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Mariners Withstand Fierce Competition in Outdoor Season Opener

The United States Merchant Marine Academy men's track and field team travelled to West Point this past Saturday to begin their outdoor season in wintery surroudnings at the Dick Shea Open.

Weather conditions were less than favorable with temperatures ranging from the upper 30s to lower 40s coupled with drizzling rain.  The field consisted over 1,100 entrants from schools which included Army, Binghamton, Hofstra, Molloy, St. Rose, Queens, Pace, Army Prep, Navy Prep, SUNY-Cortland, SUNY-Plattsburgh, SUNY-New Paltz, SUNY- Delhi, SUNY-IT, Stevens Institute, Pratt Institute, Vassar, St. Joseph's (LI), Manhattanville, Medger Evers, Dominican, CCNY, Mount Saint Mary's, Queensborough CC, Bergen CC, Nassau CC, and various unattached and club competitors. 

Despite the wet conditions, the Mariners turned in a solid all-around performance.

Competing in his first ever competition, senior Kevin Staph placed third overall in the javelin throw and was the Mariner's highest individual competitor of the day.  He had two throws over 56 meters with his best mark reaching 56.38.  "Kevin has been working very hard all through the winter with Coach de Jesus to prepare for this spring season," said Head Coach Gregory Lott.  "He had a great start to the season but still has much more that he will soon exhibit.  There is no doubt that his mark will improve significantly as the season progresses".

In the hammer throw, junior Jay Giblin set a lifetime best mark of 36.22 meters and placed 16th overall.  Senior Aaron Benson also set a lifetime best record in the discus throw with a mark of 35.82 meters, good enough for 20th overall.  Both throws were in a tough field featuring a variety of NCAA Division-I competitors.

Senior Logan Swan led the way for the distance group that performed very well in the 5K. Swan, who had never previously broken the 17 minute barrier in the event ran a fantastic personal best mark of 16:33.99. Fellow senior Brendan von Koss also ran a lifetime best coming through the line in 17:13.99. Coach Lott was impressed by both of their performances, "I was so proud of those two guys. They have both been working hard. Logan in particular has really been doing all of the little things needed to improve. These Seniors are shining examples for the younger guys on our team about how the hard work can pay off."  Freshman Alex Megeff also represented the distance group well in his first 1500m race finishing with a time of 4:20.19.  This finish placed him 24th overall in a field of over 60 competitors.

Sprints and relays ran very solid marks considering the conditions weren't conducive to fast performances in these event groups. The 4x400m team of senior Hunter Karass, freshman Chris Cook, freshman Tomas Sanchez and senior Richard Shelest (pictured right) ran a very good season opening time of 3:29.53 to place 2nd overall in the meet. The 4 x 100m relay team of Karass, senior Ryan Faber, freshman Luke Kolbeck, and Cook had a good start as well running to a 4th place finish in 44.66.

Individually, Sanchez placed 8th overall in the 800m with a time of 1:59.00, Shelest placed 12th overall in the 400m with a time of 53.20 and Cook placed 10th overall in the 200m with a time of 23.23.

Next week the Mariners head to Allentown, Pennsylvania for the Muhlenberg College Invitational.