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.