Entering their final week of last chance meets, EMU's track & field athletes were at two different meets over the last two days. First up was the Aggie Last Chance at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C., on Sunday, followed by the SWAT Last Chance in Swarthmore, Pa., on Monday.
Freshman Chloe Roach highlighted the trip south by breaking the EMU record in the 200m in just her sixth time running a race. In an incredibly tough field of mostly D-I and D-II runners, Roach blazed a time of :25.26 to break Lorenda Abbott's record of :25.42 from 2000.
Hunter Sampson (Salem, Va./Salem) reached a new echelon in the 400m, getting under 49 seconds for the first time. After surpassing 50 seconds for the first time at the ODAC Championships last month, Sampson clocked at :48.91, to take over the No. 4 spot in EMU history.
Connor Faint (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) ran a :53.49 in the 400m hurdles, a good step back into action after a minor injury limited his training in recent weeks. His PR time of :52.33 still has him No. 5 in the nation and in excellent position to qualify for Nationals.
Nuriddin Abdus-Salaam (Charlotte Court House, Va./Randolph Henry) had one of his best races of the year, clocking at :10.91 seconds in the 100m dash. He had already broken the EMU record, which had been :10.94, two weeks ago with a wind-aided :10.85.
In the jumps, Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) tied his PR with a long jump of 6.90m (22ft 7.75in). His best triple jump measured at 14.22m (46ft 8in). Amoateng sits at No. 12 in the nation with his triple jump PR of 14.66m (48ft 1.25in) from two weeks ago, and needs to stay in the top 20 to punch a trip to Nationals.
Freshman Darious Stover (Fort Carson, Colo./Mesa Ridge) got in some final jumps, landing at 11.87m (38ft 11.5in) in the triple jump and 5.89m (19ft 4in) in the long.
In the high jump, Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) cleared six feet for the third straight outing, finishing with a height of 1.97m (6ft 5.5in).
The Eastern Mennonite 4x100m relay team of Amoateng, Faint, Sampson and Abdus-Salaam clocked a great time of :42.69.
Tajah Miller (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) had solid effort in the 100m dash, crossing in :12.32. Her season best time of :12.20 has her No. 39 in the nation. The top 22 women qualify for Nationals.
Senior Oksana Kittrell (Bedford, Va./Liberty) just missed her season marks in both of her events. She landed at 10.83m (35ft 6.5in) in the triple jump and 4.93m (16ft 2.25in) in the long jump.
Junior Brittany Williams (King George, Va./King George) finished her 400m race in 1:01.16.
"Our performances were relatively good overall," explained Head Track & Field Coach Brian Simpson. "Some performances stood out a little more but everyone performed well. Some of the team members' seasons ended today and I cannot tell you how truly proud I am of their performances. They have given a lot of blood, sweat and tears for the past nine months and I have demanded a lot. They stepped up to the plate and gave their all every meet. EMU has a lot to be proud of."
At the SWAT meet on Monday, senior Jared Nisly (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) finished his career well, breaking the program record in the 3000m steeplechase for the third time this season. Nisly took nearly eight seconds off his previous best from the Liberty Twilight on May 3, and re-set the bar at 9:30.06. After never getting under 10 minutes over his three previous seasons, Nisly has accomplished the fete each of his last four races as a senior.
"Jared finished his senior season on the best note," said Director of Track & Field Isaac Bryan. "He's dropped his time by 30 seconds this season and has made the EMU record much more respectable. This was a great race for him to go out on."
Focusing his attention on the 1500m, Tyler Denlinger (Perkasie, Pa./Dock Mennonite Academy) took nearly two seconds off his season best and finished in 3:54.59. It was the second-fastest time of his career for Denlinger, who broke EMU's record as a junior at 3:53.68. He will have to run in the 3:50-range at Widener's meet on Thursday for a shot at Nationals.
Freshman Hannah Nichols (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor) finally made a return to the track, running a 2:15.08 in the 800m. An All-American in the 800m from the indoor season, Nichols last ran in a race on April 8.
"Hannah ran a great race," Bryan said. "Once again she won her heat. She was only a few seconds off her season best after having taken three weeks off due to injury."
An even smaller group of Royals will head to Widener University on Thursday for the Mideast Invitational. The field of NCAA National Championship qualifiers will be announced on Friday, with the national meet on May 25-27 in Geneva, Ohio.