Hillsdale Day 1: NCAA Track & Field Championships
Provided by Hillsdale
Dusk brought threatening, dark gray clouds over the GVSU Track & Field Stadium Thursday night, and as the sun set on the first day of the NCAA Division II Championships, so too did the career of one of Hillsdale College's finest.
Senior Joshua Mirth wrapped up a distinguished career on the track, competing in the 10,000 meter run, the final event of the first day of the three-day national championship meet, hosted by Grand Valley State.
Mirth labored through the race, but hung with the lead pack for a great majority of track's longest race. He finished 16th overall with a time of 31:00.93.
A four-time GLIAC champion and two-time All-American, Mirth also stood out in the classroom, completing his college career with an overall grade point average above 3.8, making him stand out as one of the top student-athletes over the course of his career with the Chargers. His consistent excellence and quiet, but confident style, will be missed by the program.
Earlier in the day Thursday, sophomore Dana Newell competed at the NCAA level for the first time in her career. She finished 15th out of 21 competitors in the hammer throw, her best mark registering at 53.17 meters, which translates to 174 feet, 5 inches. Newell set the school record in the event (55.93 meters) at a last-chance meet, allowing her to qualify for the national championships.
All four Chargers who competed in prelims Thursday successfully qualified for the finals in their respective events.
Junior Emily Oren and sophomore Molly Oren will be seeded second and third, respectively, in the 3000 meter steeplechase final Friday night. Emily cruised to a win in her heat with a time of 10:30, while Molly placed second in her heat at 10:27. Emily entered the NCAAs as the number one seed in both the steeplechase and the 5000 meter run.
Senior Maurice Jones and junior Corinne Zehner were both placed in lane 8 in the 400 meter hurdler prelims, but that unfortunate luck of the draw wasn't enough to prevent them from qualifying for the national championship race.
Jones ran a 52.49 in the prelim race, the fourth-best time recorded on the night. The top nine in each hurdle event advanced to the final.
Zehner, also running in the outside lane, still finished in a second-place tie in her heat of the 400 hurdles with a mark of 1:00.73. Her time was the seventh-best overall among the prelim heats, and she will take her crack at a first-ever individual All-American honor Saturday in her speciality race.