The Hillsdale College Chargers are ready to put their summer miles into action this Saturday as they compete in their season-opener race. Calvin College is hosting the Knight Invitational, a new meet on the schedule, as Hillsdale typically begins its season at the Spartan Invitational at Michigan State University. The Chargers will also be starting their season a week later than last year.
“I think it’ll be good. I like that we’re starting later because it gives us a little more time to train in the summer,” junior Christina Sawyer said. “All but one of our meets this year are at new courses.”
The Chargers only graduated one senior, Ally Eads, last year and are bringing in three freshmen: Meg Scheske, Natalie Martinson, Gynee Riley. Scheske was a three-time Michigan DII All-State runner during her high school career.
Junior Maryssa Depies and senior Arena Lewis are returning to the squad as First-Team All-Conference runners, and Sawyer is coming back as a Second-Team All-Conference award winner. Not to mention juniors Lauren Peterson and Megan Poole, who are expected to continue to improve upon their outstanding breakout seasons from last year.
Sophomore Sophia Maeda said she’s feeling confident about this season. After battling a series of injuries and illnesses last year, she had a great summer of training and is looking forward to being fast and healthy.
“Cross camp was wonderful. We’re gonna have a good team this year,” she said. “We have a lot of depth. Maryssa’s going to be a beast, Arena’s coming off a couple injuries but she’ll be great. It’s gonna be a good year.”
Head coach Andrew Towne said he’s excited to get the season underway.
“We had a really good camp. We have some really good returning experience and really talented newcomers,” he said.
In the 2019 Preseason G‑MAC Coaches poll, Hillsdale is expected to repeat as runner-up to Walsh University in the conference. The Chargers placed second to Walsh at the conference meet in 2018, but then beat the Cavaliers at the regional meet en route to qualifying for the NCAA DII Championship as a team for the sixth consecutive year.