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Ally Eads runs during the Wide Track Classic on Feb­ruary 1. (Todd Lan­caster | Courtesy)

Throughout the season, the Hillsdale College Chargers have shown flashes of the team that won last year’s G‑MAC Indoor Track and Field Cham­pi­onship. At last weekend’s Hillsdale Tune-Up, the Chargers had one last moment of bril­liance before they get a chance to defend their title. Hillsdale fin­ished first at the meet with 94 points. Nearby Spring Arbor Uni­versity fin­ished second with 77 points, with Taylor Uni­versity taking the third spot with 69 points.

After winning last year’s G‑MAC cham­pi­onship by more than 100 points, the Chargers hope to repeat their success, but it will take each member of their young team. Hillsdale grad­uated eight seniors who com­bined for 83 of the team’s 199 points last year.

Freshman thrower Nikita Maines con­tinues to throw well in the shot put, tying her own school record of 14.09 meters on her way to victory. Maines ranks fourth in the G‑MAC in the shot put this year, and has the power to chal­lenge for a title this weekend. In the weight throw, Maines set a per­sonal best of 14.80 meters to finish fourth.

One of the most encour­aging signs for the Chargers was the resur­gence of a healthy Kajsa Johansson. After a few weeks of bat­tling injury, Johansson ran the 60 meter dash in 7.73 seconds, just one-hun­dredth of a second off her per­sonal best and three-hun­dredths of a second off the school record.

Johansson is a key piece in Hillsdale’s quest for another title. The sophomore sprinter is in the middle of a breakout season, recording the fastest 60 meter dash time and the second fastest 200 meter dash time in the G‑MAC this year.

The Chargers also saw success in the 200 meter dash from freshman Alanna O’Leary, who set a per­sonal best of 26.29 seconds on her way to a first place finish.

Hillsdale will draw its strength from the dis­tance events. Senior Ally Eads leads the con­ference with the fastest time this season in the mile run, and ranks as the second fastest in the 3000 meter run. Sophomore Maryssa Depies will also chal­lenge the field in the 3000 meter, as she’ll go into the weekend ranked third in the con­ference. In the 5000 meter run, junior Arena Lewis cur­rently stands second in the con­ference.

Hillsdale should also be com­pet­itive in the 800 meter dash, as sopho­mores Abbie Porter and Calli Townsend both enter this week ranked in the top five in the G‑MAC in the event.

The con­ference cham­pi­onship will be held this weekend at the Uni­versity of Findlay’s Malcolm Ath­letic Center. Events begin on Friday at 10 a.m., and con­clude Sat­urday evening.