EMU Men And Women Both Win At Home Meet

Isaac Alderfer led through the chute as Royals fans cheered him on. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Isaac Alderfer led through the chute as Royals fans cheered him on. (photo by Scott Eyre)

Wonderful blue skies. Fantastic course conditions. A couple hundred cheering spectators. It was about as much as Coach Bob Hepler could have hoped for when he put together the first cross country meet on EMU's campus since 2002.

Then when the women placed the second through fifth runners, and the men topped it by running the top four through the chute, by all accounts the EMU Mennonite Heritage Cross Country Invitational was a smashing success.

Sophomore Isaac Alderfer (Broadway, Va./Broadway) cruised to the win on the men's side, crossing nearly 21 seconds ahead of teammate Clay Kauffman (Broadway, Va./Broadway). Junior Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) was less than three seconds behind, as EMU's men landed nine of the top ten runners.

In the earlier women's 5k race, Abigail Shelly (Collinsville, Miss./West Lauderdale) ran a solid second place, ahead of her sister Allison Shelly (Collinsville, Miss./West Lauderdale). Elizabeth Miller (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) and Elizabeth Nisly (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) followed as both Royals teams earned easy victories.

A tremendous home crowd aided the EMU runners at the Rowdy Royals Meet, cheering them on from stands on the looping course before moving over to the finish line.

The Royals head to Cedarville, Ohio, next week Saturday for the Friendship Invitational, giving EMU's Ohio connections a good chance to run the men and women run.

EMU Mennonite Heritage Invitational – 5k
EMU Men:
1st place of 4 teams (16 points)
Top Finisher: Isaac Alderfer – 1st (16:44.8)
Scoring Team: Clay Kauffman – 2nd (17:05.6), Justice Allen – 3rd (17:08.0); Nathan Yoder – 4th (17:20.0); Charlie Thornton – 6th (18:08.3); Collin Longenecker – 7th (18:08.5); Jansen Miller – 8th (18:16.2)
Others: Andrew Nord – 9th (18:30.7);  Caleb Hostetler – 10th (18:52.0); Dawson Woodruff – 13th (19:21.4); Zachari Munoz – 17th (19:50.6); Shane Gray – 19th (19:59.8); Isaac Andreas – 24th (21:09.7); Seth Andreas – 25th (21:09.8)

EMU Mennonite Heritage Invitational – 5k
EMU Women:
1st place of 3 teams (22 points)
Top Finisher: Abigail Shelly – 2nd (21:16.5)
Scoring Team: Allison Shelly – 3rd (21:36.6); Elizabeth Miller – 4th (21:46.7); Elizabeth Nisly – 5th (22:05.7); Emma Hoover – 8th (23:01.3); Savannah Bontrager – 16th (25:36.8); Mim Beck – 22nd (28:41.0)

Coach Bob Hepler said:
Tonight was one of my most enjoyable coaching experiences. To see the team progress and the great community support was very meaningful. I was at least as excited as the runners to see hundreds of people out there, cheering on the team.  Cross country doesn't often get a lot of support at different colleges, but our campus was out there cheering the team on. We put a lot of work into our first meet and it went really well.

The women had a really rough week.  We had a lot of sick people, including Abigail who was sick at the beginning of the week, and I was quite nervous as we didn't have some of our top people today. And it was nice to see everybody step up, and it's nice to win a meet and they really ran well. Our women have a huge upside as the season progresses.

Just like the women, our men were in full workouts the last few days. Probably the biggest surprise is how good our freshmen are and that they're adjusting so quickly.