Royals Pace Themselves At JMU Invitational

Freshman Isaac Alderfer has been EMU's top finisher in each of his races. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Freshman Isaac Alderfer has been EMU's top finisher in each of his races. (photo by Scott Eyre)

The Eastern Mennonite University cross country teams ran in their second meet of the season on Saturday, and the runners were up against some tough competition, with five D-I schools tossed in the mix.

The men ran first on this drippy, dreary, drizzly day - perfect for a race! The runners were coached to go out slower and get progressively faster throughout the 8K race.

Isaac Alderfer (Broadway, Va./Broadway) led the charge for EMU, coming through at 29:07 in 43rd place.

Next up was Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) in 59th place with a time of 30:36.

Third for EMU was veteran runner Derrick Chirinos (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) (31:28/59).

Freshman Charles Thornton (Hamilton, Va./Loudoun Valley) finished his first career 8K with a time of 33:07 and 76th place.

Rounding out the EMU pack was Collin Longenecker (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby), finishing his first race since an Achilles repair surgery last winter. He ran a 38:33 and claimed 87th place.

The men took eighth place overall.

Next up was the women's race. They ran an irregular distance of 5200 meters, also using the opportunity to progress throughout the race.

Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg), Abigail Shelly (Collinsville, Miss./West Lauderdale), and Elizabeth Nisly (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) ran in a pack through the first mile, Nisly and Serrell eventually pulling away to push each other through the grueling final miles.

Serrell finished first for EMU, blazing through the finish at 21:50 in 23rd place. She was closely followed by Nisly (21:54, 24th).

Shelly came in third for EMU, finishing strong at 22:22 in 31st place.

Next up was Emma Hoover (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh). She ran well with consistent splits throughout, earning 50th place and a time of 23:47.

Allison Shelly (Collinsville, Miss./West Lauderdale) (26:48, 66th) and Kellie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) (27:28, 69th) finished it up for EMU.

The women claimed sixth place as a team.

"This was the third most important workout of the week," Head Coach Bob Hepler said. "They had a very hard week, especially Tuesday, so the fact that anyone ran well at all is kind of a miracle."

EMU's coaching staff is using these early season meets to prepare the team for the later season races.

"If they all just remember that we're going to be ready to race on October 13 when we go to Gettysburg, then it was a very productive day," Coach Hepler declared.

Until then, the Royals will continue training. Their next race is a preview of the ODAC Championship course in Winchester, Va. on Saturday, Sept. 22.

-- by Elizabeth Nisly, Sports Information Writing Intern