The Hillsdale College Track and Field teams will kick off their 2019 – 2020 indoor track season with the Holiday Opener at Grand Valley State University this Friday, Dec. 6.
Andrew Towne will be returning this season for his fifth year as head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams. He said they are prepared and motivated for the first meet of the season.
“The first meet is really a chance for all the kids to have their first opportunity to show us what they can do,” he said “They’ve been training all summer and fall for this.”
The Chargers have experienced incredible success over the past few seasons, and look to build upon that success and have the young members of the team play a larger role.
“Last year was a good year in a lot of ways, especially in terms of re-establishing a culture,” Towne said. “I think the freshman class can really add to that.”
The women’s team will return senior sprinter Abbie Porter who competed at the NCAA Division II Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships last season, as well as junior Kajsa Johansson who holds the school record in both the 100m and 200m dash, and joined Porter at the Outdoor Nationals last year.
In the field, sophomore Nakita Maines returns this season as the school record holder in the shot put. She’s accompanied by sophomore thrower Micheala Burkhauser, senior pole vaulter Kathryn Bassette, and many other running, throwing, and jumping powerhouses.
“I am really excited about this year as we have a lot of talent on the team returning from last year as well as a great freshman class,” Porter said.
On the women’s side, the Chargers gained a talented class of 10 freshmen. For the men, they added nine freshmen to the program.
The men will return big point scorers like senior sprinter/hurdler Ian Brown, sophomore pole vaulter Ben Raffin, and multi-event athlete, John Baldwin.
“The attitude and mental strength of the team is much improved from previous years,” Brown said. “We are looking forward to a very promising season after after a strong off-season of conditioning.”
Towne said he hopes to carry the momentum from the recent cross country season over to the indoor track.
“Coming off of cross country, our women’s distance crew is really strong. Our women’s sprint and hurdles crew is also very strong, but young,” Towne said. “And for the men, I would say there’s not one group that particularly sticks out from another. They are all balanced and pretty similar.”
Towne said the team will vote on team captains for both the men’s and women’s teams following Friday’s meet.
“I am looking forward to our first meet as it is the first time we can show how hard our team has been working this fall,” Porter said, it can be tough to stay focused in September when the meet is months away, but this has been the motivated team I have been on at Hillsdale.”
This weekend the team will focus mainly on sprints and field events as the distance runners recover from their recent cross country season.
The meet begins with field events at 2:45 p.m.