Royals Jump In Standings As Last Chance Season Nears End

New to the event, Jamel Howard had a big-time effort in the long jump. (photo by Savannah Bontrager)
New to the event, Jamel Howard had a big-time effort in the long jump. (photo by Savannah Bontrager)

The Royals track & field teams had an abbreviated schedule over the weekend, participating in the VCU Ram Invitational Sunday in Richmond. EMU had two standout performances at the meet.

On Monday, the team was expecting to go to the SWAT Last Chance Meet in Swarthmore, Pa., but they decided not to participate because of the forecasted rain.

Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) had a massive breakthrough in the long jump, destroying his PR and putting himself in contention for a trip to Nationals. In just his fourth time in the event, Howard landed two jumps over seven meters, including his final at 7.14m (23ft-5.25in). The leap landed him at No. 21 in nation in the event, with the top 20 marks going to the NCAA National Championships on May 23-25. His previous best coming into the meet was 6.68m (21ft-11in).

"Jamel is such a good athlete and student of the sport," explained Coach Bob Hepler. "His coaches simply said that he needed to focus on runway speed and elevate rather than jumping so flat. The next jump he simply did what was asked and put himself into contention for Nationals. That was lots of fun to see!"

Howard also participated in the high jump, which is normally his focus. He cleared 1.93m (6ft-4in) to take third. The junior is No. 28 in D-III with his recent height of 2.02m (6ft-7.5in).

Freshman Michaela Chowning (Urbanna, Va./Middlesex) won the high jump at VCU meet. She cleared 1.53m (5ft-0.25in) to claim the win. Her PR of 1.69m (5ft-6.5in) from the ODAC Championships last month still has her at No. 9 in the nation and a likely lock to qualify for the national meet.

Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) did not participate over the week, but holds at No. 6 nationally in the triple jump at 14.80m (48ft-6.75in).

The track & field teams are looking to add a last chance meet yet this week, in advance of Sunday's announcement of the field of NCAA participants.