Hillsdale College Women - History Made, Excellence Achieved
Provided by Hillsdale
The Charger women's cross country team made history on a soggy Saturday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky.
The 2014 edition of this special program took its place in school history by finishing in second place at the NCAA Division II Women's Cross Country Championships, held as part of the Fall Festival hosted by Bellarmine University.
That finish allows this team to take its place as the highest-finishing program in Hillsdale College's Division II athletic history. The 2011 Hillsdale College volleyball team advanced to the national semifinals, and finished in that season's national poll ranked No. 5.
GLIAC rival Grand Valley State won the national championship for the third consecutive year, finishing with 50 points. Hillsdale's extraordinary second-place finish was possible with 115 points. Minnesota-Duluth took third with 118, followed by Adams State at fourth with 125.
Powering the best NCAA Division II finish by any program in Hillsdale College history was a set of underclassmen. All five of Hillsdale's top runners at the national meet will return in 2015. The runners' incredible performance, made for a very emotional coach Andrew Towne after the meet.
"A tremendous effort, just unbelievable," Towne, in his fourth year leading the program, said. "It really starts all the way back to the tradition we built with coach (Bill) Lundberg, with what he put in place here. We had some great seniors who bought in from day one. We set the goal that we wanted to become a podium team, a consistent podium team, and to go from 13th in your own region to top-four in the nation, I don't know that anyone has done it as fast as we have."
Junior Emily Oren has been the lead runner for the Chargers through much of this season, but on national championship day, it was junior Kristina Galat who stood on center stage. She ran the race of her life, finishing 5th overall with a time of 21:26.1. Galat's finish was the highest individual finish for any Charger woman at the NCAA Division II national cross country meet.
Emily Oren wasn't far behind, finishing in 9th place, logging a time of 21:34 on the course that was so wet, it was cut short by meet officials prior to the race.
Emily's sister Molly, a sophomore, also stepped up on the sport's biggest stage, putting together her finest race, taking 18th overall with a time of 21:50.
More history was still to come from this Charger team. Hannah McIntyre placed 19th overall at 21:50.7, becoming the first freshman NCAA Division II All-American in Hillsdale College history.
All of the aforementioned runners earned All-American status, another first for the program. The last time the women's cross country team produced multiple All-Americans in the same year was 1997.
Junior Kate Royer rounded out Hillsdale's scorers in the meet, taking 64th with a time of 22:40.5.
In addition, none of the top five runners in the Charger lineup will graduate. National champ Grand Valley State had two seniors among its top four runners.