While many around the Eastern Mennonite University track and field program expected the blossoming group to challenge some of the all-time top ten lists throughout the season, few could have predicted what happened on Saturday at the Liberty Open in Lynchburg. Four EMU records fell on the day, including one which was actually broken twice.
Junior Dan Nafziger (Harrisonburg, VA/Harrisonburg) highlighted the men’s side, as he took down EMU records in both the 1000m and mile runs. In the one mile, Nafziger crossed the finish in 4:26.77, breaking Kevin Beachy’s record of 4:28.96 which was set in 2007. He was also the top D-III finisher at the meet, which was filled with athletes from all three NCAA divisions.
Freshman Carlos Orellana (Grottoes, VA/Spotswood) had a personal record in the mile, grabbing the eighth-best time in EMU history at 4:35.86.
Nafziger also broke the school record in the 1000m, as he was sixth overall at the Liberty Open and the second D-III finisher. His time of 2:35.32 beat out Richy Bikko from 2009 by more than three seconds at 2:38.71.
Orellana was again close behind, taking the fourth spot in the EMU books at 2:48.02.
Jordan King (Dalton, OH/Central Christian), in his first year of competing in the high jump, nearly broke the school record. The junior cleared the bar at 1.89m (6-2.25ft) to take second among D-III athletes at the meet. King’s height was also second only to Michael Allen (Fork Union, VA/Louisa County), who set the record of 1.92m (6-3.5ft) in 2009. Drew Vrolijk (Harrisonburg, VA/Eastern Mennonite) tied his personal best from last week, which has him tenth in EMU history at 1.79m (5-10.5ft.)
Allen, returning to the team for his final season after missing a year on his cross cultural study, notched his PR in the 60m dash. He timed in at 7.38, which also landed him fifth in EMU history. Rich McBride (Syracuse, NY/East Syracuse Minoa) crossed the finish in 7.54.
In the 400m dash, Jonathan Bush (Pottstown, PA/Owen J. Roberts) had a solid finish, as his time of 53.08 had him third among the D-III runners. Philip Watson (Philadelphia, PA/La Salle) was a fraction back at 53.34.
The Royals had a busy field in the 200m dash, as Bush led a trio of runners with a time of 24.14. Watson came in at 24.19, with Allen crossing in 24.21. In the 800m run, Phillip Martin (Mount Joy, PA/Donegal) finished one spot ahead of teammate Patrick Graber (Dayton, VA/Benjamin Logan). Their times were 2:10.93 and 2:13.29, respectively.
In other field events, Allen, although rusty in his return to the triple jump, was still the second D-III finisher, as his best leap totaled 13.11m (43-0.25ft).
Aaron Sloan (Ooltewah, TN/McCallie School) just missed his PRs in both the shot put and the weight throw. In the shot, he charted an 11.85m (38-10.5ft), while he landed at 11.93m (39-1.75ft) in the weight throw.
For the women, what they lacked in quantity on Saturday they made up for in quality.
Hannah Chappell-Dick (Bluffton, OH/Bluffton), a week after breaking the EMU record in 800m, added two more program marks to her trophy shelf. In the one mile run, the freshman cruised across the finish in 5:12.89. She was the top collegiate runner at the meet, notched the top time in the ODAC this season, and broke her own school record by more than 12 seconds. Chappell-Dick had already set the EMU record in her first meet on Dec. 1, clocked then at 5:25.09.
Classmate Jolee Paden (St. Joseph, IL/St. Joseph-Odgen) had actually broken Chappell-Dick’s first record in the event in an earlier heat, clocking a time of 5:24.93. Paden settles for second on the EMU chart, along with the third-best time in the ODAC this year. Hannah Clemmer (Harleysville, PA/Christopher Dock) crossed in 6:03.30 at the meet, with Saralyn Mast (Gap, PA/Lancaster Mennonite) a few steps behind in 6:13.08.
In the 3000m run, Chappell-Dick added a third EMU record. She was the top D-III finisher with a time of 10:48.48, beating Andrea Good’s record of 10:51.49 from 2002 by just over three seconds. It was also the third-best time in the ODAC this year.
The only other Royals women running at the Liberty Open on Saturday were Chafin Brumfield (Harrisonburg, VA/Spotswood) and Juni Schirch (Goshen, IN/Goshen), and both set PRs in the 800m. Brumfield finished with a time of 2:33.67, taking ninth in EMU history. Schirch charted 2:34.68, good for tenth in the program’s books.
The Eastern Mennonite teams head south again next weekend, participating at the JDL Fast Track Invite in Winston-Salem, NC.