After the NCAA Division II Championships were cancelled last fall, the Hillsdale College Men’s Cross-Country team is eager to punch their ticket to this year’s championships in St. Leo, Florida.
The Men’s team will have three regular season invitationals before the G‑MAC Championships in Cedarville, Ohio on Oct. 23. Their season will begin on September 4th with the Calvin Knight Invite in Grand Rapids, Michigan, followed by the Lucian Rosa Invitational in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Chargers will finish up the regular season with Joe Piane Invitational in Notre Dame, Indiana.
The Chargers are returning six of their top seven runners from last year. Those six were a part of the 4th place team at the GMAC Championships last fall. Leading the charge this year for the men’s team are first-team All GMAC runners Adam Weir and Mark Miller.
“I’m most looking forward to getting to compete with the rest of my team and chase after our goals as a complete unit this year,” Weir said regarding the upcoming season, “We are mostly trying to become a deeper unit this year and build a team capable of competing at a high level both in the region and on the national stage.”
Other returning runners include Sophomores Sean Hoeft, Mark Sprague, and Dylan Palmer, as well as Freshman Micah Vanderkooi and Alex Mitchell. Mitchell, a second-year runner from Holland, Michigan, had nothing but positive things to say about this upcoming season.
“I’m looking forward to taking a step forward as an individual and as a team.” Mitchell said, “I have more confidence after a year of college running and we’re returning all but one of our guys from last year and have a really talented freshmen class.”
Head Coach Andrew Towne, who is coming into his 8th season coaching the Chargers, is also very eager to coach his young, talented team.
“I’m really excited to see how our team develops and grows. Watching the fruits of their labor payoff is one of the most rewarding parts of being a coach,” Towne said.
Towne also mentioned how important constantly improving physically will be for the team this season.
“Improving fitness and physical condition is something all cross-country programs focus on,” Towne said. “We pursue that at the highest level in conjunction with developing our mental, psychological, and emotional approach to our sport. If both of those areas are improved, we will be a better team than a year ago.”
The men will begin their season at the Calvin Knight Invitational in Grand Rapids on September 4th.