SEASON REVIEW: Royals Would Have Peaked In Outdoor Season

(photo by Scott Eyre)
(photo by Scott Eyre)

While every spring sport has been left with a what-could-have-been taste in their mouth, the EMU track & field program had their appetite whetted more than others did.

The young Royals team had just finished a successful indoor season when the COVID-19 pandemic shut things down. Both the men and the women were poised for a big outdoor campaign, with a handful of dual sport athletes joining for the spring season along with a few more existing athletes returning from injuries.

Building upon an indoor season where many of EMU's top performances came from athletes in their first year in collegiate training, the future was bright.

Sophomore Isaac Alderfer (Broadway, Va./Broadway) led the way, breaking EMU's indoor 800m record and forging a number of postseason awards. In his second season, Alijah Johnson (Upper Marlboro, Md./Frederick Douglass) was knocking on the door of program sprint records and just missed All-Region status. He and Alderfer were also part of a distance medley relay team that won All-ODAC and All-State honors.

Freshmen Tahira Bakare (Washington, DC/Archbishop Carroll) and Kendra Oguamena (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams) were already near the top of EMU's leaderboards in the sprints, while classmate Ashlyn Eby (Annandale, Va./St. Paul VI Catholic) was running similar efforts in the hurdles.

ODAC indoor finish: Men - 8th (20 points); Women - 8th (7 points)
ODAC outdoor finish: n/a
Coach:
 Bob Hepler (2nd season) – the Royals have earned six All-Region honors and three National Championships qualifiers during Hepler's tenure at EMU
Coach Hepler Comments:
I was pretty excited about our outdoor season for both the men and women. Our team was finally healthy and the athletes from the other sports were finally focused on track.

The women would have had a great balance of sprints, throws and distance lead by Kendra Oguamena, Tahira Bakare, Ashlyn Eby, Allison Shelly and Liz Miller. The addition of a healthy Cor'shauna Cunningham would have led to a strong team finish.

The men would have been even stronger as Alijah Johnson, Isaac Alderfer and Jamel Howard were poised to make Nationals. Oh, what could have been!

Awards:
Isaac Alderfer – All-S/SE Region Team Indoor 800m, VaSID All-State Second Team Indoor Middle Distance, All-ODAC Second Team 800m
Distance medley relay (Justice Allen, Alijah Johnson, Jansen Miller, Isaac Alderfer) – VaSID All-State Second Team, All-ODAC Second Team

ODAC Top 15:
Men
200m – Alijah Johnson (3rd, :22.62)
400m – Alijah Johnson (6th, :51.32)
800m – Isaac Alderfer (1st, 1:54.97), Jansen Miller (11th, 2:00.66)
Mile – Isaac Alderfer (5th, 4:26.20)
5000m – Justice Allen (14th, 16:15.60)
4x400m relay – Alijah Johnson, Jansen Miller Dawson Woodruff, Isaac Alderfer (9th, 3:42.95)
4x800m relay – Isaac Alderfer, Dawson Woodruff, Justice Allen, Jansen Miller (2nd, 8:20.23)
Distance medley relay – Justice Allen, Alijah Johnson, Jansen Miller, Isaac Alderfer (2nd, 10:37.32)
High jump: Caleb Wright (12th, 1.78m)
Long jump: Caleb Wright (15th, 6.00m)
Shot put: Justin Odom (13th, 12.70m)

Women
60m –
Tahira Bakare (6th, :8.12), Kendra Oguamena (11th, :8.22)
200m – Tahira Bakare (6th, :27.18), Kendra Oguamena (18th, :27.94)
60m hurdles – Ashlyn Eby (5th, :9.50)
4x400m relay – Jordan Jones, Jasmine Shelton, Aaliyah Lawhorne, Cindi Boyer (10th, 5:02.32)
Distance medley relay – Elizabeth Miller, Jordan Jones, Emma Hochstetler, Haley Corbin (7th, 15:08.26)
High jump: Jordan Jones (11th, 1.47m), Ashlyn Eby (15th, 1.40m)
Pole vault: Skylar Coffey (11th, 2.13m)
Shot put: Cor'shauna Cunningham (7th, 11.14m), Lene Andrawas (13th, 9.92m)