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The Hillsdale College men’s and women’s cross country teams will give fans of Charger ath­letics some­thing to cheer for this weekend as they compete at the G‑MAC Cross Country Cham­pi­onship on Oct. 24. The meet will begin with the women’s 6k race at 9:30 a.m., fol­lowed by the men’s 8k race at 10:15 a.m. in Tiffin, Ohio.

Nine of the 11 G‑MAC men’s cross country teams will be rep­re­sented at Saturday’s meet, along with 10 of the 12 women’s teams. Lake Erie College and Trevecca Nazarene Uni­versity will not be com­peting.

On the women’s side, the Chargers prove to be favorites, though it won’t be an easy win. Senior Maryssa Depies and junior Sophia Maeda still hold the top two times in the con­ference so far this season, but behind them are runners from Cedarville Uni­versity and Walsh Uni­versity. For the last three years, since Hillsdale’s inau­gural year as a G‑MAC member, Cedarville, Walsh, and Hillsdale have held the top four spots in the con­ference. The Chargers won in 2017, Walsh stole the title in 2018, and the Chargers reclaimed their victory in 2019 and are looking to repeat again this year.

“On the girls side everyone is healthy and no one is hurt, so we’re excited and ready to go,” senior Christina Sawyer said. 

For the men, the Chargers have had a steady presence near the top of the con­ference. In 2017 and 2018, they fin­ished fourth, and last season, they snatched second. They are returning four of their top five runners from last year’s team. They also brought on a few freshmen looking to make an impact, notably Alex Mitchell, who has been a part of Hillsdale’s top five so far this season. 

“We are feeling con­fident and ready to go,” junior Adam Wier said. “Everyone is excited to get out there for one more race this season. I am fired up to get out there with my boys and go to work.”

The men are coming off of an excellent per­for­mance at the G‑MAC Indoor Track and Field cham­pi­onship, but after losing their outdoor season, con­tinuing a pro­longed summer of training, and sus­taining several injuries, they’ve lost some of that momentum. They are looking to build off their win three weeks ago at the Tiffleburg Invite and establish their mark as con­ference leaders. 

“Everyone is very con­fident, and also grateful for the oppor­tunity to race. It’s finally here, so we are looking forward to getting out what we’ve been putting in since summer training,” senior Mark Miller said. “The guys all look great during training, so I know we’re all pre­pared to step up this Sat­urday and race the way we’ve trained.”

Although teams won’t be com­peting for a chance to advance on to the Midwest Regional meet or the NCAA Division II Cham­pi­onship meet, the G‑MAC Cham­pi­onship meet will still include its tra­di­tional awards and honors. The G‑MAC is one of only five NCAA Division II con­fer­ences to hold a cross country cham­pi­onship this fall. 

The G‑MAC will still award a team trophy to the winners along with medals to the top 20 fin­ishers who will make up the all-con­ference team. There will also still be the runner, coach, and freshman of the year awards. All of these honors will be given out on both the men’s and women’s teams. The event can be livestreamed on the Great Midwest Digital Network, found at www.greatmidwestsports.com