Manchester University's annual Hokum Karem welcomes Grace College; Huntington University; and St. Francis University to the North Manchester campus Friday, August 31.
Competition begins at 5 p.m. with races set in men's and women's sections. Women's runners will alternate one-mile loops for a total of six miles (each woman will run three miles total). Men's runners will alternate one-mile loops for a total of eight miles (each man will run four miles total).
Spartan Shorts: Manchester University's men received 67 points and were picked for fourth, while the Spartans' women's program was tabbed the pre-season Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference favorite with the release of the preseason coaches polls Tuesday, Aug. 28. The top four on the women's listing couldn't have been much closer, as the Spartans received 90 points and four first-place votes; Rose-Hulman picked up 85 points and two first-place votes; Bluffton University stood third with 81 points and one first-place vote; and Earlham College was fourth with 80 points and three first-place marks. The men's ranking saw defending champion Rose-Hulman garner 100 points and ten first-place spots to be the odds-on favorite. The Black and Gold placed the women's trio of senior Samina Qureshi (Columbia City, Ind.) and juniors Emily Ewen (Wolcott, Ind.) and Hannah Wappes (Columbia City, Ind.) on the Runners to Watch section … Head coach Geoff Lambert figures the outcome of the 2018 campaign may come down to one thing. Put just; it's understanding the message. "It's always the same," he admitted. "Success is not inherited. You have to work hard consistently. [Both teams] did that in the spring, but we each need to see if that continued during the summer. If the right choices weren't made then, it doesn't mean much. We're all excited about [the beginning of a new year]." Critical names for the men's program that was among the league top five and region's first 25 include junior Daniel Baker (Okemos, Mich.) who enters as a two-year captain along with fellow junior Cameron Kimmell (Michigantown, Ind.) and sophomore Lucas Fontanez (Lowell, Ind.) who join Baker for a tri-captain leadership model. Kimmell has shown signs of positivity, as he was in the first 30 of his initial collegiate competition in 2016, while Fontanez rolled out top 30s at the Indiana Little State and the conference championships. "This group is hungry," Lambert pointed out. "It's been nice to see them make progressions at virtually every turn, especially in the spring. I am excited to see how the spring translated to work over the summer and if they were able to hold each other accountable to the standards that were set forth earlier in the year." MU's women's team was edged for another league title by just four points on its home course last fall, adding to a resume that included being in the top 20 at regionals and among the best ten at the Indiana Little State event. They feature tri-captains, too, in the form of Ewen, Qureshi, and Wappes. Qureshi, a two-time captain, was all-HCAC, placing fifth; Ewen has been all-conference twice with back-to-back top 10 marks; and Wappes is also two-time all-HCAC, placing third as a freshman and runner-up as a sophomore. She also has all-region accolades on her resume, placing 26th a year ago. "There is some great leadership there with the experience [the women's program] has back," Lambert indicated. "I hope they were able to hold each other accountable this summer and are ready to work towards what they want to accomplish this fall."
Looking Ahead: MU is back in action Friday, Sept. 14, at the Indiana Intercollegiate Championships' Little State event.