Records sometimes seem to last forever, enduring so long they reach a near-mythical status; rarified air never to be breathed again. In Kajsa Johansson’s mind, however, 37 years was long enough.
Johansson flirted with the school record in the 60 meter dash — set at 7.70 seconds by Carol Pettit in 1982 — all year, coming within three hundredths of a second on three different occasions. In the final heat of the G-MAC Indoor Championships when it mattered most, Johansson blew the record away. She finished in 7.65 seconds and took first in the event.
“It’s really cool. All season I expected conference to be the time where my performance would peak for the season.” Johansson said. “In the moment, I wasn’t really focused on that though, I was focused on scoring points for the team.”
As a young team, the Chargers entered the G-MAC Indoor Championship looking to make a splash. After the events concluded Saturday in the University of Findlay’s Malcolm Athletic Center, Hillsdale found themselves in third with 99.5 points. The Chargers finished just behind Walsh University, who took second with 103 points, while Tiffin University made a statement in their first year in the G-MAC, finishing first with 188.5 points.
“Considering the size of our team this year and how young our team is, that was really impressive.” Johansson said. “There’s a lot of potential in the future for us.”
Johansson showcased some of that potential in both her events. After winning the 60m, Johansson also ran well in the 200 meter dash, finishing second with a time of 25.23 seconds, a personal best.
In light of Johansson’s performance in the 60m and the 200m, she was recognized as the Freshman of the Meet. Johansson has demonstrated explosive athleticism and extraordinary potential in her first full indoor season, and is locked in on improving.
“Being on the younger side of the team, I just want to focus on improvement.” Johansson said. “I just want to get faster.”
In the 5000 meter run, sophomore Christina Sawyer finished at the head of the pack. Her time of 17:48.74 placed her in first and earned her the title of conference champion.
Sophomore Abbie Porter also competed well in the 800 meter run, finishing just seven hundredths of a second behind the leader to take second in a time of 2:16.64. Porter is one of the two Chargers to qualify for the national meet. Her season best time of 2:11.23 is the 14th best in the nation.
Hillsdale’s other qualifier for nationals is senior Allysen Eads. In her qualified event, the mile run, Eads finished in 4:57.77 to take second place in the G-MAC. Her fastest time this year, just over four minutes and 52 seconds, ranks as the 12th quickest time in the country this season. Eads is also qualified in the 3000 meter run.
In the field, freshman thrower Nikita Maines continued to perform at a high level for Hillsdale. Maines broke her own school record for the third time this year, throwing 14.29 meters to take third. Midway through her freshman campaign, Maines already has the six best throws in school history, but she’s confident she hasn’t reached her ceiling yet.
“I believe I can keep throwing well and keep setting that record higher,” Maines said.
As the indoor regular season comes to a close, Eads and Porter will look forward to the Division II Indoor National Championships in Pittsburg, Kansas on March 8 and 9. For the rest of the team, the beginning of the outdoor season is right around the corner, bringing new opportunities for success.
“The outdoor season’s a lot of fun,” Johansson said. “Everyone’s excited to just get outside and get working.”
The outdoor season will begin on March 15 when the Chargers will travel to the University of Miami for the Miami Hurricane Invitational.