Eastern Mennonite University's track & field program made history on Saturday, hosting its first meet in 11 years at Bomberger Field. It was a small but exciting dual-meet, representative of EMU's small but dynamic track & field program. EMU alumni were invited to participate as well.
A senior recognition ceremony took place halfway through the meet. Seniors Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot), Tajah Miller (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro), Derrick Chirinos (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg), Ivan Harris (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania), Toni Doss (Damascus, Va./Holston) and Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) were recognized for their years of dedication to the EMU track program.
To start off competition, Justin Odom (Williamsburg, Va./Menchville) was the sole male participant in the hammer throw. He hit a mark of 25.78 meters.
In the women's hammer throw, Doss came in first with a mark of 35.63 meters. She was followed by teammates Cheyenne Suamataia-Teo (Stafford, Va./Mountain View) at 31.71 meters and Cor'shauna Cunningham (Strasburg, Va./Warren County) at 25.85 meters.
There was quite an EMU crowd in the long jump, led by Amoateng with his jump of 6.70 meters. Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) wasn't far behind with 6.68 meters. Freshman Eli Roeschley (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) jumped 6.34 meters while Wade Banks (Basye, Va./Stonewall Jackson) hit 6.01 meters.
Danielle Spears (Herndon, Va./South Lakes) hit a mark of 5.42 meters in the women's long jump.
Cunningham came in first in discus with a throw of 37.06 meters. She jumped two spots to No. 4 in EMU history with the effort. Suamataia-Teo earned second with 31.69 meters, and Doss came in fourth with her mark of 25.63 meters.
Howard won the high jump, clearing 1.83 meters. Banks got third with his jump of 1.73 meters, and Roeschley was fourth with 1.68 meters.
Michaela Chowning (Urbanna, Va./Middlesex) was the lone high jumper on the women's side. She cleared 1.58 meters.
Amoateng had a good day with the triple jump, reminding everyone why he's had multiple trips to Nationals in that event. He jumped 14.43 meters, just shy of the 14.47 which earned him 13th last May at Nationals. Roeschley also jumped, hitting a mark of 12.89 meters.
Spears competed in the triple jump as well, hitting 10.36 meters.
In the shot put competition, Cunningham came in first place. She threw 11.02 meters. Suamataia-Teo earned second with 10.93 meters, and Doss got fourth with 10.19 meters.
The 4x100 meter relay was the first event on the track, with the EMU women's relay as the only competing team. The members of the relay were Kiana Childress (Palmyra, Va./Fluvanna County), Ania Summers (Stevens City, Va./Sherando), Miller and Spears. They won! Their time was 52.26, the No. 7 time in EMU history.
Serrell led the way for the women, hitting a nine-second PR with her time of 19:01. This was an auspicious start to her busy day-Serrell ran four distance/middle distance events, an impressive fete.
Banks won the 110 hurdles by a hundredth of a second, earning a time of 16.49.
Soon enough the distance runners were back at it in the 1500. Allen came in third with 4:25, followed by Thornton in fourth (5:00).
Serrell led the way once again in the 1500, running 5:28. Emma Hoover (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh) came in second with her time of 6:07.
Coy Jimenez (Edinburg, Va./Central) and Harris had a race to the finish in the 400 meter dash. Jimenez came in first with 54.15, Harris second with 55.67.
Chowning won the women's 400 with her time of 1:00.80.
In the 100 meter dash, Alijah Johnson (Upper Marlboro, Md./Frederick Douglass) blazed through the finish with a PR of 11.12 seconds, earning first place.
Miller took second in the women's 100 meter dash with her time of 12.97, followed by Summers (13.59) and Childress (13.85).
Next on the track was the 800 meter run. Chirinos came in second with 2:08, while Johnson took a break from the sprints to run a PR of 2:10.
Serrell kept up her winning streak in the 800, running a time of 2:34. Good was close behind in 2:35, and Shelly rounded out the EMU sweep with 2:37.
Banks won the 400 hurdles with a PR of 59.74.
The 200 meter dash was the second to last event of the day. Harris came in third with his time of 24.76.
The EMU women took places two through five in the 200 meter dash. Summers was second with 28.61, followed by Chowning (28.66), Childress (28.70), and Spears (29.16).
The 4x400 meter relay wrapped up competition for the day. The EMU men's team, comprised of Allen, Chirinos, Thornton, and Jimenez, took first with their time of 3:46.
The EMU women's distance 4x400 was made up of Good, Shelly, Hoover, and Serrell. They took second in the much-anticipated race against the EMU alumni team of Brittany Williams, Michaela Mast, assistant coach Joanna Friesen and Hannah Chappell-Dick. The current Royals' time was 4:46.
A number of other alumni were at the meet, including recent Hall of Honor inductee Jeremy Webster who volunteered to run events.
"Today was all about honoring seniors and building community," said Head Coach Bob Hepler. "It was a day of smiles, laughter and good performances."
Serrell was grateful to have a home meet before she graduated.
"The morale was outstanding!" she said. "Our team pushed, the fans cheered, and the coaches brought a warm breakfast! I highly recommend home meets at least annually for years and years to come. It was so much fun!"
The Royals will send groups to two different meet this coming weekend in preparation of the ODAC Championships on April 19 and 20 in Lynchburg, Va.
-- by EMU Sports Information Writing Intern Elizabeth Nisly