The Hillsdale College Chargers hosted the 53rd Annual Gina Relays this weekend. It was their largest meet yet with over 1600 athletes from more than 30 schools and running clubs.
Things kicked off on Thursday night with eight heats of the 5000 meter run. Sophomore Christina Sawyer and freshman Emma McCormick competed under the lights in Charger blue and both earned new personal best times. Sawyer finished in fifth in 17:30.42, and McCormick beat her previous best by nearly 30 seconds, as she crossed the line in 21:22.50.
As great gusts of winds swirled around the Ken Herrick track on Friday, the Chargers fought hard to earn a few of personal best times and marks.
They might've been out of sight in their secluded area behind the track, but the throwers threw for some impressive marks this weekend.
Senior Dana Newell won her signature event — hammer throw — with a provisional mark of 54.45 meters. Freshmen Nikita Maines and Michaela Burkhauser competed in the event as well, both breaking their own personal records. Maines threw for 43.55 meters, which eclipses her previous mark my nearly four meters, and Burkhauser threw for 41.11 meters. The two finished in 12th and 16th, respectively.
Burkahuser and Maines threw shot put, too. Maines earned a provisional mark of 13.75 meters to take fourth, and Burkhauser came in ninth with 12.77 meters.
To round out her busy weekend, Burkhauser finished strong in discus on Saturday. She earned a personal best and a provisional mark as she took second place overall in 44.89 meters.
The jump squad was split between the indoor and outdoor tracks as they competed on Friday and Saturday. While junior Dani Jones was long and triple jumping outdoors, the wind kept freshman Alexie Day and junior Alyssa Viola indoors with high jump and pole vault.
Jones was just shy of her personal record in long jump on Friday as she jumped 4.93 meters, but she found redemption on Saturday. She earned a new personal of 10.73 meters to take second place.
In the Biermann, Day high jumper 1.62 meters to tie for third on Friday, and on Saturday Viola cleared a season-best of 2.80 meters in pole vault.
Hillsdale filled the open heats of the 1500 meter run. Freshman Sophia Maeda led the charge as she finished 10th in 4:57.32. Fellow freshman Claire McNally came in 17th with a time of 5:00.67. Sophomore Megan Poole, freshman Amber Mango, and junior Kate Vanderstelt came in within exactly a second of each other. Poole finished in 5:04.57, Mango in 5:04.74, and Vanderstelt in 5:05.57. Junior Addison Rauch ran as well, finishing in 5:11.96.
Junior Abbie Porter had a strong race against an even strong wind in the 800 meter run. With some good competition to encourage her along, she finished fourth in 2:13.02.
Senior Ally Eads ran under the lights in the championship heat of the 1500 meter run. She raced against many elite racers led by Hillsdale alumna Emily Oren. Thanks to a strong finish by Eads and great completion, she earned a new personal record and provisional time of 4:33.77 en route to 10th place.
As the wind died down and sun fully set, it was about nine o'clock by the time sophomore Maryssa Depies rounded out the night for the Chargers in the championship heat of the 5000 meter run. She came in 15th overall in 17:17.96.
Only a few events remained for the Chargers on Saturday. Freshman Emma Shea competed in javelin with a near-season-best mark of 30.64 meters. She took seventh overall.
The final event of the afternoon, freshman Alanna O'Leary, Boehm, Porter, and Townsend teamed up for the 4-by-400 meter relay. They finished second overall with a season-best time of 3:54.38.
Less than a week remains before the start of the G-MAC Outdoor Track Championships, which will be hosted on Hillsdale's own track. The Chargers will spend their week tuning up for peak performance next weekend.
PHOTO: Todd Lancaster
WORDS: Calli Townsend