Cross Country Season Ends In Georgia

Derrick Chirinos joined the women's Laurie Serrell as the only two seniors running for the men or women on Saturday. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Derrick Chirinos joined the women's Laurie Serrell as the only two seniors running for the men or women on Saturday. (photo by Scott Eyre)

The EMU cross country teams wrapped up their season at the South/Southeast Regional Meet, hosted by Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga.

Head Coach Bob Hepler was proud of his teams' performance, despite overall slow times.

"The teams ran really well," he said. "I know that the times weren't great - that was pretty consistent throughout all the teams today. Both teams actually exceeded expectations today, place-wise, so I have to be pleased with that and not focus on the times. There are just some days when for whatever reason, everyone just runs a little slower."

The women ran their 6k first on this blustery, wide-open course.

Elizabeth Nisly (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) and senior Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) led the way for the EMU pack. Nisly placed 62nd with a time of 24:54. Laurie Serrell came in 71st out of 237 in 25:09.

"They were technically probably about a minute off of what we were expecting, but if you look at where they placed with the other ODAC women, they were right where they were supposed to be," explained Coach Hepler.

Abigail Shelly (Collinsville, Miss./West Lauderdale) powered through the chute next, claiming 91st place and a time of 25:34.

"Probably the race of the day on the women's side was Abigail," said Coach Hepler. "She was closer to Laurie than she's been in quite a while so that was very encouraging for her."

Next to finish for EMU was Emma Hoover (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh), who placed 137th and ran a time of 26:47.

"Emma also ran really well, despite having a foot injury," Coach Hepler commented. "She toughed her way through that, through a lot of pain."

Allison Shelly (Collinsville, Miss./West Lauderdale) chugged through the finish at 28:48, claiming 181st place.

She, along with the rest of the women, overcame a very abrupt start to the race; many of the women had their backs to the line when the gun went off with little warning.

Coach Hepler described Allison Shelly as, "tough as usual, even though she was on the ground pulling off her sweats when the gun went off, through no fault of her own."

Kellie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) took 209th place with a time of 30:51.

"She finished her season very strong," said Coach Hepler.   `

The women placed 16th overall out of 32 teams.

The men ran next, following their looping 8k course around giant sloping fields.

Isaac Alderfer (Broadway, Va./Broadway) led the race for the Royals men, finishing his freshman season strong with a near-PR despite the slow day. He took 60th place out of 239 runners with a time of 27:37.

Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) finished next, earning 92nd place with his time of 28:17.

"I would say Justice ran a perfect race for him," said Coach Hepler. "He didn't PR, but he probably had the best race of his career - I would change nothing about what he did today."

Isaac Andreas (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) sprinted through the finish at 28:47, claiming 127th place.

"Despite barely being able to run all season training-wise, and having to do so much biking, he continued to improve," said Coach Hepler.

Derrick Chirinos (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) ran strong for the last cross country race of his career, taking 175th place with a time of 29:48.

Collin Longenecker (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) had "the race of the day" according to Coach Hepler, who is impressed with the strides he has made since his Achilles surgery. He even won the coveted PR cone, a small but prestigious traffic cone awarded to the EMU runner with the best performance of the day. He ran a 30:52 and took 203rd.

Charles Thornton (Hamilton, Va./Loudoun Valley) was mere seconds behind Longenecker, taking 204th place with a time of 30:57.

Thornton was another exception to the slowness of the day.

Coach Hepler quipped, "Charlie PRed, somehow."

Andrew Nord (Albany, Ore./South Albany) finished out the day for EMU, claiming 210th place with a time of 31:17.

The men finished 23rd overall out of 33 teams.

The runners will have a few days to breathe before they begin preparing for the indoor track & field season. The first indoor meet is the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

"There were lots of good signs today," said Coach Hepler, "and a good foundation for the future."

-- by Elizabeth Nisly, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern