Royals Earn Two Silvers At ODAC Championships

Isaac Alderfer had a hand in 17 of the men's 20 points. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Isaac Alderfer had a hand in 17 of the men's 20 points. (photo by Scott Eyre)

Sophomore Isaac Alderfer (Broadway, Va./Broadway) highlighted the weekend for the Eastern Mennonite University track & field teams earning a pair of silver medal finishes at the ODAC Indoor Championships.

The ODAC meet was Saturday and Sunday at Roanoke College in Salem, Va.

Alderfer was EMU's top individual finisher, earning All-ODAC Second Team status with a fantastic race in the 800m. He started near the front of the pack and never faded, finishing second in 1:57.24. Lynchburg senior Shawn Gmurek took gold in 1:56.73.

The distance medley relay team earned second place as well, for another set of All-ODAC Second Team medals. With Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro), Alijah Johnson (Upper Marlboro, Md./Frederick Douglass), Jansen Miller (Lancaster, Pa./Lampeter-Strasburg) running the first three legs, the Royals stood in fourth going into Alderfer's leg. Alderfer ran a scorching 1600m time of 4:21.47, the best in the field, to pass runners from Shenandoah and Washington and Lee, earning second with an overall time of 10:37.32. It was easily the foursome's best time of the year and the No. 4 time in program history.

Johnson had a good effort in the 400m. He was in second place at the split, running a 23.48 and just off the shoulder of eventual winner Doug Dracon of Washington and Lee. Johnson slid back over the final 200m, settling for sixth place with a time of 51.46.

The men's final point came in the 4x400m relay, where Alderfer, Andrew Nord (Albany, Ore./South Albany), Shane Gray (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh) and Dawson Woodruff (Fairfax Station, Va./James W. Robinson Jr.) took eighth with a time of 3:44.23.

In the women's 60m hurdles, freshman Ashlyn Eby (Annandale, Va./St. Paul VI Catholic) easily broke her PR in the preliminaries with a 9.63, to earn the sixth seed. She stepped it up a notch in the finals where she re-broke her PR with a 9.50, just edging 2019 champion Emily Valle for fourth place. Eby was the highest finishing freshman in the event, and bettered her No. 2 time in EMU history.

The women's DMR claimed the team's other two points. Elizabeth Miller (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold), Jordan Jones (Stuarts Draft, Va./Riverheads), Emma Hochstetler (Allentown, Pa./Parkland) and Haley Corbin (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) combined for a time of 15:08.26. They were in a tight fourth place after Miller's opening 1200m time of 4:15.31 before settling to seventh overall.

A few Royals who would have been expected to challenge for points missed the ODAC Championships due to injury, limiting what EMU did in the team standings.

A handful of athletes will head to Winchester, Va., next Saturday for the South Region Final Qualifier in hopes of earning a spot at the NCAA National Championships. The national meet is March 13-14 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The outdoor season starts at the Washington and Lee Carnival on March 20-21.

ODAC Indoor Championships
EMU Men – 20 points (8th of 10)

Top 8 Finishes:
400m: Alijah Johnson, 6th – 51.46
800m: Isaac Alderfer, 2nd – 1:57.23
4x400m relay: Isaac Alderfer, Andrew Nord, Shane Gray, Dawson Woodruff, 8th – 3:44.23
Distance medley relay: Justice Allen, Alijah Johnson, Jansen Miller, Isaac Alderfer, 2nd – 10:37.32

EMU Women – 7 points (8th of 9)
Top 8 Finishes:
60m hurdles: Ashlyn Eby, 4th – 9.50
Distance medley relay: Elizabeth Miller, Jordan Jones, Emma Hochstetler, Haley Corbin, 7th – 15:08.26

Coach Bob Hepler said:
"Many young athletes gained valuable experience and managed to hit some PRs at the ODAC Indoor Championships. The team overcame injuries, sickness and inexperience to see an improvement over last year's performance. The outdoor season should see a significantly stronger team as injuries heal and new athletes get fit."