The Hillsdale College women's track team might have had a significantly smaller squad this year, but that didn't stop them from having exceptional performances at the 2019 G-MAC Championships. The Chargers placed third with 147 points. Sophomore Kajsa Johansson broke the Hillsdale College and the G-MAC records in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes, which earned her the Female Track Athlete of the Meet title.
It all began on Thursday night with the 10,000 meter run. Junior Arena Lewis and freshman Sophia Maeda ran a tough race, but they still managed to smile as they passed by their cheering teammates. The two finished second and eighth, respectively. Lewis beat her previous record by 45 seconds, finishing in 36:58.71. This was Maeda's first time running a 10k on the track, and she finished strong, striking a pose as she crossed the finish line in 38:32.61.
The Chargers had a great showing in Friday's field events. Junior Dani Jones set a big new personal record in long jump to take sixth. She earned a mark of 5.20 meters, which beats her previous best by more than 20 centimeters.
Freshman Emma Shea earned a new personal record in javelin as well. With a previous record of 31.91 meters, Shea threw for 32.53 meters en route to finishing fifth in her first G-MAC Outdoor Track Championship. And in the hammer throw, senior Dana Newell came in second as she threw for 53.80 meters.
Junior pole vaulters Kathryn Bassette and Alyssa Viola also snagged several points for Hillsdale. Bassette tied for third as she cleared 3.45 meters, and Viola had a season-best of 2.85 meters as she took eighth.
Back on the track for the final of the 3,000 meter steeple chase, senior Ally Eads proved her dominance as a steeplechaser. By the fifth lap, she had created plenty of space between her and her competitor from Walsh. Eads was unrelenting as she kept her steady — yet speedy — pace, finishing the second half of the race alone and still managing a personal best time of 10:25.82. Junior Kate Vanderstelt finished in fourth place in the event with a big 10-second improvement to her personal best time as well. She ran a strong race and was smooth over the barriers as she finished in 11:40.65.
Each one of the Chargers made it out of their prelim races for a chance to compete in the finals on Saturday.
On the track, freshman Amber Mango and sophomore Megan Poole got things started with the 1500 meter run. These teammates pushed each other to finish sixth and seventh place, both earning new personal records along the way. Poole came in sixth with at time of 4:53.11, and Mango nearly matched Poole's stride up the homestretch, as she finished in 4:53.17.
Johansson had a pair of unbelievable performances. She floated effortlessly to the finish in the 100 meter dash, crossing the line in 11.67 seconds, beating the second place runner by nearly a half second. Her performance of 23.76 in the 200 meter dash not only won the G-MAC title, but also ranks her fourth in NCAA Division II.
Freshman Alanna O'Leary ran the 200 meter dash as well, snagging fifth place with a personal best time of 25.53 seconds.
Junior Abbie Porter defended her outdoor track 800 meter run title. She led for the majority of the race, but the second and third place runners employed a sit-and-kick method as they tried to out sprint Porter to the finish. Determined and strong, Porter held them off to finish in 2:11.36.
In the 400 meter hurdles, sophomore Calli Townsend and freshman Melanie Boehm earned second and fourth, respectively. Townsend ran a lifetime personal best of 1:02.37, which eclipses her old record by a second. Boehm ran a big season-best time of 1:03.36.
As sophomore Maryssa Depies took to the bell lap of the 5,000 meter run, she was tied for first with a runner from Walsh. Depies started to pull away, and then she sprinted up the home stretch that was lined with cheering fans and teammates, and she won the race by three seconds. Her winning time of 17:04.52 is a personal record by more than 10 seconds, and also meets the NCAA Division II provisional mark.
The 5k wasn't over once Depies crossed the line, however. Freshman Claire McNally was showing the G-MAC what she was made of, as she had an incredible finish up the home stretch as well, en route to a fifth place finish. She broke the 18-minute barrier with a personal best time of 17:50.27.
The 4-by-400 meter relay came down to the wire as the Chargers ran their season-best time. Boehm, Porter, O'Leary, and Townsend passed the baton around for a first-place finish of 3:51.14.
In the field, freshman Alexie Day was in a three-way tie for third place in high jump. She cleared 1.62 meters, which ties her season best.
Freshmen Nikita Maines and Michaela Burkhauser both scored in shot put. Maines took second with an NCAA Division II provisional and personal best mark of 14.50 meters. Burkhauser earned a personal record as well, as she threw for 13.43 meters to take sixth. She also threw discus, taking third place with a throw of 44.10 meters.
Coming off a personal best performance in the long jump on Friday, Jones came back to tie her personal best in the triple jump. She took fifth place with a mark of 10.73 meters.
PHOTO: Maddie Clark
WORDS: Calli Townsend