Center Valley, PA – The United States Merchant Marine Academy men's track and field team set their first ECAC Qualifying mark of the 2013 outdoor season as the Mariners competed in the Muhlenberg invitational this past weekend at DeSales University.
USMMA faced solid competition as top programs in the east such as Haverford, Ithica, Gwynedd-Mercy, Muhlenberg, Ursinus, Moravian, Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr, Alfred, Albright, DeSales, Keystone, Delaware Valley, Penn State-Berks, Wilkes, and Middlesex Community College all competed. The field also included Kutztown, a member of Division-II.
The 4x800m relay team of freshman Andrew Walsh (Granville, OH), freshman Tomas Sanchez, freshman Brendan Dooley (Hebron, KY), and senior Daniel Baxter (Cosxackie, NY) eclipsed the 8:09.00 qualifying time for ECAC Championships with a mark of 8:01.47.
Finishing first overall, they bested the second place squad from Philadelphia University by over 16 seconds and just missed out on topping the USMMA record of 7:59.60 set in 1984.
"Our men ran really well. Walsh gave us a solid lead after the first leg and then Sanchez blew the race wide open," described Head Coach Greg Lott. "We ended up running by ourselves for most of the race. It's tough to achieve a great time without being pushed. Had someone been with our guys there is no doubt that the academy record would have fallen. I'm sure our guys will take it down when they next contest this relay at the ECAC Championships."
The splits for the 4x800m relay were: Walsh - 1:59.5, Sanchez – 1:57.7, Dooley – 2:05.4, and Baxter 1:58.6.
Sanchez also had an outstanding day individually as he placed sixth in the 400m amidst a tough field. His time of 50.70s is the same mark which won Sanchez a Landmark Conference Championship a year ago.
The 400m turned out to be a strong event in general for Kings Point as freshman Jacob Weaver (Clifton, TX) placed 19th with a time of 52.12s and both freshman Ian Helis (Carlisle, PA) and junior Jonathan Allen (Arlington, TX) had personal best performances with respective times of 53.41s and 55.73s.
USMMA had a strong day in throwing events as well. In the Hammer Throw, senior Jay Giblin (Petaluma, CA) placed sixth with a personal best distance of 42.80m, in the Javelin Throw freshman Zach Weaver also set a new personal high mark of 40.73m, and in the Discus Throw freshman Giovanni Sessoms (Alpharetta, GA) upped his personal best by over 1.5m placing 19th with a mark of 33.54m.
Other notable results included freshman Kenneth Pressey (Yorktown, VA) placing third overall in the High Jump with a mark of 1.80m, and the 4x100m relay team of freshman Alex Waterbury, junior Tyler McDaniel (Colorado Springs, CO), Weaver, and freshman Thomas Duncan (Orlando, FL) placed seventh with a time of 44.64s.
"McGowan has quickly regained his fitness after recently returning from a trimester at sea that kept him out of the indoor season," noted Head Coach Greg Lott. "That is something that is very difficult to do as a long distance runner. I'm so proud of the way that he worked while at sea and the dedication he has shown to be a leader for this program."
Merchant Marine will head to Ewing, NJ for next weekend's New Jersey Invitational hosted by TCNJ.