The Hillsdale College women’s cross country team fell short at the 2020 G‑MAC Championship meet on Saturday, Oct. 24 in Tiffin, Ohio. Despite six runners earning All-Conference honors, the Chargers finished second overall as a team out of 10 G‑MAC member schools. Walsh University stole back the title with 30 points, while Hillsdale posted 46, and Malone University finished third with 82 points.
Senior Maryssa Depies maintained her steady positioning as a leader within the conference to take third overall with a time of 21:28.0 in the 6k race. She and fellow senior Christina Sawyer earned First-Team All-Conference honors. Sawyer finished seventh in 22:07.4, which is her best placing in a conference meet throughout her career.
“I’ve never been First-Team All-Conference before. My closest was actually my freshman year and this year I just felt really good going in,” Sawyer said. “The end of the race was tough. I was just barely hanging on. My goal had been fifth and I was in fifth for most of the race, so that was kinda disappointing, but it was good to have the goal because I think that’s why I placed as high as I did.”
Junior Sohpia Maeda led the next pack of Chargers, who all earned Second-Team All-Conference status by finishing 11th, 12th, and 13th overall. Maeda crossed the line in 22:18.1, with freshman Liz Wamsley in 22:26.9 and sophomore Meg Scheske in 22:30.4.
“I was really excited that we were able to compete in the first place, that was a huge blessing,” Wamsley said. “I was hoping to hit the same time I had gotten at the meet before on the same course, and I ended up PRing and I was really excited.”
Wamsley credits her team for encouraging her and helping her through this season’s training.
“It’s really different, for me at least, because I had never had a team experience because I was on a club team in high school,” she said. “I knew I wouldn’t have PR’d if I didn’t have Sophia and Christina ahead of me and pushing me.”
Senior Megan Poole took 15th, finished her final cross country season on a high note. She earned personal best times in each of the three races she ran this year. This was her best performance at a conference meet as well.
“Training had just been going well. I had the mentality of, ‘last one, best one,’ and I knew I was running for my team. It was an important day for everyone, not just the seniors,” Poole said. “It was really exciting. There’s been a lot of ups and downs with injuries and sickness, so it was good to end on a good note.”
Finishing out the scoring runners was junior Claire McNally, who crossed the finish in 23:05.3 to take 26th overall.
Poole said that despite their second-place finish, the Chargers were proud of their effort.
“We all would’ve been a little happier with a win, but the work was put in and the effort was there,” she said. “We controlled ourselves which was all we could do. Walsh just ran really well.’
The Chargers will take some time off from training before joining the rest of the Hillsdale College women’s track and field team for the 2020 – 21 indoor track season. Meets are scheduled to begin in December.