EMU’s men finished third at Sunday’s ODAC Indoor Championships, the highest team finish for the Royals since 2007. Bolstered by three gold medals, the Royals’ total of 84 points was their best mark since 2003, well ahead of Lynchburg in fourth at 62. Bridgewater won the team title at 166.
Senior Jeremy Heizer (Staunton, Va./Riverheads) thoroughly dominated the throwing events, easily winning the shot put and weight throw. He was named the Athlete of the Meet, the first EMU male since Michael Allen in 2011, and the first male to win the title at the ODAC’s Indoor Championship.
Classmate Richard Robinson (Broadway, Va./Broadway) bettered his prelimary qualifying time with a first-place finish of 8.28 in the finals. His time broke both the ODAC conference and championships records. It was also Robinson’s third ODAC Champion title of his career, repeating as the 60m hurdles champion after also winning the 110m hurdles from outdoor season last spring.
Lagging team health hindered the women, who finished sixth, despite a pair of individual championships for senior Hannah Chappell-Dick (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) who defended her titles in the 800m and mile. Bridgewater edged Washington and Lee 135 to 133 for the team title.
Two Royals also won scholar-athlete awards. Junior Tyler Denlinger was voted the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Scholar-Athlete. A biology/pre-med major with a minor in business administration, Denlinger holds a 3.98 GPA is also a four-time All-ODAC honoree. This is the second straight indoor scholar award for Denlinger.
Chappell-Dick also earned her fifth consecutive ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Scholar-Athlete award. She is a biology major with minors in coaching, exercise science and honors. Chappell-Dick holds a 3.84 GPA and has won every scholar-athlete honor possible from the ODAC since the beginning of her junior season.
Heizer PRed in the shot put and the weight throw, while also claiming the three best throws in each at the meet. In the shot put, Heizer’s best landed at a monster 15.81m (51-10.75ft), not only winning gold but also vaulting him to No. 25 in the nation. Then in the weight throw, he landed at 15.06m (49-5.25ft). Both improved on his No. 2 spots in the EMU record books.
Azariah Cox (Lynchburg, Va./Heritage) claimed fourth behind teammate Robinson in the 60m hurldes race in 8.68, while Connor Faint (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) took sixth in 8.73. It was a PR for Faint.
Jumper Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) had a great first effort, as the freshman took All-ODAC Third Team honors in the triple jump at 13.61m (44-8ft). His PR distance was the third-best effort in EMU history.
Amoateng then cleared 1.79m (5-10.5ft) in the high jump to claim seventh. The freshman also grabbed seventh in the long jump, landing his best at 6.36m (20-10.5ft). Both efforts were PRs, with the long jump distance putting him No. 8 all-time at EMU.
Tyler Denlinger (Perkasie, Pa./Christopher Dock) earned third place in the 800m for All-ODAC Third Team status. The junior crossed in 1:57.24, behind only a pair of Bridgewater runners.
Running partner Alec Thibodeaux (Mount Sidney, Va./Fort Defiance) had a similar finish in the mile, settling for third in 4:25.98. He then took fifth in the 3000m with a time of 9:03.55. Thibodeaux was five seconds behind four runners clumped within just over a second of each other.
The 4×400 relay team staked a third-place. The foursome of Faint, Devantae Dews (Lynchburg, Va./E.C. Glass), Hunter Sampson (Salem, Va./Salem) and Denlinger finished in 3:27.32. Faint had a great all-around individual effort, highlighted by a fourth-place finish in the 400m, clocking in at 50.83. The sophomore’s PR also bumped him up to No. 8 in the EMU’s record books. Sampson also grabbed two points for taking seventh in the event at 51.47. He comes in at No. 9 in EMU history.
The distance medley relay team added two points towards the team total with a seventh-place finish. Derrick Chirinos (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg), Philip Watson (Philadelphia, Pa./La Salle), Patrick Graber (Dayton, Va./Ben Logan) and Jared Nisly (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) came in at 11:52.21.
Chappell-Dick broke the ODAC Championships record in the mile, registering a time 5:03.54. She was more than four seconds better than the previous best at the ODAC Indoor Meet, beating Carmen Graves’ time of 5:07.84.
Then in the 800m, she edged Marissa Combs of Virginia Wesleyan in 2:20.62, just ahead of Coombs’ 2:20.80. She has now won the last four indoor and outdoor 800m ODAC titles, as well as the last two miles, which are only an indoor event.
Sophomore Kat Lehman (Dover, Ohio/Dover), who won the 3000m and 5000m last year, took fifth in the 5000m with a time of 19:36.21. After finishing runner-up last year, Jolee Paden (St. Joseph, Ill./St. Joseph-Ogden) also didn’t run the 3000m.
The distance medley relay team just missed defending last year’s title, coming in second. Juni Schirch (Goshen, Ind./Goshen), Brittany Williams (King George, Va./King George), Maria Yoder (Manheim, Pa./Hempfield) and Paden put together a time of 13:14.36, finishing nearly four seconds behind Bridgewater’s winning foursome.
Oksana Kittrell (Bedford, Va./Liberty) finished fourth in the triple jump. Her first two jumps each landed at 10.57m (34-8.25ft), but Lynchburg’s Shanice Clarke edged her with one late jump at 10.66m (34-11.75ft). Kittrell then settled for eighth in the long jump, sticking her best at 4.78m (15-8.25ft). She was less than an inch from seventh place and 3.5 inches from sixth.
The 4x400m relay team of Williams, Yoder, Chappell-Dick and Schirch took fifth, combined for a time of 4:13.85.
Tajah Miller (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) claimed sixth in the 60m dash, crossing in 8.15 in the finals. The freshman’s PR improves her No. 2 time in the EMU record books.
In the 400m, Williams also finished sixth. She was second in her heat, clocking at 1:02.54. Pole vaulter Rachel Sturm (Denton, Md./North Caroline) was another of the women who finished sixth, as she cleared 2.22m (7-3.25ft).
Clarissa White (Portsmouth, Va./Churchland) finished seventh in the shot put, with her best toss landing at 10.10m (33-2ft).