Eastern Mennonite track & field was close to home this Saturday, competing at the Doc Jopson Invitational hosted by Bridgewater College.
The Royals had a good day, bringing home four top finishes. Cor'shauna Cunningham (Strasburg, Va./Warren County) doubled in the shot put and discus, winning both, while Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) won the 800 meter run by over 10 seconds. Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) took first in the triple jump in his first outing of the spring.
Field events started out the day. Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) took second in the high jump, clearing 1.91m. Wade Banks (Basye, Va./Stonewall Jackson) jumped as well, earning seventh with his jump of 1.81m.
Michaela Chowning (Urbanna, Va./MIddlesex) earned second in the high jump as well, with her leap of 1.59m.
Amoateng had a solid win the triple jump, landing his best at 14.07m. He then went 6.80m in the long jump to claim third place. Freshman Eli Roeschley (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) was fifth in the triple jump at 12.81m.
Cunningham excelled in her throws, hitting a mark of 11.93m in the shot and 36.09m in the discus to sweep both events. Sophomore Cheyenne Suamataia-Teo (Stafford, Va./Mountain View) was third in the discus at 30.31m as well as the shot put at 10.52m. Toni Doss (Damascus, Va./Holston) also threw well, heaving 10.21m (fifth) in the shot put and 26.41m (sixth) in the discus. She was fourth in the hammer throw at 31.11m.
Justin Odom (Williamsburg, Va./Menchville) threw the shot and discus as well, hitting marks of 11.46m (eight) and 28.21m (ninth). He was eighth in the hammer throw at 23.97m.
EMU was well-represented in the 1500 meter run, with three runners in both the men's and women's races.
Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) took second place with a PR of 4:17. Derrick Chirinos (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) also PRed, coming in fourth with his time of 4:24. Charles Thornton (Hamilton, Va./Loudoun Valley) rounded out the pack with his seventh place finish and time of 4:49.
On the women's side, Serrell led the way taking third with her PR of 5:03. She was closely followed by Abigail Shelly (Collinsville, Miss./West Lauderdale) (fourth, 5:13) and Megan Good (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) (sixth, 5:13).
Speeding things up, Amoateng took sixth place in the 100 meter dash with his time of 11.46.
Ania Summers (Stevens City, Va./Sherando) and Miller also sped their way to the finals, earning seventh (13.48) and eighth (13.54), respectively.
For Head Coach Bob Hepler, Alijah Johnson's (Upper Marlboro, Md./Frederick Douglass) 400 meter race was the highlight of the day. Johnson ran a PR to come in third of the 16 competitors. His time was 50.17, a birthday present to himself.
Banks and Ivan Harris (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) also competed in the 400 meter race, earning times of 54.40 and 55.78.
The distance crew made a second appearance in the 800 meter run. Chirinos and Allen ran 2:06 and 2:08.
EMU women swept the 800. Serrell won with her time of 2:27, followed by Good in 2:38 and second place, and Shelly in 2:40 and third.
Johnson ran again in the 200 meter dash, earning sixth place with his time of 22.36.
"Today was a very good day," said Coach Hepler. "I think the highlight was Alijah in the 400, but Cor'shauna won the shot put and the discus and did great, Laurie won the 800 and PRed in the 1500 as well and there were some other good PRs from the distance people."
Associate Coach Erick Camodeca was proud of his athletes.
"I think the big thing was that it was a tough week for the sprinters and jumpers physically, so I think everyone, the way they all performed was awesome."
He was also glad that the EMU community took advantage of the closeness of the meet.
"Just the amount of support we got from the EMU community coming out today, it was really really great to see that."
Coach Hepler is excited to carry this momentum into next week.
"We have our home meet coming up on Friday," he said. "We're going to honor some seniors and hopefully run some good times as we prepare for ODACs."
This will be EMU's first home meet in recent memory. The community is invited and encouraged to come out and show their support. It is also a Rowdy Royals event, with other Royals student-athletes joining in the stands.
-- by Elizabeth Nisly, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern