EMU took home a handful of All-ODAC honors from this weekend's ODAC Track & Field Championships in Bridgewater. Two Royals came home with gold medals from individual wins, as both the men and the women earned sixth as a team.
As expected, senior Connor Faint (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) cruised to a win in the 400m hurdles. An All-American in the event at last year's NCAA National Championships, Faint broke the meet record in Friday's preliminaries in 53.65. He was a fraction behind that time in the finals, but still won gold by more than a third of a second with a time of 53.72. Faint is now a four-time ODAC Champion in the event, winning each of his four years at EMU.
Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) earned two All-ODAC honors in the jumps. He dominated the triple jump to finish first in 14.69m (48ft-2.50in), and just missed the PR he set last week at 14.71m. The junior earned second in the long jump, edging two other competitors by mere millimeters. Amoateng's best jump hit the sand at 6.65m (21ft-10in).
Faint and freshman Jordan Short (Madison Heights, Va./Amherst County) each earned points in the 200m. Short finished fifth overall with a time of 22.58, while Faint came in seventh in 24.00.
Short then repeated his finish in the 400m, just edging a Washington and Lee runner at the finish by 0.04 of a second. Short's time was 49.82. Classmate Christian Gilliam (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) also broke 50 seconds, taking seventh place in 49.93. It was the first time either of EMU's men had run under 50 seconds.
The 4x400m relay team of Gilliam, Isaiah Sheppard (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View), Short and Faint took fourth in their race, clocking a time of 3:27.29.
Sophomore Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) finished in a six-way tie for sixth in the high jump at 1.83m (6ft-0in), but was bumped to ninth place based on jumps.
The men needed all 45 of their points to claim sixth as a team, just staying above Roanoke's 44. Bridgewater claimed the team title with 198 points.
Junior Tajah Miller (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) scored points in both of the sprints for the women. She was fifth after the prelims of the 100m dash, but moved up to third for All-ODAC Third Team honors with a time of 12.78 in the finals. Miller just earned the final spot in the finals of the 200m dash, but again stepped up to finish fourth in the event with a season-best time of 26.28
The 4x400m also took All-ODAC Third Team medals. Chelsea Brubaker (Akron, Pa./Ephrata), Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg), Hannah Nichols (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor) and Brittany Williams (King George, Va./King George) were third in 4:10.01, holding off two other teams by about one second.
Freshman Cheyenne Suamataia-Teo (Stafford, Va./Mountain View) made a splash in the shot put. In just her third collegiate effort in the event, Suamataia-Teo broke her PR with a distance of 11.08m (36ft-4.25in) to finish fourth.
Two Royals made the top seven in the 800m. Serrell finished sixth by winning her heat with a huge PR time of 2:23.00. Nichols was one spot behind her in 2:23.40.
In the pole vault, Rachel Sturm (Denton, Md./North Caroline) and Emily Hostetler (Marshallville, Ohio/Smithville) tied for sixth at 2.85m (9ft-4.25in). Based on jumps, Sturm earned the three points for sixth place while Hostetler took seventh.
Toni Doss (Damascus, Md./Holston) grabbed two points by finishing seventh in the hammer throw. Her throw landed at 35.12m (115ft-3in), a huge improvement over her previous PR of 33.75m (110ft-8.5in).
EMU's women also placed sixth overall, totaling 34 points. Lynchburg ran away with the women's team title by 30 points, putting together a score of 195 points.
This was the last regular meet of the year for the EMU teams. A handful of athletes will continue on to the "last chance" meets in May, trying to move up the national leaderboards in hopes of heading to the NCAA National Championships on May 24-26 in La Crosse, Wisc.
That "postseason" swing starts May 2 at the Liberty Twilight in Lynchburg, Va.