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Junior Mark Miller races the mile at Tiffin Uni­versity (Courtesy | Shane O’Donnell)

The Men’s track team exceeded expec­ta­tions and fin­ished third at the Great Midwest Ath­letic Con­ference Cham­pi­onship meet on Feb. 28 and 29 in Tiffin, Ohio. 

“On paper we could’ve ended sixth or seventh,” head coach Andrew Towne said. “They just per­formed really, really well.” 

The men’s team was led by a stellar per­for­mance in the hep­tathlon by both junior Ryan Thomsen and sophomore John Ethan Baldwin. Thomsen ended with 5,157 total points which came from winning the long jump (6.86 meters) and the pole vault (4.55 meters). He also earned four second place fin­ishes in five other events which clinched the title for him. 

“Thomsen is a really tal­ented kid who has started to see the big picture and figure out how to handle himself. He did a great job,” Towne said.

Thomsen not only reclaimed his school record that was broken by Baldwin earlier this season with last weekend’s per­for­mance, but he also qual­ified for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track National meet next weekend.

Baldwin also put forth an impressive effort in the hep­tathlon coming in second with a total score of 4,786 points. Baldwin walked away with vic­tories in the 60 meter hurdles (8.15 seconds) and 60 meter dash (7.18 seconds) and took second in the long jump.

Senior Joseph Humes also brought home a G‑MAC title in the 3,000 meter run with a time of 8:31.25. He’ll be joining Thomsen at the National meet, but for the mile run from a time he ran earlier this season. 

Fellow dis­tance runner, sophomore Adam Wier ran 8:21.25 and ended third in the 5,000 meter run. “I was excited and nervous to run the 5k,” Wier said. “This is my main indoor event. I focused on staying in the race and staying com­pet­itive. As the race went on, I moved up slowly and by the end I was kicking hard.” 

The endurance and resilience of Hillsdale’s dis­tance crew was a huge factor in the Con­ference Cham­pi­onship for both the men and women’s teams. 

Junior Mark Miller ended fourth in a com­pet­itive mile race with a time of 4:25.60. Miller also ran the 800 meter run in 1:58.71 and came in sixth. Miller had pre­vi­ously this season suf­fered knee pain and had com­peted spo­rad­i­cally and had minimal training leading up to con­ference.

“As a team we beat the expec­tation for us,” Miller said. “For the training I’d been able to do, I was happy with it. We always talk about being grateful for the oppor­tunity to run. You have to be grateful to be the best version of your ath­letic self. We’re given a great oppor­tunity to compete.” 

Junior Jack Shelley added to the points on the board for the Chargers with a third place finish in the mile running a 4:24.78. Freshman Sean Hoeft ran 1:56.97 in the 800 meter run to earn fourth place. 

In the shorter dis­tances, senior Ian Brown con­tinued his incredible season with a bronze medal in the 60 meter hurdles for which he received all G‑MAC honors. Brown ran a huge PR of 8.16 seconds, which would have broken the school record if Baldwin hadn’t run an 8.15 in the 60m hurdles of the hep­tatlon earlier that day.

Junior Adam Wade took sixth in the 400 meter run with a time of 51.05 seconds. Sophomore Jacob Schmidt earned sixth in the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.98 seconds. 

 In the field, freshman Charlie Andrews jumped 1.92 meters to take seventh place in the high jump.

To end the Chargers’ impressive con­ference per­for­mance, the 4‑by-400m relay came in second place with a time of 3:23.80. The Dis­tance Medley ended sixth with a time of 11:02.48. 

Overall, Towne said he was proud of his men’s team for ral­lying together to pull out an unex­pected third place finish. 

“These kids are chal­lenged everyday,” he said. “This was just another chal­lenge for us. We’re used to these chal­lenges and I think that’s why we always rise to the occasion.”

The Chargers will now focus on the NCAA Division II Track and Field Cham­pi­onships on March 13 and 14 in Birm­ingham, Alabama, at the Birm­ingham Crossplex. The men will be sending Humes to compete in the mile and Thomsen to compete in the Hep­tathlon.