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.