophomore Abbie Porter had a strong race to place second in a field of 37 runners. Her time of 2:14.86 was a season best, and is only six tenths of a second short of a provisional time. Sophomore Calli Townsend also set a personal best, finishing seventh with a time of 2:15.92.
In the 4x400 meter relay, freshmen Melanie Boehm and Amber Mango joined Porter and Townsend to take second with a time of 4:01.97.
In the field, freshman Alexie Day turned in another strong performance, finishing second in the high jump with a jump of 1.63 meters, just four centimeters short of a provisional mark.
In the throwing events, freshman Nikita Maines, fresh off breaking a school record the week before, finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 13.66 meters.
Looking to build off of last week’s success, the Chargers are back in action at home this weekend for the Hillsdale Wide Track Classic in Hillsdale’s Biermann Athletic Center. Events begin Friday at 12 p.m. and continue on Saturday morning.