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Alex Oquist (left) and Jack Shelley (right) run in the one mile run at the Con­ference Crossover on January 18. At the GVSU Open on Friday, Oquist fin­ished ninth in the 3000 meter run and Shelley fin­ished eighth in the one mile run. (Scott Lowery | Col­legian)

As junior Joey Humes rounded the final corner with the closest com­petitor half a lap behind, all that stood between him and a victory in the 3000 meter run was 50 meters of wide open track. Emphat­i­cally crossing the finish line, Humes put an excla­mation point on a young, devel­oping team’s statement per­for­mance.

The Hillsdale College Chargers entered last Friday’s GVSU Open looking to rebound after a dis­ap­pointing per­for­mance at the Con­ference Crossover the week before. The Chargers found their answer with numerous impressive indi­vidual per­for­mances, fin­ishing third out of the 12 schools rep­re­sented, with 46 points. Host Grand Valley State Uni­versity took the top spot with 146 points, while Bethel College took second with 127.5 points.

Humes fin­ished first in the 3000 with a per­sonal best time of 8 minutes and 18.68 seconds. He fin­ished 15 seconds ahead of the next closest com­petitor, and beat the Division II pro­vi­sional mark by more than five seconds, putting him in prime position to qualify in the event for the national meet. Junior Alex Oquist also raced well, fin­ishing eighth in 8:40.83, a per­sonal best by almost 14 seconds. 

This is just an example of the improvement throughout the roster the coaching staff has stressed.

“We’ve really empha­sized the indi­vidual within the team,” head coach Andrew Towne said. “If the indi­vidual is at their best, then the team is at its best.”

Freshman John Baldwin ran the second fastest time in the pre­lim­inary heat of the 60 meter hurdles en route to a fourth place finish, running the final heat in 8.44 seconds. Junior Ian Brown also rep­re­sented Hillsdale in the finals, fin­ishing eighth in 8.69 seconds. 

In the 200 meter dash, freshman Jacob Schmidt fin­ished fourth out of 63 com­petitors with a time of 22.39  seconds, racing to a per­sonal best that stands a mere six tenths of a second off the Division II pro­vi­sional mark.

Freshman Mark Miller took third in the one mile run with a time of 4:15.46, fin­ishing just three seconds behind the leader in a com­pet­itive field, and com­fortably setting a per­sonal best. 

In the 4x400 meter relay, sophomore Adam Wade and senior Levi Wyse joined Baldwin and Schmidt to finish third in 3:22.37.

The Chargers also got a strong indi­vidual effort in the pole vault, as freshman Ben Raffin tied his per­sonal best with a jump of 4.72 meters, just a cen­timeter off the pro­vi­sional mark.

Hillsdale returns home to the Biermann Ath­letic Center this weekend for the Hillsdale Wide Track Classic. The Classic is the second of three home meets for the Chargers this season. Events begin Friday at 12 p.m. and con­tinue on Sat­urday morning.