Small Crew Gives Big-Time Results At Bast-Cregger

Laurie Serrell is carrying her training from cross country into the track season. (photo by Sideline Media)
Laurie Serrell is carrying her training from cross country into the track season. (photo by Sideline Media)

The EMU track team competed in its first indoor meet of the season at the Bast-Cregger Invitational this weekend, hosted by Roanoke College.

The small team had many stand-out performances, including senior Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) dominating the mile run. Classmate Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) placed in both the long jump and the triple jump, second and third respectively, while Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) earned third place in the mile.

Freshman Wade Banks (Basye, Va./Stonewall Jackson) started out the meet on Friday night by tying his career best in the high jump. He placed 11th with a jump of 1.83m (6'0").

On the second day of the meet, field events started things off again. Amoateng earned second in the long jump with 6.64m (21'9.50"). Banks jumped as well: 5.58m (18'3.75") and 20th place.

Toni Doss (Damascus, Va./Holston) competed in both the shot put and the weight throw, coming in 15th with a PR of 10.03m (32'11") and 18th at 8.95m (29'4.50"), respectively.

Finishing the day for EMU field events, Amoateng earned third in the triple jump with a mark of 14.14m (46'4.75"). He was the top D-III finisher and right on par with his jumps from late in last indoor season.

"Grant Amoateng had a great meet today, he finished second overall in the long jump and that wasn't even our goal for him," commented Associate Coach Erick Camodeca. "Our main focus for him today was the triple jump, and he ended up…putting himself on the national list and having a pretty big jump to begin the year where he actually ended his indoor season last year."

Freshman sprinting duo Coy Jimenez (Edinburg, Va./Central) and Alijah Johnson (Upper Marlboro, Md./Frederick Douglass) made it to the semifinals in the 60m dash, placing 10th and 11th overall. Jimenez ran 7.25 with Johnson a breath behind in 7.28.

The distance crew focused their energy on the mile run. The men ran first.

Allen cruised through the line at 4:44 for his third place finish.

His teammates Jack Rice (Palmyra, Va./Fluvanna County) and Derrick Chirinos (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) came in 10th and 11th with times of 4:52 and 4:58.

Charles Thornton (Hamilton, Va./Loudoun Valley) came in 17th with a time of 5:04.

The women milers ran next. Serrell turned on her speedy jets for this race, the first indoor race of her final track season. She ran a smart race, blazing through the finish in first with a time of 5:30.

Elizabeth Nisly (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) ran the mile as well, placing sixth with a time of 5:47.

Senior Ivan Harris (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) repped EMU in the 400 meter dash, taking 25th place with a time of 59.05 seconds.

Next up for EMU was the 500 meter dash, an irregular event that runners rarely get to compete in. Banks took third place with a time of 1:13.4.

Chirinos took 8th in the 600 meter run with a time of 1:32, followed by teammate Harris in 12th, time of 1:37.

The freshman sprinting duo struck again the 200 meter dash. Johnson took 6th with 23.37. Jimenez was right behind in 7th with 23.47.

The distance crew also ran the 3000 meter event.  Allen took fifth place with 9:29. Rice earned 13th with 10:05, while Thornton came in 16th with 10:31.

Serrell was the only EMU runner on the women's side, earning 8th place with a time of 11:22.

"I thought today was a good challenge for us because it's a new experience, new coaching staff, just a whole new way to approach a meet," said Coach Camodeca. "I thought the team adjusted really well, just how to warm up differently, get into the mental mindset and mind-frame of competing with this new coaching staff. I think for the most part the team went out there and competed really well, and I think the whole team was out there supporting each other."

Head Coach Bob Hepler was happy with the day's events as well.

"I thought it was a very productive first meet," he said. "Some people got some PRs, I think Laurie Serrell's mile stands out as a great early season performance where she actually won the race. Justice Allen had a couple of really good races as well. I think we have a really inexperienced team, so a day like today was a great education and a good workout, and I think we're going to perform better later in the year because of a day like today."

Watch out for EMU track and field in the new year at the Finn Pincus Invitational, when they head back to Roanoke College on January 25.

-- by Elizabeth Nisly, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern