Ewing, NJ -- Freshman Tomas Sanchez (Okinawa, Japan) and senior Daniel Baxter (Cosxackie, NY) both qualified for ECAC Championships Saturday afternoon as the United States Merchant Marine Academy competed in the New Jersey Invitational on the campus of TCNJ.
More than 600 athletes from over 25 colleges as well as professional and club teams were in attendance including TCNJ, NYU, Monroe Community College, Richard Stockton, Montclair State, and Farmingdale State as well as athletes from New Balance, The Central Park Track Club and Shore Athletic Club.
In the 800m, Sanchez was the overall meet champion in a field of over 60 competitors with a time of 1:54.58; outkicking Scott Martin, a professional runner from the Central Park Track Club. The mark was Sanchez's new calendar personal best, his second best ever, and was good enough to qualify for ECAC Championships.
Baxter was right behind him, finishing third overall (second collegiate athlete) with a new personal best run by a full three seconds finishing in 1:55.19; also an ECAC qualifier.
The two runs are the fastest marks in the Landmark Conference this season. Freshman Andrew Walsh (Granville, OH) also had a solid race, placing 12th overall with a time of 2:01.08.
USMMA's 4x100 relay team of freshman Alex Waterbury, junior Tyler McDaniel (Colorado Springs, CO), freshman Jacob Weaver (Clifton, TX), and freshman Thomas Duncan (Orlando, FL) had their fastest run of the year placing sixth with a time of 44.12s.
The 4x400m relay also set a new season best time as McDaniel, freshman Martin Craig, Sanchez, and Weaver placed seventh overall finishing in 3:27.93. For Weaver, it was his first time splitting under 51s, and McDaniel set a new personal best in the opening leg.
In addition to his great relay split, Waterbury also shaved .54s off of his personal best 200m finishing in 23.58s.
In the throws, sophomore Ryan Pierson set a new personal best mark in the Shot Put by over a meter with a distance of 12.05m (39'6.5") and senior Jay Giblin (Petaluma, CA) and freshman Giovanni Sessoms (Alpharetta, GA) placed second and sixth overall respectively in the Hammer Throw with distances of 41.10m (134'10") and 33.20 (108'11").
Weaver made his debut in the 100m with a time of 11.74s and set a new personal best in the 200m with a time of 22.36; ranking him fourth in the conference.
In the 400m, freshmen Ian Helis (Carlisle, PA) and Gus Newkirk (Plano, TX) set strong personal bests. Helis knocked .78s off of his time running a 52.36 while Newkirk showed equal improvement dropping .79s for a mark of 53.40; finishing 18th and 23rd respectively at the meet.
Sophomore David McGowan (Clarksville, MD) ran an outstanding 3000m with a new personal best of 9:16.76, closely followed by freshman Brendan Dooley (Hebron, KY) who finished with a personal outdoor best time of 9:23.69.
In the 400 Hurdles, freshman Mitchell Boyd opened his season with a run of 64.17s to place 18th.
All four Mariners who ran in the Steeplechase set new personal best marks as freshman Jason Black (Sigonella, Italy), senior Mason Fonseca (San Antonio, TX), sophomore Nicolas Wlash (Dubai, UAE), and sophomore Anthony Konecni (Boise, ID) finished in 10:26.64, 10:34.72, 10:37.64, and 11:15.68 respectively.
"This was a very strong meet for our guys," said Head Coach Greg Lott. "We seem to be coming together at the right time; we should have some big marks over the next couple of weeks."
Next week Merchant Marine will be heading to Bethlehem, PA for the Greyhound Invitational at Moravian College.