Royals Open Season With Solid Efforts In Salem

Senior Austin Hart is aiming for All-ODAC status in the 60m hurdles this year. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Senior Austin Hart is aiming for All-ODAC status in the 60m hurdles this year. (photo by Scott Eyre)

EMU's track & field athletes had a successful start to the 2017-18 indoor season Friday and Saturday, participating in the Bast-Cregger Invitational hosted by Roanoke College in Salem, Va.

The Royals men and women had a solid mix of PRs from returners, good debuts from freshmen, along with a win from a relay team.

Freshman Jordan Short (Madison Heights, Va./Amherst County) had a great start in the 200m. He won his heat and took second overall in a field of 48 runners with a time of :23.29. The Royals earned three of the top seven times in the race, with all three men punching an ODAC-qualifying time. Connor Faint (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) also won his heat and took fifth overall with a PR of :23.42, while another freshman, Christian Gilliam (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis), was seventh in :23.51.

The trio repeated their ODAC-noted efforts in the 400m, this time led by Faint. The senior placed third overall with a time of :50.56. Short came in 10th out of 33 at :52.31, while Gilliam was at 13th in :52.71.

Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) was the top D-III finisher in the long jump, sticking an attempt of 6.92m (22-8.5ft) on his final of six jumps. He was also the top D-III leaper in the triple jump, hitting the sand at 13.86m (45-5.75ft). He was third overall in both events.

In the 60m dash, Amoateng was EMU's top finisher with a time of :7.35. TyJuan Nelson (Charlotte, N.C./Rocky River) came in at :7.53.

Senior Austin Hart (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) started well in the 60m hurdles. In the preliminaries, Hart crossed the line in :8.97 seconds. He finished a bit slower in the finals at :9.12, but moved up a spot to seven place.

Freshman Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) took fourth overall in the mile, planting a finish at 4:51.40. He was also 12th of 29 in the 5000m, coming in with a time of 16:36.52.

Bahman Shahi (Kabul, Afghanistan/Kabul University) ran in a pair of events in his first track meet. The graduate student timed at :41.03 in the 300m and 2:27.53 in the 800m.

The 4x400m relay team took fourth place out of 10 squads. Gilliam, Short, Isaiah Sheppard Ewell (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) and Faint combined for a time of 3:33.50, finishing a second ahead of a team from D-I Winthrop.

The women's 4x400m relay team also had a good effort, taking fourth out of eight teams. The foursome of Brittany Williams (King George, Va./King George), Anna Cahill (Staunton, Va./Buffalo Gap), Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) and Chelsea Brubaker (Akron, Pa./Ephrata) were the top D-III team with a time of 4:28.22.

The distance medley relay team was a step better, winning the gold on Friday. Michaela Mast (Broadway, Va./Eastern Mennonite), Williams, Serrell and Elizabeth Nisly (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) won by more than 12 seconds with a combined time of 13:22.49.

Mast carried over her strong season from cross country, starting out her first track campaign with a silver in the 3000m. The senior ran in the top heat and finished second overall with a time of 10:41.53.

Brubaker was EMU's top women's finisher in the 400m, coming in seventh at 1:05.45.

Serrell took second in the 1000m, coming in only behind a D-I runner with a time of 3:17.80.

Emma Hoover (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh) was 10th in the 5000m at 21:54.07.

In the pole vault, Emily Hostetler (Marshallville, Ohio/Smithville) and Rachel Sturm (Denton, Md./North Caroline) each had a top height of 2.65m (8-8.25ft). Based on jumps, Hostetler took seventh overall with her indoor PR while Sturm was ninth, just missing her PR.

Toni Doss (Damascus, Md./Holston) had a best heave of 9.41m (30-10.5ft) in the shot put. She was 15th out of 35 competitors. In the weight throw, Doss landed at 7.69m (25-2.75ft).

With exams and the end of the semester on the horizon, the Royals take a break before returning to action in Salem at the Finn Pincus Invitation on Jan. 26 and 27.