The Hillsdale women’s cross country team runs at the Slippery Rock Uni­versity Pre-National meet earlier this season. Slippery Rock Uni­versity | courtesy

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.”