SEASON REVIEW: EMU Cross Country Lays Foundation

(photo by Scott Eyre)
(photo by Scott Eyre)

Under new direction in 2018, the EMU cross country teams built the foundation of what looks like a dynamic rebirth of a traditionally successful program.  Despite not having a full year to recruit, new head coach Bob Hepler and associate coach Erick Camodeca pushed the Royals to succeed above preseason expectations.

While it's easy to point to successes and awards on the course, the student-athletes and coaches know that the positive results are even more evident simply in the behind-the-scenes work they put in every day.  The future is very bright for the EMU cross country teams!

ODAC Finish:
Men – 6th (176 points); Women – 5th (117 points)
S/SE Region Finish:
Men – 23rd (639 points); Women – 16th (497 points)
Coach: Bob Hepler (1st season)
Associate Coach: Erick Camodeca (1st season)

Coach Hepler Comments:
"I had pretty low expectations as we finished the first day of practice on August 18. I thought that either team placing in the top ten at ODACs would be an accomplishment. However, this plucky group of badgers dug themselves out of a competitive hole with a great work ethic and placed in the upper half of the ODAC."

Awards:
- Elizabeth Nisly – All-ODAC Second Team (12th at ODAC Championships), Royals Athlete of the Week (Aug. 31-Sept. 2)
- Laurie Serrell – All-ODAC Second Team (13th at ODAC Championships)

Top Performances:
4k – 16:43.0 – Elizabeth Nisly (Bridgewater XC Challenge)
5.2k – 21:50.0 – Laurie Serrell (JMU Invitational)
6k – 23:46.4 – Elizabeth Nisly (ODAC Championships)
5k – 16:40.0 – Isaac Alderfer (Bridgewater XC Challenge)
6k – 20:10.8 – Isaac Alderfer (Hornet Harrier/ODAC Preview)
8k – 27:37.6 – Isaac Alderfer (South/Southeast Regional)

Season Highlights:
- At the year-opening Bridgewater XC Challenge, junior Elizabeth Nisly won the women's race by more than 14 seconds. On the men's side, freshman Isaac Alderfer placed second in his first collegiate race, a full 33 seconds ahead of the runner in third.
- Men finished 6th at the ODAC Championships, two places higher than where they were voted in the ODAC Preseason Poll.
- Women finished 5th at the ODAC Championships, the same place where they were picked in the ODAC Preseason Poll.
- Both the men and women exceeded expectations at the South/Southeast Regionals.

Athlete Comments:
"Cross Country under Coach Bob and Coach Cam was both demanding and rewarding with changes including moving practice time to 6:20am and emphasizing the importance of restoration. This year was just a sneak peak of what's to come for the future of EMU."
-- Men's senior Derrick Chirinos