The Hillsdale College men’s cross country team captured fourth at the 2020 G‑MAC Championship meet on Saturday, Oct. 24 in Tiffin, Ohio. Junior Adam Wier and senior Mark Miller finished in the top 10 overall to earn First-Team All-Conference honors to lead the way.
Walsh University stole the competition with a score of 21, beating second and third place teams Malone and Cedarville, who had 78 and 91 points, respectively. The Chargers fell in fourth by just three points, finishing with 94.
Wier and Miller worked together to capture sixth and seventh place, respectively. They crossed the line within one second of each other, finishing in 25:33.7 and 25:34.3, both of which were season-best times.
“I always wish I placed higher, but I thought I raced well,” Miller said. “I got out hard, settled in at a good pace, made a move around 5k, and kicked at the end. I also thought the guys did really well.”
Finishing third for Hillsdale and 24th overall, senior Morgan Morrison crossed the line in 25:28.2, which was a season best for him as well. Sophomore Mark Sprague finished 29th in 26:44.5.
“It was my last race of my senior year and it was a little disappointing just because of how it compared to how well I did last season,” Morrison said. “But I felt like the most important thing was that I really went for it. From when the gun went off, I gave my best and left it all out there.”
Morrison said he found this season especially challenging in terms of staying focused.
“I came in with a foot injury so I was a little behind in my training,” he said. “There also at least like three or four points when we were looking at the circumstances and we were like, ‘We’re not going to have a season this year.’ So that made it really hard to stay mentally engaged throughout the really long season.”
Wier agreed and said he was also proud of the team’s efforts.
“I am so glad we were able to race this season at all,” he said. “Given everything we’ve been through in the past 6 months, I am really proud of the guys around me and how they responded.”
In his first collegiate conference championship, freshman Alex Mitchell took 35th overall with a time of 26:56.8. His time on Saturday was just three seconds off of his personal best time in the 8k, despite having COVID-19 three weeks prior.
“I was really happy with how I did. I had a hard time coming back from COVID. I had lost a lot of strength and I probably didn’t do as well as I could’ve done,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t miss any days of training, but it did have a little bit of a longer effect on me.”
To round out the scoring for the Chargers, sophomore Isaac Waffle battled across the finish line to take 51st overall in 27:18.8, which was nearly a three-way tie with a pair of runners crossing just milliseconds before and after him.
“I think initially we were pretty disheartened by it, but the mood quickly turned to one of excitement for track,” Morrison said. “We don’t dwell on our defeats, that’s one thing coach has always said. ‘That doesn’t define you, it’s what we’re going to do moving forward.’”