EMU’s Johnson, Alderfer break ODAC Championships records
Isaac Alderfer (Broadway, Va./Broadway) and Alijah Johnson (Upper Marlboro, Md./Frederick Douglass) each broke one record on Sunday, with Alderfer smashing the 1500m ODAC Championships record and Johnson taking down the record in the 200m. On the women’s side, Allison Shelly (Collinsville, Miss./West Lauderdale) earned points for the Royals in three different events.
Alderfer continued his record-breaking season with his gold medal in the 1500m. He led from the start, but put more than two seconds between himself and the pack during the third lap en route to his time of 3:51.02. He beat the previous meet record by more than five seconds. Ian McDonald of Washington and Lee held the top time of 3:56.27 since 2016.
In the 200m, Johnson sat second after Friday’s preliminaries before taking off in the finals. Not only did his time of 21.45 win Sunday’s race by more than half a second, but it also broke the meet record of 21.55 set by Randy Lott of Virginia Wesleyan in 2014.
Alderfer had an equally exciting race in the 800m. The junior made his move up in the pack late in the first lap, and then took over the lead on the backside of the second lap. Coming down the final stretch, Alderfer was still in first until Lynchburg’s Sam Llaneza passed a handful of runners and beat Alderfer by 0.06 at the final. Llaneza was first in 1:53.04 while Alderfer claimed the silver in 1:53.10, flipping the order from the 1500m results.
Johnson also earned points in a second individual event, coming in fourth in the 400m. His time there was 50.25.
Senior Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) rounded out the men’s scoring, as he took sixth place in the 3000m steeplechase. Allen was just a second off his PR time in 10:04.68.
The men earned 36 points as a team, coming in eighth out of 11 teams. Lynchburg ran away with the team title on their home field with 246 points.
Shelly was a highlight for the women, scoring points in all three of her races. She ran a PR in the 1500m, where she was at the tail end of the lead pack, taking sixth in 5:10.03. Shelly also ran her top time in the 10000m, again taking sixth place with a time of 40:44.16. The junior finished seventh in the 5000m, clocking in at 19:19.21.
New athletes brought in a number of point-earning finishes for the women. Vanessa Gardiner (Springfield, Va./John R. Lewis) took fifth place in the 3000m steeplechase, earning a big PR. Abby Kaufman (Maplewood, Mo./Maplewood Richmond Heights) capped her first season with a huge PR in the javelin, breaking 30 meters for the first time. She finished sixth at the meet with a throw of 30.20m. Classmate Kate Landis (Sellersville, Pa./Dock Mennonite Academy) grabbed the final point in the event, as her throw of 29.20m taking eighth.
Lene Andrawas (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) was within inches of her PR in the shot put, taking eighth place with a distance of 9.82m.
Kendra Oguamena (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams) was eight in the 100m dash at 13.05. She earned a trip to the finals with a wind-aided 12.92 in the prelims.
The women totaled 18 points for eights place out of 11 teams. Lynchburg also won the women’s title with 238 points.
The majority of the EMU track & field athletes wrapped up their year with the ODAC Championships, although a handful will continue into May’s rounds of last chance meets. The NCAA Championships are slated for May 27-29.