Hokum Karem starts off 2017-18 home athletic slate

Anderson University, Trine University and the University of St. Francis of Fort Wayne, Ind., join Manchester University for its annual season-opening event Friday, Sept. 1.

Meet details: The annual Hokum Karem starts at 5 p.m. behind the university’s Physical Education and Recreation Center … 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: Fresh off alumni meet races Aug. 26, Coach Geoff Lambert’s squads officially raise the curtain on 2017. The Spartans’ third-year head coach will tell you first hand while 2016, especially what transpired at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships, was a season to remember, everything is new starting Friday. “It comes down to what our captains, the elected team leaders, can do to make everyone accountable and buy in to what we want to do (as a program),” he said. “Last year is over … we’ve celebrated the successes … it’s time to move forward. (Both teams) have to find a new identity. The quicker this happens, the quicker we’ll be able to address the goals we’ve set.” … Despite that new feeling to both teams, preseason favorite and runner-up status greeted the Spartans with the release of the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Athletic preseason coaches’ poll, released Wednesday, Aug. 23. “It’s a great situation recognizing the history (of each program),” Lambert said. “We’re thrilled to have this recognition. However, we are focused on controlling the things we can control … Trying to become the best program we can become on a day-to-day basis. If we do this, it will be a successful season.” MU’s two-time defending women’s team, featuring sophomore Runners to Watch Hannah Wappes (Columbia City, Ind.) and Emily Ewen (Wolcott, Ind.), registered 98 points and eight first place votes. They were 15 points and six first-place votes clear of projected runner-up Bluffton University. The Black and Gold men’s team earned 85 points and one first-place vote, trailing only preseason pick Rose-Hulman (98 points/eight first-place votes). Senior Blake Harris (Fort Wayne, Ind.) was the squad’s designee on the Runners to Watch section. Harris and Wappes also added team preseason honors joining junior Samina Qureshi (Columbia City, Ind.) and sophomore Daniel Baker (Okemos, Mich.) in gaining team captain spots this year … The Black and Gold women’s program has captured three successive titles, while the men look to return to the top spot at the Hokum Karem for the first time since tying Trine in 2014.

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