Two long and fierce days of track competition didn't have a winner declared until shortly before the final event. And the Hillsdale College men's track team was right there with the best the Great Midwest Athletic Conference has to offer.
The Chargers, participating in their first-ever G-MAC indoor championship, took second place with 135 points at the two-day meet hosted by Hillsdale at the Margot V. Biermann Athletic Center. The University of Findlay won the title with 154 points. Malone placed third with 122 points, followed by Walsh with 110 and Alderson Broaddus with 45 points.
Sophomore Joseph Humes turned in an incredible meet, winning two individual titles while running anchor to the first-place distance medley relay team. His victory in the 3000 meter run – with a time of 8:32.64 – temporarily put Hillsdale in first place.
Late in Saturday's portion of the meet, the Chargers vaulted ahead of Findlay in the point standings with 124 to Findlay's 122 after Humes' victory in the 3000 gave his team 10 big points. But shortly thereafter the results from the shot put came in and the Oilers took first, third and fifth places, allowing them to take a 17-point lead over Hillsdale with just one event remaining, effectively clinching the title.
However, the big picture didn't take one thing away from Humes, whose brilliance was rewarded. Conference coaches voted Humes the G-MAC Men's Track Athlete of the Meet, not a difficult choice after the weekend he had.
In addition to his win in the 3000, Humes was the conference champion in the mile run, topping the competition with a time of 4:17.59. He was trailed in that race closely by teammate Nathan Jones, who took third with a 4:19.84.
Jones and Humes ran the lead and anchor legs in the distance medley relay event respectively, and they were joined by Konnor Maloney and Adam Wade in capturing the G-MAC title in that event with a time of 10:01.04. They won the race by an incredible 19 seconds over the second-place DMR team.
Another inspirational performance was turned in by senior David Chase, who was one of the busiest men in the building early in the day Saturday. He won the G-MAC title in the heptathlon, accumulating 4,740 points. He had plenty of friendly company in that event, with Jared Schipper taking second and Ryan Thomsen third, giving the Chargers a podium sweep of the two-day event.
Chase was participating in both the open high jump and the multi pole vault at the same time, frantically running from clearing one bar with his legs and another bar with the assistance of a pole. Chase's versatility and athleticism paid off for him in both events, making him a big factor in Hillsdale's success.
Schipper made a bit of history by being crowned the G-MAC champion in the pole vault. His mark of 4.72 meters was good for first place, and he'll go down in history as Hillsdale's first-ever G-MAC indoor track champion in any event.
Chase finished third in the high jump by clearing 6 feet, 8 ¾ inches, while thrower Daniel Capek finished fourth in the weight throw and sixth in the shot put.
Senior Lane White took second overall in the 400 with a time of 49.79 seconds, and was part of the runner-up 4x400 relay team along with Maloney, Wade and Levi Wyse. Wade also picked up a second-place individually, in the 800 meter run with a time of 1:56.37.
Hillsdale will next take the track at the 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships, being hosted by Pittsburg State University in Kansas.