Making a late addition to the schedule could turn out to be a good move for EMU's track & field athletes. The Royals put this weekend's Montreat College Invitational in Black Mountain, N.C., on the slate, and a number of participants broke PRs, while two made big moves up the national leaderboards.
Connor Faint (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) put on the show in the 400m hurdles, as he and Boston United runner Nate Bruno ran two seconds ahead of the rest of the field. An All-American in the event last year, Faint destroyed his own PR and school record, winning the race with a time of 51.89, ahead of Bruno's 52.19. For EMU's senior, the time was ahead of his previous best of 52.33, and has him No. 2 in the nation, behind only a 51.62 from Peter Girardi of St. John Fisher. The all-time ODAC record of 51.72 was set by Safwan Williams of Lynchburg in 1999.
Faint also worked on his short burst in the 200m, just missing his PR with a 22.76.
Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) pushed up his season best marks in both jumping events and will be making noise at qualifying for nationals in both as well. Amoateng nailed a 14.08m (46ft-2.5in) on his second effort in the triple jump, winning the event at the meet and jumping to No. 6 in the nation. Then in the long jump, he finished third when he hit the sand at 6.79m (22ft-3.5in). Amoateng is now No. 15 in the nation in that event.
Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) took his first crack at the 3000m steeplechase, and finished third with a respectable time of 10:53.14.
Eastern Mennonite's 4x100m relay team took sixth at the meet. Amoateng, Faint, Christian Gilliam (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) and TyJuan Nelson (Charlotte, N.C./Rocky River) finished with a time of 43.30.
For the women, Tajah Miller (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) had her best effort of the outdoor season, getting below 13 seconds in the 100m dash. Her time of 12.91 has her at No. 2 in the ODAC. Freshman Ania Summers (Stevens City, Va./Sherando) clocked a 13.36 in the event.
In the 200m, Miller took the top time in the ODAC over the first month of the season, coming in at 26.84.
Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) took sixth in the 800m, running her PR in 2:29.29.
Michaela Mast (Broadway, Va./Eastern Mennonite) ran sub-5:00 in the 1500m for the first time, crossing the finish in 4:59.66. She took fourth place at the meet.
Senior Rachel Sturm (Denton, Md./North Caroline) had a major height in the pole vault. She broke her PR when she cleared 2.90m (9ft-6.25in) on her third effort and took fourth at the Montreat Invite.
Cheyenne Suamataia-Teo (Stafford, Va./Mountain View) raised some eyebrows in her second meet with the team. Also a basketball player at EMU, Suamataia-Teo jumped into fifth in the ODAC in both the shot put and the discus. She landed her best effort in the shot put on her sixth and final toss at 10.61m (34ft-9.75in). Her distance in the discus was 30.57m (100ft-3in).
Junior Toni Doss (Damascus, Md./Holston) continued the impressive bumping up of her PR in the hammer throw. On her first throw, she hit a distance of 33.75m (110ft-9in), more than three meters better than her previous best.
The Royals will send a few athletes to next weekend's high-level VertKlasse Meeting in High Point, N.C.