A small contingent of Mariners competed at the Matthew Vassar Open on Friday chasing after ECAC qualifying marks. In addition to the host institution Vassar College, a group of local colleges and club athletes competed as well. These competitors included Stevens Institute, Marist College, SUNY New Paltz, Mount St. Mary's, Bard, Hunter College, CCNY, Medgar Evers, Lehman and Dutchess CC.
It was a beautiful evening for competition that saw some fantastic performances for USMMA. Freshman Tomas Sanchez (pictured) competed in the 800m and obtained his first individual ECAC mark of the Outdoor season. He lowered his personal best from 1:56.06 to 1:54.37, bettering the qualifying mark by nearly a full second. "Tomas got out and ran a great first quarter. His closing speed has always been phenomenal but this was the first time that he put himself in the proper position through the first 400m," said Head Coach Gregory Lott. This more aggressive style will really serve him well. He is extremely talented and is just learning how to run this race. He is just scratching the surface of what he can do through 800m." Sanchez was the 2nd place collegiate finisher and the 3rd place finisher overall in the meet. He will also be competing in the 4 x 400m relay at the ECAC Championships.
Freshman Chris Cook and senior Richard Shelest competed in the 400m and ran very well through some unique conditions. Due to an error from the timing company, the heats were randomized putting the fastest runners in different heats and essentially forcing them to run the race by themselves. Cook still ran a blistering 48.84 to take first overall in the meet and hit an ECAC qualifying time in the event. This mark is very close to the Academy Record and places him 35th in the nation at 400m. Cook will attempt to hit marks that will solidify his places at the NCAA Championships over the next two weeks in both the Long Jump and the 400m. Shelest completed the 400m race in 51.50, tying his second best mark ever and finishing fourth overall at the meet. "It's very tough to essentially run a time trial by yourself on the track; there is a reason why people of comparable speed are always placed in the same section," said Coach Lott." I was very proud of the way Rich and Chris ran these races. They will each get another shot or two at the 400m this season and will probably drop significant time."
Senior Kevin Stapf competed in the Javelin and looked to better his national standing (24th) in the event. He won the event and surpassed the ECAC qualifying mark yet again. His throw of 56.95m was not his best of the year but it was a notch better than he threw at the Landmark Conference Championships. Coach Lott praised Stapf's performance, "Kevin had a much better day than it would appear from the results. He had been having some issues with his approach but he got those all ironed out in this competition. Now he will no longer need to focus on this aspect of the throw and should be prepared to really let loose at the Swarthmore last chance meet on May 14th".
Kings Point will have two more competitions before the ECAC Championships for their top athletes. Part of the squad will be headed to Georgian Court University next Sunday, May 13th and then to Swarthmore College on Monday May 14th.