Despite putting up with some of Hurricane Sandy's first rain showers before the race, the EMU cross country men ended up with some nice running conditions at Saturday's ODAC Championships. Each of the seven Royals runners improved their time from the ODAC Preview Meet on the same course, with the team finishing in sixth.
Eastern Mennonite, which was picked seventh in the ODAC's Preseason Poll, finished one spot ahead of their prediction. But the men also were in a tight pack of four teams and finished a mere 12 points out of third place. EMU totaled 146 points, just behind third place Roanoke at 134. Guilford had 136 followed by Washington and Lee at 137.
Junior Dan Nafziger (Harrisonburg, VA/Harrisonburg) claimed a spot on the All-ODAC First Team with his sixth-place finish in 26:55.07. He took 1:10 off his ODAC Preview time. He finished near the front of the second cluster of runners to cross the finish line. Cody Stanton of Lynchburg won the individual gold with a time of 26:16.11.
Carlos Orellana (Grottoes, VA/Spotswood) returned from an injury and impressively took 18th out of 102 runners in 28:07.83. It was Orellana's first time racing since Sept. 8. Robert Ketcher (Bunch, OK/Sequoyah) sliced a whopping 5:31 off his ODAC Preview time, taking 40th overall in 29:46.23.
Coming in 47th was sophomore Jesse Parker (Wichita, KS/Wichita East) in 30:12.26. Patrick Graber (Dayton, VA/Benjamin Logan) also took more than five minutes of his previous time on the Peak View Course, grabbing 58th in 30:57.03.
After the strong individual finishes for the men, they have two weeks to prepare for the South/Southeast Regional, which is Nov. 10 in Emory, GA.