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USMMA Runs Best 4x400 Relay In Nearly a Decade, Qualifies for ECAC Championships

The United States Merchant Marine Academy men's track and field team competed this past weekend at the Greyhound Invitational hosted by Moravian College. 

The field of competition was stellar, including a variety of strong D-I programs such as Lehigh, Lafayette, Monmouth, Wagner, Rider, Colgate, St. Francis (PA), TCNJ, Susquehanna, Moravian, Goucher, Muhlenberg, Franklin and Marshall, York (PA), Medgar Evers, Messiah and Montclair St.  The Greyhound Invitational serves as a tune-up meet for the Landmark Conference Championships which will be held next weekend at Moravian College as well. 

The meet began on Friday with the hammer throw and shot put with the rest of the events taking place on Saturday.  The weather was favorable both days as temperatures throughout the competition hovered around the mid-70's.

The men had a strong start to the competition with all three hammer throwers setting personal best records.  Junior Jay Giblin led the way for the Mariners with a 2' improvement on his personal best mark bringing it to 39.33m (129'), and placing 21st overall.  Senior Ed Logan also had a solid day throwing the shot put placing 18th overall with a throw of 12.50m (41'25"). 

Success in the throws continued on day two with the Javelin competition featuring six of the nation's Top 20 throwers at the D-III level as well as a slew of talented D-I athletes. Senior Kevin Stapf had a good day for the Mariners in this tough field placing 9th place overall with a mark of 56.67m (185'11"). 

Senior captain Logan Swan continued his weekly improvement in the steeplechase with a mark of 10:39.93, his best of the season.  Freshman Alex Megeff ran a new personal best mark of 4:19.97 in the 1500m and was closely followed by sophomores Nathan Rogers and Thomas Routt with times of 4:21.41 and 4:21.73 respectively, which were the best marks of the season for both athletes.    

In the 40m, Freshman Tomas Sanchez (pictured) ran his 2nd fastest time ever placing 14th overall with a time of 50.96.  In the same event, freshman Logan Shatters shaved a huge amount of time off of his personal best mark crossing the finish line in 52.83.  Seniors Hunter Karass and Richard Shelest both ran season best marks in the 200m coming in at 24.00 and 24.19 respectively. 

The highlight of the meet came in the final event, the4x400m relay. The Mariners dropped over 6 seconds from their fastest time of the year and the fastest that Kings Point has run since 2004. In doing so, USMMA bested the ECAC qualifying mark by nearly three full seconds.

Shatters started the race off with a 53.0 split, and Shelest ran his fastest ever with a 49.8 split pulling the team into striking distance.  Sanchez, who ran a 50.1 split closed the gap even more passing Muhlenberg College's stellar team to hand off the baton in 3rd place, nearly 10 meters off the two leaders who were neck and neck.  Freshman Chris Cook, who had been kept fresh all day for this very reason unleashed the best run of his life with a 48.1 anchor leg closing the entirety of the gap on the home stretch and passed D-I Lafayette College in the last 5 meters of the race to come in 2nd place overall in the meet. 

"It was an absolutely outstanding race across the board from all of our runners. They ran very smart and exceeded my expectations," said Head Coach Gregory Lott.  "It was a great experience for them to be able to come into a meet like this and defeat all D-I and D-II teams in the competition. It was a great effort that qualified them for ECAC Championships.  Performances like this continue to raise the bar for our program". 

Kings Point will be in action next weekend as they head back to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for the Landmark Conference Championships.