Despite chilly, wet and even snowy weather, EMU's track & field athletes had a great start to the outdoor season, participating in the W&L Carnival in Lexington, Va., on Friday and Saturday.
Head Track & Field Coach Brian Simpson said a number of his men and women gave standout performances.
"This was a very strong start to the season," he said. "Our goal this week was to successfully transition from indoor to outdoor track and we did that today."
The men had a large field of participants and ended up with three gold medal finishes.
Junior Connor Faint (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) made a huge splash in the 400m hurdles, winning the race in 53.34, nearly two seconds ahead of the nearest competitor. He is now No. 3 in EMU history. With his PR time, Faint stands in first place in the nation after the season's first week. To put the time into perspective, the effort would have been good enough for No. 18 in the nation last year. The top 20 went to nationals.
Nuriddin Abdus-Salaam (Charlotte Court House, Va./Randolph Henry) won the 100m dash in a time of 11.05. The PR time puts him No. 4 in EMU history and No. 18 in the nation. DeVantae Dews (Lynchburg, Va./E.C. Glass) was sixth at the meet in 11.47.
Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) took the final first place finish, winning the triple jump with the last of his six attempts at 14.24m (46ft-8.75in). It is the second-best jump in EMU history, coming behind Michael Allen's record of 14.85m (48ft-8.75in), and has Amoateng first in the ODAC so far this season. Darious Stover (Fort Carson, Colo./Mesa Ridge) landed at 12.34m (40ft-6.0in).
Amoateng added a third place finish in the long jump, twice landing at 6.51m (21ft-4.25in). Stover landed at 6.03m (19ft-9.5in).
Dews added a time of :23.49 in the 200m. In the 400m, Josh Bishop (Louisa, Va./Louisa County) won his heat and claimed seventh in :51.26.
Jared Nisly (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) was the top ODAC finisher in the 3000m steeplechase, taking sixth overall when he crossed in 10:11.67.
Junior Austin Hart (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) ran the 110m hurdles for the first time since high school, making a solid start at :15.99 to take fifth. Hart is transitioning to hurdles after a shoulder injury forced him out of the javelin, where he was ODAC Champion as a freshman.
The 4x100m relay team of Amoateng, Abdus-Salaam, Stover and Dews took third in :42.97.
After breaking EMU's 60m record during the indoor season, sophomore Tajah Miller (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) made a good run at the 100m record in her first effort of the outdoor season. She won the race at the Carnival with a time of :12.29, just :0.05 off her PR and :0.08 off of Lorenda Abbott's record of :12.21.
Brittany Williams (King George, Va./King George) ran a solid 1:02.20 in the 400m, taking fourth place overall.
In her first outdoor effort, Emily Hostetler (Marshallville, Ohio/Smithville) took a spot on EMU's Top 10 list, landing at No. 8 at 2.74m (8ft-11.75in).
Toni Doss (Damascus, Md./Holston) participated in each of the throwing events, finishing the highest in the shot put at 9.59m (31ft-5.75in).
Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Isaac Bryan, who focuses on the distance runners, said his men and women would be able to build on this weekend's successes.
"We had eight PRs in the 5k," explained Bryan, "and many of them had big breakthroughs. This should give them confidence to set new goals and strive for faster times."
The Eastern Mennonite teams will head to Lynchburg next weekend, at the two-day Dr. Jack Toms Open.