Cross Country Runners Knock Down PRs In Ohio

(l-r) Emma Hoover and Elizabeth Miller each earned a PR in their home state. (photo by Scott Eyre)
(l-r) Emma Hoover and Elizabeth Miller each earned a PR in their home state. (photo by Scott Eyre)

The Eastern Mennonite University cross country teams made the long trip to Cedarville, Ohio, this weekend and were greeted by a meet chock full of D-I and D-II runners.

The Royals gave a good showing in the big field, with 16 of the 21 men and women earning their personal records.

Senior Abigail Shelly (Collinsville, Miss./West Lauderdale) made a huge improvement over her previous best in the women's 5k, finishing in 19:59.1, a full 1:17 improvement. She finished 47th out of 116 runners.

On the men's side, sophomore Isaac Alderfer (Broadway, Va./Broadway) was again the EMU leader, bumping his PR in 27:24.6. He was 35th out of 114 men. Freshman Clay Kauffman (Broadway, Va./Broadway) was just four spots back in 27:38.2.

After three straight weekends with a race, the EMU men and women get a break next weekend. They return to the course on Saturday, Sept. 28, for the Hornet Harrier in Winchester, Va.

Friendship Invitational – 8k
EMU Men:
7th place of 10 teams (179 points)
Top Finisher: Isaac Alderfer – 35th (27:24.6-PR)
Scoring Team: Clay Kauffman – 39th (27:38.2-PR), Nathan Yoder – 64th (28:45.1-PR); Jansen Miller – 65th (28:55.2-PR); Justice Allen – 69th (29:07.4); Collin Longenecker – 71st (29:12.2); Charlie Thornton – 76th (29:52.4-PR)
Others: Andrew Nord – 83rd (30:57.6-PR);  Caleb Hostetler – 88th (31:27.8-PR); Isaac Andreas – 89th (31:28.5); Meckias Abera – 90th (31:38.0-PR); Thomas Guadalupe-Johnson – 92nd (32:03.8-PR); Seth Andreas – 94th (33:01.5-PR); Zach Munoz – 96th (33:52.0-PR)

Friendship Invitational – 5k
EMU Women:
9th place of 11 teams (234 points)
Top Finisher: Abigail Shelly – 47th (19:59.1-PR)
Scoring Team: Allison Shelly – 73rd (20:59.8-PR); Elizabeth Miller – 74th (21:00.4-PR); Megan Good – 85th (21:50.2); Emma Hoover – 95th (22:40.0-PR); Elizabeth Nisly – 99th (23:32.6); Savannah Bontrager – 103rd (24:49.4-PR)

Coach Bob Hepler said:
The cross country team's trip to Cedarville University will go down as one of my favorite experiences in my many years of coaching. The athletes represented EMU well in every possible way. They ran well against a field of mostly D-I & D-II teams, they had fun, and they showed themselves to be a very high quality group of people. I am very proud of them.

Despite much sickness throughout the team, there were many PRs. The young men's team continued their surprisingly quick development. Isaac Alderfer, Clay "the Broadway Bullet" Kauffman and many others had solid PRs in the season's first 8k. Normally a freshman's first 8k is a complete disaster, but all seven of them performed magnificently!

The women somehow did well despite most of them being sick at some point in the last two weeks. The Shelly sisters, Abigail and Allison, just get better each week, as does Liz Miller. I could name each person on the team and speak of their race in glowing terms.