Competing with Division I athletes, Royals Kat Lehman (left) and Hannah Chappell-Dick (right) set ODAC records in the 3000m and the 1500m, respectively, at Saturday's UCS Invitational (Coach Jason Lewkowitz is pictured far right). The track team competes at the indoor ODAC Championships next week. (photo by Scott Eyre)

Royals distance runners set ODAC indoor track records

There are certainly times when getting caught up in the wrong crowd is a bad thing.  But for two EMU track and field women, getting caught up in a crowd of D-I runners produced amazing results, as both junior Hannah Chappell-Dick (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) and freshman Kat Lehman (Dover, Ohio/Dover) rode the pace of top-flight women at Saturday’s UCS Invitational and broke ODAC records.

In the mile, Chappell-Dick broke the five-minute barrier for the first time and did so quite handily.  She charted a time of 4:56.37, shattering her own school record of 5:05.65, and breaking the ODAC record of 4:58.17 set by Roanoke All-American Carmen Graves in 2013.  The junior also sits at No. 4 in the nation this year with the time.  She placed sixth at the meet, behind runners from Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

Classmate Jolee Paden (St. Joseph, Ill./St. Joseph-Ogden) ran the mile for the first time this year and jumped to No. 7 in the ODAC this season at 5:27.27.

Lehman’s mark also came in her only event of the day, the 3000m, where she crossed in 9:55.49, whacking more than 27 seconds of her PR and school record of 10:22.72.  She shattered the Old Dominion Athletic Conference record with the time, as the old mark was 10:10.61, set by Roanoke’s Casey Smith in 2001.  Nationally, Lehman leaps to No. 9 as she looks to join Chappell-Dick with a trip to the NCAA National Championships.  She took fourth in the race, coming in behind two women from Wake Forest and one from Virginia Tech.

Eastern Mennonite sent only a handful of athletes to the meet in Winston-Salem, N.C.  Elsewhere, Brittany Williams (King George, Va./King George) earned the No. 5 time in EMU history with a time of 1:02.52.

In the long jump, Oksana Kittrell (Bedford, Va./Liberty) came close to her PR with a best leap of 4.96m (16-3.25ft).  The freshman’s best effort this year is 5.05m.

The duo of Alec Thibodeaux (Staunton, Va./Fort Defiance) and Tyler Denlinger (Perkasie, Pa./Christopher Dock) continued to shine in the men’s 800m.  Thibodeaux just beat his teammate, taking eighth overall with a time of 1:57.18.  It was his PR, which is No. 4 in the ODAC and improves him to No. 4 in EMU history.  Although Thibodeaux sits one spot behind Denlinger in program history, Denlinger came in just behind him in Saturday’s race, crossing in 1:57.22.

Connor Faint (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) set a new PR in the triple jump, charting the No. 9 distance in the EMU books at 12.47m (40-11.00ft).

EMU had four men running in the 200m.  Devantae Dews (Lynchburg, Va./E.C. Glass) led the way with a time of 23.77, just missing his PR by .01.  Justin Bradley (Ashburn, Va./Briarwood) tied his PR by finishing in 23.86.  Londen Wheeler (Nelson, Va./Nelson County) crossed in 24.38 while Terry Dotson (Appomattox, Va./Appomattox) timed at 25.12.

Wheeler also clocked at 54.09 in the 400m.

The Eastern Mennonite track teams wrap up the indoor season next week at the ODAC Indoor Championships in Landover, Md.