The United States Merchant Marine Academy men's track and field team was in action this past weekend at the Muhlenberg Invitational in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Weather conditions were much more favorable than last weekend's meet as temperatures crept into the low 60's. The Mariners faced off against top regional competition which included powerhouse programs such as: Haverford, Muhlenburg, Ithaca, East Stroudsberg, Misericordia, Elizabethtown, Lebanon Valley, Delaware Valley, Albright, Alfred, DeSales, Moravian, Philadelpia University and Middlesex CC.
The top performance of the day came from freshman Luke Kolbeck who set a personal best mark in the long jump breaking the 22' barrier with a jump of 6.69m. Kolbeck's jump placed him 5th overall and improved on his personal best distance from the indoor season by one third of a meter. "Luke is the latest of a stellar freshman class to lead the way for the Mariners," said Head Coach Gregory Lott. "He is establishing himself as a multi-event threat in our conference and proving that he will be a force in the decathlon." Kolbeck also made his season high jump debut placing 8th overall clearing 1.75 meters (5'9") and just missed clearing the 5'11" bar. He also set a personal best mark in the 110m hurdles running a time of 17.32, finishing in 10th place and narrowly missing out on the finals.
Freshman Chris Cook had the top single event performance for Kings Point placing first with a distance of 6.87m (22'6.5"). The jump was good enough to qualify for ECAC championship competition, established a new personal best record for Cook, and was just one inch shy of breaking the longest standing outdoor record in USMMA history. He also had a solid day on the track with a great spilt in the 4x400m relay. Cook's season opening time of 11.34 in the 100 meters placed him 11th overall in a field of 43 competitors.
Throwers represented the Academy well and were led by senior Kevin Stapf in the Javelin. Stapf placed 4th overall with a throw of 55m (180'6"). All three competitors that placed ahead of him ended up qualifying for the NCAA National Championships. In the discus throw, all three Mariners who competed achieved personal best marks. Senior Aaron Benson finished in 9th place overall with a mark of 37.67m (123'7") and Sophomore Richard Zyvoloski placed 10th overall with a throw of 36.10m (118'6"). Benson also placed 8th in the Shot Put with his second best ever throw of 12.19m (40'). Junior Jay Giblin garnered another 8th place finish for the Mariners in the Hammer throw with a new personal best mark of 36.43m (119'7").
The 400m ended up being a great event for USMMA as freshman Tomas Sanchez (50.89) and senior Richard Shelest (51.50) both ran personal best times and placed 6th and 11th respectively. In the 5K, freshman duo of Alex Megeff and Nicholas Walsh ran solid races placing 3rd and 5th overall with times of 16:36.97 and 16:40.88. For both, it was their first effort of their collegiate careers at that distance.
In the 4x800m relay senior Kevin Young, sophomore Thomas Routt, freshman Tomas Sanchez, senior Logan Swan (pictured right) finished 5th overall with a time of 8:22.33. In the 4x400m relay, senior Hunter Karass, senior Richard Shelest, freshman Chris Cook, and freshman Logan Shatters finished with a time of 3:28.45 for the 2nd fastest time of the year for Kings Point behind only the Conference Record setting indoor performance.
The Mariners will continue their outdoor season next weekend in Ewing, New Jersey at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) for the Lions Invitational.