Royals Open Season With Solid Efforts In Salem

Emma Hoover carried her distance running over well from cross country season. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Emma Hoover carried her distance running over well from cross country season. (photo by Scott Eyre)

EMU's track & field athletes had a successful start to the 2017-18 indoor season Friday and Saturday, participating in the Bast-Cregger Invitational hosted by Roanoke College in Salem, Va.

The Royals men and women had a solid mix of PRs from returners, good debuts from freshmen, along with a win from a relay team.

Freshman Jordan Short (Madison Heights, Va./Amherst County) had a great start in the 200m. He won his heat and took second overall in a field of 48 runners with a time of :23.29. The Royals earned three of the top seven times in the race, with all three men punching an ODAC-qualifying time. Connor Faint (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) also won his heat and took fifth overall with a PR of :23.42, while another freshman, Christian Gilliam (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis), was seventh in :23.51.

The trio repeated their ODAC-noted efforts in the 400m, this time led by Faint. The senior placed third overall with a time of :50.56. Short came in 10th out of 33 at :52.31, while Gilliam was at 13th in :52.71.

Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) was the top D-III finisher in the long jump, sticking an attempt of 6.92m (22-8.5ft) on his final of six jumps. He was also the top D-III leaper in the triple jump, hitting the sand at 13.86m (45-5.75ft). He was third overall in both events.

In the 60m dash, Amoateng was EMU's top finisher with a time of :7.35. TyJuan Nelson (Charlotte, N.C./Rocky River) came in at :7.53.

Senior Austin Hart (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) started well in the 60m hurdles. In the preliminaries, Hart crossed the line in :8.97 seconds. He finished a bit slower in the finals at :9.12, but moved up a spot to seven place.

Freshman Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) took fourth overall in the mile, planting a finish at 4:51.40. He was also 12th of 29 in the 5000m, coming in with a time of 16:36.52.

Bahman Shahi (Kabul, Afghanistan/Kabul University) ran in a pair of events in his first track meet. The graduate student timed at :41.03 in the 300m and 2:27.53 in the 800m.

The 4x400m relay team took fourth place out of 10 squads. Gilliam, Short, Isaiah Sheppard Ewell (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) and Faint combined for a time of 3:33.50, finishing a second ahead of a team from D-I Winthrop.

The women's 4x400m relay team also had a good effort, taking fourth out of eight teams. The foursome of Brittany Williams (King George, Va./King George), Anna Cahill (Staunton, Va./Buffalo Gap), Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) and Chelsea Brubaker (Akron, Pa./Ephrata) were the top D-III team with a time of 4:28.22.

The distance medley relay team was a step better, winning the gold on Friday. Michaela Mast (Broadway, Va./Eastern Mennonite), Williams, Serrell and Elizabeth Nisly (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) won by more than 12 seconds with a combined time of 13:22.49.

Mast carried over her strong season from cross country, starting out her first track campaign with a silver in the 3000m. The senior ran in the top heat and finished second overall with a time of 10:41.53.

Brubaker was EMU's top women's finisher in the 400m, coming in seventh at 1:05.45.

Serrell took second in the 1000m, coming in only behind a D-I runner with a time of 3:17.80.

Emma Hoover (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh) was 10th in the 5000m at 21:54.07.

In the pole vault, Emily Hostetler (Marshallville, Ohio/Smithville) and Rachel Sturm (Denton, Md./North Caroline) each had a top height of 2.65m (8-8.25ft). Based on jumps, Hostetler took seventh overall with her indoor PR while Sturm was ninth, just missing her PR.

Toni Doss (Damascus, Md./Holston) had a best heave of 9.41m (30-10.5ft) in the shot put. She was 15th out of 35 competitors. In the weight throw, Doss landed at 7.69m (25-2.75ft).

With exams and the end of the semester on the horizon, the Royals take a break before returning to action in Salem at the Finn Pincus Invitation on Jan. 26 and 27.