Joey Humes was named G‑MAC Men’s Track Athlete of the Meet at the G‑MAC Indoor Cham­pi­onships.

The Hillsdale College Chargers came into the 2019 indoor season as a young, inex­pe­ri­enced team with a lot to prove. After con­tinued improvement and a strong per­for­mance at the G‑MAC Indoor Cham­pi­onships last weekend, however, the Chargers will bring expe­rience and momentum into the upcoming outdoor season.

Hillsdale rode some strong indi­vidual per­for­mances to a third place finish at the con­ference cham­pi­onship meet. Tiffin Uni­versity took first with 183 points, while the Uni­versity of Findlay, the host of the meet, took second with 113 points. The Chargers fin­ished the meet with 86 points.

“Some of those other teams have some pretty stellar guys.” Junior Joseph Humes said. “I don’t think anyone thought we could go up against those teams that have com­peted at a national level. To finish third is exciting, I def­i­nitely feel like we per­formed up to our full potential.”

Humes has been an anchor for Hillsdale all year, and came through in the clutch last weekend. Humes entered the meet as the favorite to win both his events, the 3000 meter run and the mile run, and didn’t dis­ap­point.

In the mile run, Humes started strong and held the pace for 16 laps around the narrow track in the Uni­versity of Findlay’s Malcolm Ath­letic Center. As he came around the final curve, however, the race was far from decided. Humes fin­ished in a meet record 4:15.02, but five other runners fin­ishing within three seconds of him. One of these close fin­ishers was freshman Mark Miller, who took second with a time of 4:15.91.

“All I was thinking about was just keep cruising and focus on winning on the race.” Humes said.

After his victory in the mile, Humes also com­peted against a loaded field in the 3000 meter run, a tall task as fatigue played a factor.

“It was tough running again right after the mile. My legs didn’t feel good.” Humes said. “Most of the good dis­tance runners were running in the 3000 and I didn’t know if my legs had enough to keep up.”

In spite of the fatigue, Humes was able to stay in the lead pack through the course of the race. In another finish race down the stretch, Humes came out on top to win his second event of the meet.

Humes fin­ished in 8:31.65, just three tenths of a second faster than the second-place fin­isher.

“It was a grind.” Humes said. “A lot of the other guys were keying off of me, trying to tire me out. To be that guy that everyone is focused on and still come out on top is really cool.

These two vic­tories earned the Chargers almost a quarter of their team points. After the meet, Humes was rec­og­nized as the men’s Track Athlete of the Meet, the second con­sec­utive year he’s won that award at the G‑MAC Indoor Cham­pi­onships.

“It was a little sur­prising to win again,” Humes said. “There’s a lot of talent at that meet, a lot of guys that are nationally qual­ified, so it’s def­i­nitely cool to win.”

Hillsdale also had a great showing in the hep­tathlon, an event that demands a high level of per­for­mance in all dif­ferent dis­ci­plines. Sophomore Ryan Thomsen shined in the field events, taking first with 4802 points, a new meet record. Freshman John Baldwin also com­peted well, winning three of the indi­vidual events and fin­ishing second with 4656 points.

While the Chargers had several ath­letes meet the pro­vi­sional qual­i­fying times, none of them ranked high enough to make the field for the national meet. Hillsdale will have three weeks to refocus on the beginning of the outdoor track and field season.

A new season brings new oppor­tu­nities, and head coach Andrew Towne sees each new season as a chance to improve on the last.

“We’ve really stressed that there isn’t another 2019 track and field team. This is their team,” Towne said. “There’s a real focus on becoming our best.”