After losing their outdoor track season, the Hillsdale College men’s and women’s cross country teams will be competing for the first time in nearly seven months on their home course this Saturday. For many of these athletes, this is the longest they’ve gone without a race.
“We’re just excited to have the opportunity to compete and hopefully it’s a meet we can build off of and win a couple of conference championships,” said R.P. White, assistant cross country coach.
The meet will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 in Hayden Park. The Chargers will be racing against top conference opponents such as Walsh and Malone Universities.
The course is known for its tough hills, but White said his team is ready to compete.
“The first one’s always kind of a ‘rust buster,’ as everyone calls it,” White said. “We’re just getting used to competing because we haven’t done it in a while, especially this year.”
Sophomore Sean Hoeft said he’s feeling optimistic about the season, even if it’s an abbreviated one.
“I’m excited to race, it’s been a long summer of training and we’re just ready to see what we can do as a team,” Hoeft said. “I’m feeling pretty good. I bumped up my mileage this summer. I feel like I’m at a pretty good spot right now.”
The men’s team, which placed second at the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Championship meet last fall, is looking to bring home the trophy this year.
“Morgan and Mark are two of our top guys and they’re a little beat up right now, but they’re working on getting back into it,” Hoeft said. “Hopefully by the end of the season they’ll be ready to go for conference.”
The women, who won the conference championship last season, are looking to repeat such success. While they graduated three key runners, the team brought in four new freshmen who are looking to make an impact early on.
“The whole team is really excited. It’s fun to have a season and get to start out on our home course,” senior Megan Poole said. “It’s a tough course, but we work out on it enough we have a love-hate relationship with it and we know it well so we’re excited.”