The EMU track and field team should be on everyone’s radar due to their accomplishments this season.
With an excitement that is obvious and contagious, team members of track and field describe a sport that is unlike any other at EMU.
But, before I give you more of the tender-hearted details, some quick stats.
There have been four school records broken this indoor track season, which runs from late December to February.
Junior Alyssa Bane broke the record set for weight throw with a 13.54 meter throw, which she herself had previously been holding.
This year’s Women’s Distance Medley Relay team ran the race in 13:17.17 beating the school record set by 0.11 seconds last year. Their time also gave them the winning time at the ODAC championships.
The runners were Senior Krista Rittenhouse in the 1200 meter leg of the race, Senior Hannah Patterson with the 400 meter leg, Sophomore Juni Schirch in the 800, and Sophomore Hannah Chappell-Dick in the mile.
Patterson’s story of how she came to be running track for EMU is unexpected. She never had run track before; her high school did not have a team. She even had knee surgery during her freshman year at EMU.
When Coach Jason Lewkowicz came her sophomore year, he built up the program and encouraged students to join. The previous year there had only been a handful of people on the track team.
Patterson pulled out her phone to show me her Instagram photos of the track team.
“This year is a solid group of people,” said Patterson, “this is the best environment for the first-years to come into.”
She described how the team drives and encourages each other.
“When we aren’t competing in our own events, we go and cheer the others on. The schools we compete against notice,” said Patterson.
The men’s team has also had their record breakers. Senior Jacob Landis, broke the school record for the 5,000 meter race and even topped his own time at the ODAC championships.
Senior Jordan King broke school and a 22 year ODAC championship record with a high jump at 6’9”.
“The team is full of growth because there are a lot of athletes just starting their track careers,” said King.
King, like Patterson, had also never competed in high school. King had actually just joined the track scene during last year’s season. After deciding to end his collegiate basketball career, assistant coach Melvin Felix Garcia of the basketball team pointed King out to coach Lewkowicz.
It is a good thing he did, because King has won three ODAC golds in high jump and tied for 15th place in the nation in division three this year.
King narrowly missed indoor nationals. The top 15 in the nation attend. When breaking a tie the two athlete’s second best jump is compared. The difference in this case was only a cen- timeter towards the opposing athlete’s behalf.
King is setting a goal of a fourth consecutive ODAC gold and jumping at outdoor nationals this summer.
EMU does not currently host their own track meets.
The team will be at Washington and Lee this Friday and Saturday. The closest meet will be at Bridgewater College on March 29.
-Ellen Roth, Arts Editor, Photography Editor, Web Manager; photos provided by Hannah Patterson
Tags: Ellen Roth