BC Second (Twice) In ODAC Track
Men And Women Expect To Send Athletes To D3 Meet
HARRISONBURG — It was an “almost” kind of weekend for Bridgewater College track and field coach Shane Stevens and the Eagles at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championships in Salem.
“It was really good. We got close to winning and geez, we were just a little bit short,” Stevens said. “We had great efforts out of a lot of our kids. Almost… but in retrospect the kids did a heck of a job.”
The Eagles finished second in both the men’s and women’s standings, coming up short by 15 points on the men’s side and 16 on the women’s. Lynchburg (162 points) won the men’s title; Roanoke (150.33) took the women’s.
Sophomore Kaylee Kubisiak won both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races, freshman Darin Council won the triple-jump and senior Ben Martindell won the 110-meter hurdles for the Eagles.
“As coaches, you hope the kids are going to be up for the meet,” said Stevens, who is in his 30th year at Bridgewater. “They really banded together. We have a pretty close knit bunch and a good group of assistants that really brought all this to bear.”
Two BC athletes won individual honors: Kubisiak was the women’s Athlete of the Year and Council was the men’s Rookie of the Year in the ODAC.
Kubisiak, who also ran in the NCAA Division III cross country championships in November, is one of three athletes Stevens thinks will make the NCAA outdoor championships, which are scheduled for May 22-24 in Delaware, Ohio. Sophomore Kristen Trice (high jump) and freshman Katelyn Senger (discus) also have a shot.
“It’s nice if you’re able to win it, but our kids are very hungry and they’re very determined,” Stevens said. “We lose a few seniors, but hopefully this makes us hungry to win next year.”
For Eastern Mennonite, the men’s and women’s teams each finished seventh at the ODAC meet, but the Royals did have several standouts. Sophomore Hannah Chappell-Dick won the 1,500-and 800-meter races, breaking the meet record in the 1,500 with a time of 4:38.61, beating second-place finisher Annalise Madison of Washington & Lee by a full second. In the 800, Chappell-Dick ran an EMU record time of 2:18.31, more than three seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
Not bad for a runner who has yet to run a full schedule at EMU. After battling injuries as a freshman, she returned to become the first Royal since 2002 to compete in the NCAA cross country championship meet. She then missed almost the whole indoor season with mononucleosis, EMU coach Jason Lewkowicz said.
“She came in with some pretty good credentials and the crazy part is she’s not been healthy for a full year,” Lewkowicz said. “It’s been a roller coaster for her, but she’s immensely talented.”
The Bluffton, Ohio, native will continue to compete in several tune-up races before a probable trip to the NCAA championships.
The runners are ranked throughout the season, with the top 24 women and top 22 men selected on May 17. In the most recent rankings by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, Chappell-Dick is third in D-3.
“To see what she’s done and be third or fourth in the country and we’re still just getting her in shape,” Lewkowicz said. “I think she can still drop some time. The sky’s the limit for her.”
EMU also had the top three finishers in the high jump, led by senior Jordan King, who won his fourth straight ODAC indoor and outdoor title with a jump of 6 feet, 8.25 inches. The mark was an EMU record.
A converted basketball player, King and teammates Quentin Moore and Drew Vrolijk each claimed All-ODAC honors, and Lewkowicz believes all three have a realistic shot at making the NCAA meet.
“It makes me look good, I guess,” Lewkowicz joked. “To see the rest of the field go out and our three guys still standing that was my hope. That’s what I wanted to see.”
Moore, who plays volleyball at EMU, just recently joined the track-and-field team.
His skill, Lewkowicz said, is un-matched, and he’s getting by on talent alone.
“He’s just had a few weeks of practice with us and he’s been great,” Lewkowicz said. “Right now it’s raw athleticism. He’s just got tremendous ability. He did what he did from seven steps. There’s no telling what he can do… he’s just immensely talented.”
Lewkowicz said EMU has by far the youngest team in the ODAC, and the experience gained this weekend is valuable moving forward.
“The ones who win get the press, but we have a lot of people on the fringe of being at the front of this meet,” Lewkowicz said. “Our on paper performance wasn’t that strong, but we were a few points from fourth.
“We have a ton of talent in the ODAC … so we’re kind of in a position that we’re just growing our team and biding our time. Our time is coming. We’re a little frustrated in the final result, but we’re looking big picture.”