Track Teams Look Good In Final ODAC Preparations

Alijah Johnson grabbed two golds in preparation for his first ODAC Championships. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Alijah Johnson grabbed two golds in preparation for his first ODAC Championships. (photo by Scott Eyre)

Eastern Mennonite track and field took a trip to Maryland for the Larry Sharpe Memorial Invitation hosted by Hagerstown Community College. EMU's small crew made a strong showing, with five gold finishes and an EMU sweep of the 55 meter dash.

In an early-day highlight, EMU's men took four of the six lanes in the 55 meter final. Alijah Johnson (Upper Marlboro, Md./Frederick Douglass) (6.68), Coy Jimenez (Edinburg, Va./ Central) (6.74) and Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) (6.84) swept the top three places, while Eli Roeschley (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) took 6th in 6.98.

"I was really happy with the sprinters especially today," said Head Coach Bob Hepler. "Alijah won a couple of events - the 55 sprint and the 200 - which is great for a freshman, and Coy was right behind him in both races so that was really great to see some success from them, they've been working so hard." 

The women's 3000 meter run was EMU's first event. Elizabeth Nisly (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) took first, maintaining an easy lead for the duration of the 15-lap race. Her time was 11:45.

Charles Thornton (Hamilton, Va. Loudoun Valley) ran in the men's 3K, taking second with 11:00.

Ivan Harris (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) took 6th in the 300 meter dash with a time of 40.86.

Ania Summers (Stevens City, Va./Sherando) represented EMU women's sprints in the 55 meter dash. She ran 8.03 and earned third place.

Wade Banks (Basye, Va./Stonewall Jackson) took 4th in the 55 meter hurdles with his time of 8.91.

Nisly and Thornton did a double feature, each racing in the mile just over an hour after their 3K race. Nisly took first in the women's race with 6:06; Thornton earned 5th in the men's with his time of 5:30.

Summers ran the 200 meter dash, earning a time of 31.60.

Johnson and Jimenez had another 1-2 finish in the 200, mere hundredths of a second apart. Johnson was first with 23.33, Jimenez second with 23.35. Harris took 9th with his time of 25.93.

Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) took part in EMU's last running event of the day, the 800 meter dash. She earned second place with her strong finish of 2:30.

EMU also had a lot of activity on the field event side.

Banks started out the day with pole vault. He cleared 2.43m (8' 0") to claim 6th place.In shot put, Justin Odom (Williamsburg, Va./Menchville) (10.91m, 35' 9.5") and Banks (10.13m, 33' 3") came in 7th and 8th, respectively.

Toni Doss (Damascus, Va./Holston) heaved her shot 9.72m (31' 10.75") to claim 2nd place.

Banks had a busy day; he also competed in the high jump, coming in first with his jump of 1.82m (6' 0").

"I don't really like having Sunday meets," Coach Hepler said, "but it turned out okay. It was a really fun day."

Earlier in the weekend, Amoateng matched up with some D-I competition at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational hosted by Boston University. Amoateng landed his second-best triple jump of the season at 14.01m (45' 11.75"). The senior sits No. 17 in the nation with his season best mark of 14.14m (46' 4.75") from earlier in the season.

Next up for EMU track is the final regular meet of the indoor season, the ODAC Championships on Sunday, Feb. 24, hosted by Roanoke College.

--- by Elizabeth Nisly, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern