USMMA’s 4x800m Relay Sets New Academy Record, Topping Coast Guard at ECAC Championships

Dan Baxter
Dan Baxter

Springfield, MA – The United States Merchant Marine Academy Track and Field teams sent a handful of qualifiers to ECAC Championships this past weekend in search of national qualifiers.

The highlight of the meet for the Mariners came in the 4x800m relay when the team of freshman Gus Newkirk (Plano, TX), senior Daniel Baxter (Cosxackie, NY), freshman Andrew Walsh (Granville, OH), and freshman Tomas Sanchez (Okinawa, Japan) broke the academy record with a time of 7:55.2; placing 10th overall and defeating rival Coast Guard in the process.

Newkirk was a strong addition to the team this season as a great relay runner with the ability to run both the 400 and 800, while Walsh capped a strong freshman campaign by placing eighth in the Landmark Conference in the 1500m; grabbing the final scoring spot.  Both seem to be poised to add quality contributions to the Mariner squad over the next few years.

In the open 800m, Sanchez crossed the finish line with a time of 1:54, besting USCGA's top finisher.  Sanchez had a tremendous season, winning conference championships in both the 400m and 4x400m and set new personal bests in the 400m (50.1s) and 800m (1:53.4).

Baxter concluded his final season as a Mariner with a personal best mark of 1:55.1 in the 800m.  He also secured an individual conference championship, an ECAC qualifier in the 800m, and now an academy record in the 4x800m.

Senior Jessica Tyack (Lake Isabella, CA) competed in the Triple Jump to finish her strong senior season in which she claimed academy records in the 4x400m, 4x100m, and Triple Jump; constantly re-breaking her own marks from week to week. 

At Landmark Conference Championship Tyack was a valuable scorer for the Mariners, placing second in the Triple Jump, third in the High Jump, fourth in the 4x400m, sixth in the 200m, and sixth in the 4x100m, and eighth in the 100m.

In the 5000m, senior Gretchen Holoubek placed 12th overall with a time of 18:17.  This season she broke USMMA records in the 4x400m relay, 800m, 3000m, and 5000m; placing fourth at conference championships in the 1500m, third in the 800m, and fourth in the 4x400m.

The men's 4x400m relay team of freshman Jacob Weaver (Clifton, TX), freshman Ian Helis (Carlisle, PA), Sanchez, and Baxter ran a solid 3:24.77 to cap their season.

Weaver was one of the strongest contributors to the team throughout the year, including running a personal best of 50.70s in the 400m, placing first in the 4x400m at Landmark Conference Championships, second in the 400m, and fifth in the 200m.

Helis progressed incredibly well throughout the 2013 campaign, coming up big when it mattered most, running his fastest split of the year at the Landmark Conference Championship to help the Mariners capture first place.

Freshman Kenneth Pressey (Yorktown, VA) competed in the High Jump, capping off a great season in which he hit an impressive mark of 1.93m and scored big points for Merchant Marine placing second in the High Jump at Conference Championships. 

USMMA also had several other athletes qualify for ECACs, but were not able to compete.  Senior Tara Mulligan (Monroe, NY) qualified in the women's Hammer Throw and freshman Thomas Duncan (Orlando, FL), Weaver, freshman Tyler McDaniel (Colorado Springs, CO), and Alex Waterbury qualified for the men's 4x100m relay.