From left: Isaac Alderfer, Justice Allen, Alijah Johnson, Vanessa Gardiner, and Kendra Oguamena. (Photos by Scott Eyre/EMU)

Eight track athletes break into the record books

The way the EMU track and field team showed out last weekend in Lynchburg, it would have been appropriate for Oprah to narrate the results: “You get your name in the record books. And YOU get your name in the record books. And you get your name in the record booooooooooks!”

In total, eight athletes etched their names into the EMU record books, adding themselves to the top-10 best times that the Royals have to offer.

“The meet at Lynchburg was the culmination of our athletes not giving up,” said EMU head coach Bob Hepler. “We have a collection of athletes that other schools didn’t want. Our coaches got them to believe in themselves and use their God-given hidden athletic talents. “Our performance truly shocked the other teams at the meet. I knew it was coming…”

Alijah Johnson led the charge for the Royals, picking up a win in the 200m with a blistering time of 21.09 seconds. That time broke not only the EMU record, but the ODAC record, and it also puts him with the second fastest 200m time in the nation, just 1/100th of a second behind reigning indoor national champion JP Vaught of Centre College. Johnson also set the EMU record in the prelims of the 100m dash, crossing the finish line in 10.48 seconds. That time is currently the fourth fastest 100m time in the NCAA DIII.

Not to be outdone, Kendra Oguamena showed out in the 100m and 200m herself. Like Johnson, she took the top spot in the 100m prelims with a PR time of 12.29 seconds, which gives her the third quickest 100m time ever at EMU. She followed that up with a sixth place finish in the 200m and a PR time of 25.81 seconds, which puts her fourth all-time.

Isaac Alderfer continued his storied EMU career, breaking the mile record with a time of 4:06.33. That time was converted to a 1500 split, giving Alderfer a time of 3:48.08, which the second fastest 1500m time in EMU history behind…himself. He already holds the 1500m record, which he set at last year’s Dennis Craddock Coaches Classic. Alderfer currently sits ninth in the DIII in the 800m and the 1500m, looking to make his second-straight trip to the NCAA nationals.

Super senior Justice Allen and sophomore Vanessa Gardiner can now be found with their names in the record books of the 3000m steeplechase. Allen’s 9:55.18 was good enough to grab third place at the meet as well as third in the record books. Gardiner’s 12:15.75 gives her the second fastest time in the history of EMU women.

To wrap up the record-breaking weekend, the women’s 4×100 team of Oguamena, Tiffany Carey, Chyna Roberts and Brii Redfearn took the top spot in the record books with a time of 49.84 seconds, besting the previous record by almost half a second.

The team was rewarded on Tuesday by making its first appearance in the USTFCCCA NCAA DIII Men’s Track & Field poll, checking in at #22 –the only ODAC team in the top-25.