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Many student athletes made their mark during the spring sports season. It was a season of national scale competition, school records and athletes making their mark.
EMU started the men’s volleyball season ranked 14th nationally and rose in polls throughout the season. After entering the North East Collegiate Volleyball Association Western Division Championship as the top seed, the team suffered two losses and had to rely on an at-large bid to reach the conference tournament. There, the Royals sent national shockwaves by recording a 3-2 upset win over top-seeded Stevens Tech. EMU went on to finish second in the tournament and finished the season ranked ninth nationally with a 19-8 record.
EMU led the nation by a wide margin with a .331 team hitting percentage. Sophomore Benjamin Yoder (Lederach, Pa.) was named First Team All-Conference after ranking third nationally with 12.36 assists per game. Junior Dominick Porter (Hopewell, Va.) was a Second Team selection. Senior Josh Kerr (C 06) (Harleysville, Pa.), Yoder, and sophomore Brandon Ratliff (Phoenix, Ariz.) were All-Tournament selections.
The softball team set a school record for wins after going 23-18 and registered the program’s first Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) tournament win since 1992. Sophomore Miranda White (Verona, Va.), sophomore Hayley Shepard (Grottoes, Va.), and freshman Jamie Fraysher (Waterford, Va.) were Second Team All- Conference while freshman Mandee Madden (Winchester, Va.) was an Honorable Mention selection.
Twenty three school records were broken, White being the team’s top offensive threat. She led the team in nine offensive categories, hitting .438 with 16 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 33 RBIs. Shepard hit 322, led the team with 32 runs and a record-tying six home runs. Fraysher hit .307 while also setting pitching records for wins and strikeouts. Madden hit .300 for the season, including .348 after starting 0-for-11.
On the track, the Lady Royals parlayed a fifth-place preseason prediction into a second-place ODAC finish. The women were particularly successful in field events. Senior Amanda Renalds (C 06) (Bridgewater, Va.) won the shot put with an ODAC record toss. Freshman Dominique Hull (Goldvein, Va.) won the discus. Senior Megan Mlinarchik (C 06) (Broadway, Va.) won the high jump and finished top three in three other events. Freshman Kelsey Yoder (Canby, Ore.) won the triple jump. Sophomore Deb Keiser (Pioneer, Ohio) was the lone champion on the track, winning the 5,000-meter run. For the men, EMU placed third at the ODAC Championships.
Junior Jeremy Webster (Yorktown, Va.) was Co-Athlete of the Meet after winning the 200- and 400-meter dashes and running a leg for the 4x400- meter relay. Nathan Turner (Elkton, Va.) was named Freshman of the Year after winning the shot put and finishing second in the hammer throw. Sophomore Luke Yoder (Wellman, Iowa) won his first 800-meter title and senior Kevin Beachy (C 06) (Baltic, Ohio) was named Scholar- Athlete of the Year after placing third in the 5,000-meter run.
Men’s tennis went 6-6 overall and 4-4 in the ODAC after going 5- 10 (2-7) a year ago. Junior Ian Koons (Annandale, Va.) was the lone player with a winning singles record, going 7-5 at #1 singles and placing fifth at the ODAC Championships. Seniors Austin Baer (C 06) (Bainbridge, Va.) and Adam Chupp (C 06) (Hagerstown, Md.) went 6-6 during the regular season at #3 and #5 singles respectively.
Baseball welcomed new coach Mark Mace (C 90), but with a depleted roster went 7-29 overall. The bright spot of the season was when senior Drew Cobb (C 06) (Staunton, Va.) pitched a 3-0 shutout of first-place Bridgewater College. Sophomore Jameson Jarvis (Culpeper, Va.) was the offensive sparkplug, winning the team triple crown with a .355 batting average, 10 home runs and 41 RBIs.
–Kevin Warner, sports information director