Eastern Mennonite's track and field teams finished up the main part of their season this weekend, participating in the ODAC Championships in Lynchburg, Va. The men and the women each took home a pair of individual winners, while an EMU record and meet record were also toppled.
A small handful of Royals athletes will continue training in an effort to qualify for the NCAA National Championships in late May. Their next meet is the Liberty Twilight, set for Wednesday, May 4.
Senior Hannah Chappell-Dick (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) defended her titles in the middle distances, winning the 800m and 1500m for the third straight year.
The All-American easily cleared the field in the 800m, breaking her own meet record by nearly two full seconds. Chappell-Dick crossed the finish in 2:11.80, ahead of her ODAC Championships record of 2:13.64 from last spring. The second-place runner this year timed at 2:14.15. She also won the 1500m by taking over in the final 100m. Chappell-Dick ran with two Washington and Lee women most of the race but bolted to a big lead rounding the final corner before coasting to a final of 4:46.17.
Juni Schirch (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) ran her best 800m time in two years, taking seventh place in 2:26.51.
Senior Becca Borg (Gig Harbor, Wash./Peninsula) finished with a bang in the discus, landing a top throw of 35.49m (116-5ft) to break her previous best by 3.19m. The senior moved up to No. 7 all-time in EMU history, but more importantly took second place at the meet for All-ODAC Second Team status.
Freshman Tajah Miller (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) had a great effort in the sprints. She was second in the 100m dash after Friday's preliminaries before coming in third in the finals at 12.58 seconds. Miller earned an All-ODAC Third Team honor with the finish. She also earned points in the 200m dash, taking sixth place in 26.42 seconds.
The 4x100m relay team broke the school record. The foursome of Makora Nyagwegwe (East Norriton, Pa./Christopher Dock), Miller, Oksana Kittrell (Bedford, Va./Liberty) and Chappell-Dick crossed in 50.37 seconds to break the 13-year-old record of 50.42. They took fifth at the meet. Then in the 4x400m relay, Brittany Williams (King George, Va./King George), Miller, Chappell-Dick and Schirch nearly broke the EMU record, crossing in 4:04.93. They just missed last year's record of 4:04.41, and took fourth at the meet.
Kittrell grabbed individual points in the triple jump, putting together 10.67m (35-0.25ft) to finish fifth.
In the 3000m steeplechase, Mary Eldridge (Gig Harbor, Wash./Peninsula) roasted her PR to take sixth place in 12:22.88. The sophomore beat her previous best by nearly 26 seconds.
Rachel Sturm (Denton, Md./North Caroline) took sixth in the pole vault, clearing 2.64m.
Feeling the weight of a few injuries, the women's team total came in at 58 points to finish in seventh place out of nine teams. Lynchburg was just a single point ahead of EMU while Virginia Wesleyan stood fifth at 66.
Eastern Mennonite swept the ODAC's academic awards, as Tyler Denlinger and Hannah Chappell-Dick each repeated awards as ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Scholar-Athletes. For Denlinger, this is the junior's third Scholar-Athlete award after winning it each of the past two indoor seasons. He is five-time All-ODAC honoree who holds a 3.98 GPA as a biology (pre-med) major. Chappell-Dick, meanwhile, wins her sixth consecutive Scholar-Athlete title, winning each of the cross country, indoor and outdoor titles from her junior and senior seasons. She carries a 3.84 GPA as a biology major and is a four-time All-American.