Selinsgrove, PA – The United States Merchant Marine Academy men's track and field team prepared themselves for their Conference Championship meet in two weeks by competing at the Susquehanna Invitational Saturday afternoon in Sellinsgrove, PA
The meet consisted of high caliber teams throughout the northeast, including several of the nation's top-ranked athletes. Programs competing at the meet included Salisbury, Roanoke, Messiah, Dickinson, Gettysburg, D-I Loyola-MD, Elizabethtown, York (PA), Frostburg State, Pitt-Johnstown, Gallaudet, Hagerstown Community College, Moravian, Susquehanna, Catholic, and Goucher.
Five of the six Landmark Conference track and field programs were represented at the meet hosted by Susquehanna. Sophomore Mickel McGann (Ocala, FL) bested all other Landmark Conference athletes in the three events in which he competed.
McGann ran the opening leg of the 4x200m relay that won the meet in dominating fashion with a time of 1:34.37. Along with freshman Jacob Weaver (Clifton, TX), junior Tyler McDaniel (Colorado Springs, CO), and freshman Thomas Duncan (Orlando, FL), the 4x200m relay team defeated second place Susquehanna by a full second, capturing the top mark this year in the Landmark Conference. It was also the second fastest 4x200m relay in academy history; even topping the 2011 Merchant Marine ECAC qualifying team.
In the 60m trials, McGann won his heat with a time 7.29s and ended up placing third overall; bested only by the nation's fastest sprinter Aaron Pannell from Dickinson College and Xavier Robertson from York (PA). McGann's run of 7.21s in the finals was the fifth fastest 60m run in academy history.
McGann also came in third overall in the 200m, finishing with a time of 23.52s, which cranks 20th on Merchant Marine's all-time list.
Senior Daniel Baxter (Cosxackie, NY) placed third overall in the 800m breaking the two-minute barrier with time of 1:59.47. This ranks eighth all-time at the academy and is the first USMMA athlete to crack the indoor top 20 in this event since 2004. Freshman Andrew Walsh (Granville, OH) finished right behind Baxter to place sixth with a time of 2:01.21.
In the 400m, freshman Dylan Tack (Coupeville, WA) finished third with a lifetime best mark of 52.34s.
Freshman Brendan Dooley (Hebron, KY) had significant improvement to his lifetime best in the one mile run with a time of 4:31.28; placing fifth overall amidst a stellar field. His mark was good for eighth place on the academy's all-time list just behind teammate Andrew Walsh. Including Dan Baxter, three current Mariner teammates now hold spots on the academy's top 10 list for the one mile run.
In the Long Jump , sophomore Ryan Faber (Littlespoon, PA) placed third overall in the meet with a distance of 6.22m.
Sophomore Luke Kolbeck (Germantown, WI) had a strong all-around day placing seventh in the Long Jump with a distance of 6.02m and eighth in the High Jump with a mark of 1.73m; .02m off of his personal best. Kolbeck also ran a significant personal best in the 60m Hurdles with a time of 9.27s; dropping .22s off his top lifetime mark and earning the number 10 spot on USMMA's all-time list.
In the Triple Jump, freshman Chase Dwyer (Pittsburgh, PA) placed fourth overall with a mark of 12.25m.
Freshman Jon Weldon (Houston, TX) also ran a lifetime best mark in the 3K with a time of 9:26.81 placing 10th overall at the meet.
"Our men are looking very strong," said Head Coach Greg Lott. "It was a good overall performance this weekend. These next two weeks will be critical for us as we prepare for the conference championships."
The majority of the Merchant Marine track and field squad will be heading to the Molloy College Invitational Friday February 15, with a small number of top athletes heading to the Armory Fast Track Challenge in hopes of attaining additional ECAC qualifying marks.