Former Evart runner eyes strong junior season at Cornerstone

EVART — It’s two college years down and two to go for former Evart all-conference runner Grace Hamilton, who will be entering her junior season with Cornerstone this fall.

“It’s been going good,” Hamilton said after a recent Tuesday night open run with members of the Evart cross country team and the community. “I’ve been trying to qualify for the nationals and the marathon and I ran three half-marathons and came within a couple of minutes of qualifying.”

She’s running both cross country and track at Cornerstone.

“I had a big PR in the 3,000 meters,” Hamilton said of her sophomore season. “I ran 11:33 and also ran a couple of 10Ks. The 3K was indoor while the half-marathon and 10Ks were outdoors.”

Hamilton saw improvement from her freshman season “both in my speed and endurance. Like with my 3K time, you could tell my speed was improving.”

But she also showed improvement in her endurance.

Hamilton is staying as active as she can during the summer especially with other Evart runners.

“I’ve been running some 5Ks and have been with Mara (VanOrder) who is coming to run at Cornerstone next year,” Hamilton said.

“We’re training together and we’re excited.”

VanOrder, who was a former teammate of Hamilton at Evart, will do track only, at Cornerstone.

“I want to be under 20 minutes consistently for cross country,” Hamilton said. “I’ve only done it a couple of times here or there but want to do it consistently. I also want to qualify for nationals in the half marathon (outdoor).”

Cornerstone competes in the NAIA.

“Definitely this summer training is helping,” Hamilton said. “I have to stay injury free, and have a good attitude and push every day in practice. Things are going great.”

Evart’s cross country teams start practices on Aug. 10.