The 2019 G-MAC Championships brought energy, excitement, and an entirely new level of competition for the Hillsdale College Chargers. With a home-track advantage, the Chargers placed fifth with countless personal-best performances, scoring a total of 89.33 points.
After the decathlon began earlier in the afternoon, the 10,000 meter run was the first championship race of the weekend. With a steady mist filling the night air, freshman Eric Poth battled to a seventh-place finish with a big new personal record. His finishing time of 31:56.95 eclipses his old record of 32:48.21.
The decathlon finished up before the rest of the running events began on Friday afternoon. Sophomore Ryan Thomsen defended his title as one of the best multi athletes in the G-MAC. He won the decathlon with 6413 points, and senior teammate David Chase came in fifth with 5791 points.
Between the two the appeared in the top three spots 13 times. Thomsen took the top spots in long jump, the 400 meter dash, and pole vault, while Chase dominated the 100 meter dash and high jump.
Senior Jared Schipper took to the long jump pit to try to snag some extra points for his team. He improved on each attempt as he took fourth place with a personal best mark of 6.79 meters. Despite only getting two attempts in long jump, freshman John Baldwin still managed to take fifth with a mark of 6.79 meters as well. Baldwin competed with a tweaked hamstring this weekend, and in the middle of long jump, he had to run the 110 meter hurdle prelim race, where he pulled it again, taking him out of the competition. Thankfully, his earlier mark was enough to give his team a few extra points.
In Friday's final field event, freshman basketball player and high jumper, Peter Kalthoff, cleared a season best of 1.97 meters to take third place. Thomsen and Chase — not quite finished after their previous 10 events — also competed in high jump. Thomsen took sixth place with a mark of 1.92 meters, and Chase finished in a three-way tie for eighth, clearing 1.87 meters.
After a round of prelim races on the track, sophomore Mark Miller and junior Alex Oquist took the start line for the final of the 3,000 meter steeple chase. Both of them ran new personal records en route to their third and fifth place finishes. Miller had a strong second half, and an even stronger kick as he held off his competitor from Tiffin University. With a clean jump over the last barrier, he secured third place with a time of 9:21.07. Oquist improved his personal best by more than 20 seconds as he finished in 9:36.24.
The men's 4-by-100 meter relay kicked off the running events on Saturday. Senior Nathan Pando, freshman Jacob Schmidt, junior Ian Brown, and senior Levi Wyse placed third in a competitive race, with a time of 41.98 seconds.
Junior Joey Humes and sophomore Jack Shelley took the track next for the 1500 meter run. The top eight finishers finished within less than six seconds of each other, making for a tight race. Humes stayed in the middle of the pack for the first half of the race, then he took off with a lap to go, closing in 55.11 seconds to win the heat. Shelley finished eighth in 4:06.05.
With a quick turnaround, Brown ran the 110 meter hurdles. He had a strong start, clearing the first four hurdles with ease. He stayed steady for the rest of the race to finish fourth in 14.65 seconds.
In the 100 meter dash, freshman Jacob Schmidt finished sixth with a time of 10.95 seconds.
After running a big personal best time in the prelims of the 400 meter hurdles, junior David Downey came back on Saturday to take seventh place in 55.92 seconds. His time of 55.58 on Friday eclipsed his previous personal best by a second.
Senior Nathan Pando had the perfect end to a great career as a Charger. He broke his personal record in the 200 meter dash, taking fourth in 21.61 seconds. That beats his old record by two-tenths of a second.
Pando teamed up with Wyse, Schmidt, and Brown for an exciting 4-by-400 meter relay. Their team cam in fifth in 3:20.42, with a very close race to the finish.
After running the steeple chase on Friday night, Miller and Oquist came back for the 5,000 meter run. Miller ran a huge personal record to take third place, finishing in 14:48.18. He had a super strong kick down the homestretch to beat the fourth place finisher by a little more than a second. The top four finishers all broke the G-MAC record in the 5k.
Freshman Ben Raffin pole vaulted in the Biermann Center. He took got sixth with 4.85 meters. Senior Jared Schipper sprained his ankle going into his first attempt, leaving him unable to compete for a G-MAC title.
PHOTO: Todd Lancaster
WORDS: Calli Townsend