The United States Merchant Marine Academy men's track and field team competed in the New Jersey Invitational this past weekend, hosted by The College of New Jersey.
Other teams competing also included TCNJ, Haverford, NYU, Widener, Farmingdale, Rutgers-Newark, Rutgers-Camden, St. Joseph's, Lehman, Monroe, Caldwell, and Fashion Institute of Technology as well as a large contingent of post-collegiate athletes and clubs. These clubs included, Central Park Track Club-New Balance, New Jersey/New York Track Club, Shore Athletic Club, Guyana National Team, The Executive Track Club, Gotham Spark, Jamaican Wonders, Synergy Track Club Bronx Tigers and various unattached competitors.
The Mariners performance of the meet came from senior Kevin Stapf (pictured right) whose javelin throw of 59.08m (193'10") ranked him 1st among collegiate competitors and 2nd overall. Staph is currently ranked 18th in the country. "Kevin is just getting better by the week. Being new to the sport he still has lots of room for improvement," said Head Coach Gregory Lott. "He is starting to show some national caliber talent that we will continue to develop over the coming weeks. It has been a few years since USMMA has had a competitor representing the Academy at the NCAA National Championships and Kevin has a legitimate chance to do just that."
Other Kings Point throwers had a strong day as well. Junior Jay Giblin set a new personal record in the hammer throw with a distance of 38.70m (127'), placing him 5th overall. In the shot put, senior Ed Logan had his best throw of the outdoor season with a mark of 12.67m (41'7") to place 3rd overall and senior Aaron Benson placed 5th with a mark of 12.0m (120'11"). Benson also has a strong showing in the Discus, placing 7th with a mark of 36.85m. Senior Preston Nicholl also had a great day in the Javelin with a significant improvement to his personal best mark, throwing 44.28m (145'3") placing 10th overall.
Freshman Tomas Sanchez had an incredible day on the track for the Mariners. Never having run under 1:59.00 in the 800m Sanchez ran to a time of 1:56.06 just missing out on the ECAC Qualifying mark. Sanchez then came back in the 4x400m relay to run his fastest ever split of a 49.6, eclipsing the 50.0 second barrier for his first time. "We have really been working with Tomas on getting more aggressive at the beginning of his races. Tomas is changing his tactics and it is really paying off," said Coach Lott. "He is still a very young athlete that is learning how to race properly. There is no doubt that he has some significant more time that he can drop this season."
Senior Kevin Young was back in action for his first individual race in a couple of weeks and competed in the 800m running to a time of 2:01.07 winning his heat. Coach Lott praised Young on his return, "I was so pleased to see Kevin run a strong race. I was even happier that it was pain free. He is a very important cog in our team and we need him back and healthy to be successful."
Kings Point set a new Academy record in the 4x1500m relay. Freshmen Alex Megeff, David McGowan, Nicholas Walsh and junior Daniel Baxter combined for a time of 18:25.08. Megeff also had a strong showing in his first collegiate 3k finishing 16th overall with a time of 9:25.45.
Senior Richard Shelest had another great run and for the 2nd week in a row finished under the 52 second barrier in the 400m. He placed 14th of 47 competitors with a time of 51.78, 2nd fastest ever.
In the long jump, freshman Luke Kolbeck placed 6th overall (2nd among collegiate competitors) with his 2nd best mark of the season with a distance of 6.53m (21'5").
Finally, in the 4x400m relay, senior Hunter Karass teamed with Sanchez, Shelest, and Young to win the heat finishing with a time of 3:27.60.
The Mariners will be in action next weekend in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at the Moravian Invitational hosted by Moravian College. They will return to the same site in two weeks for the Landmark Conference Championships.