Jeremy Heizer has quickly picked up the throwing events and should compete for All-ODAC status in his second year ever in the shot put and weight throw. (Photo by Scott Eyre)

Royals rise to the occasion at Hilton Garden Invitational

Even without sending their full teams to the Hilton Garden Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C., over the weekend, EMU’s indoor track and field teams defended their regional status. Both the men and the women were ranked at No. 7 in the D-III South/Southeast Region in the season’s first listings earlier this week.

Freshman distance runner Kat Lehman (Dover, Ohio/Dover) cemented her status as an elite athlete, breaking EMU’s record in the 5000m and taking second place overall at the mostly D-I meet. Lehman roasted the track to a finish of 17:43.77, finishing in between a pair of runners from the University of North Carolina. She destroyed her own EMU record of 18:10.40, set in December.

Classmate Mary Eldridge (Gig Harbor, Wash./Peninsula) broke her personal record in the event, crossing in 20:15.98 to also grab the No. 8 spot in EMU’s history books.

In the 4x400m relay, the women’s foursome of Brittany Williams (King George, Va./King George), Maya McKinsey (Virginia Beach, Va./Tallwood), Chafin Brumfield (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) and Hannah Chappell-Dick (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) timed the No. 3 effort in program history at 4:20.40.

Chappell-Dick was the top D-III finisher in the mile run, taking a time of 5:16.47. Juni Schirch (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) clocked a season best in the 800m at 2:36.34, narrowly missing the ODAC qualifying time by 0.05 seconds. And Williams broke her PR in the 400m, timing at 1:04.62.

Oksana Kittrell (Bedford, Va./Liberty) landed a nice effort in the triple jump, measuring at 10.44m (34-3.00ft).  Also in the field, Alyssa Bane (Strasburg, Va./Strasburg) had a best toss of 13.02m (42-8.75ft) in the weight throw.

For the Eastern Mennonite men, Jeremy Heizer (Staunton, Va./Riverheads) had a monster toss in the shot put.  His best heave of 14.00m (45-11.25ft) was not only the top D-III distance at the meet, but also put him third in EMU history and with the second-best throw in the ODAC this season.  He was also solid in the weight throw, landing at 11.93m (39-1.75ft)

Ryan Gehman (Millersville, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) punched an ODAC ticket in the 5000m, but more importantly earned the No. 2 time in the EMU record books.  His time of 15:49.48 was only behind cross country teammate Jacob Landis‘ 15:41.94, a record set last year.

In the 800m run, sophomore Tyler Denlinger (Perkasie, Pa./Christopher Dock) earned the third-best finish in EMU history with a time of 1:57.01. Alec Thibodeaux (Staunton, Va./Fore Defiance) wasn’t far behind as he landed at No. 4 in the EMU books at 1:57.77.

The duo also ran in the mile.  Denlinger again crossed first in 4:31.19 to take seventh in program history, while Thibodeaux had his season best run at 4:35.20.

Philip Watson (Philadelphia, Pa./La Salle) earned a trip to the ODAC Championships in the 200m, timing at 23.90.  In the 400m, EMU had two men qualify for ODACs, highlighted by Connor Faint (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) PRing in 52.07. Jonathan Bush (Pottstown, Pa./Owen J. Roberts) had a finish of 53.11.

Richard Robinson (Broadway, Va./Broadway) continued his road back in the 60m hurdles with a season best time of 8.79.

Then in the 4x400m relay, the Royals had a foursome cross in 3:30.16, which was just a tenth of a second behind a team from ODAC rival Washington and Lee.  Devantae Dews (Lynchburg, Va./E.C. Glass), Bush, Denlinger and Faint combined for the No. 7 time in EMU history.

And a foursome also landed in No. 7 in the distance medley relay, as Steven Anhold(Churchville, Va./Fort Defiance), Londen Wheeler (Nelson, Va./Nelson County), Crendel Fuller (Richmond, Va./Huguenot) and Jared Nisly (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) clocked at 11:08.35.

Drew Vrolijk (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) kept in his ODAC-leading shape by clearing 1.92m (6-3.5ft) in the high jump.

Eastern Mennonite’s teams are back in action next weekend, participating at the DuCharme Invitational in Carlisle, Pa., on Saturday.