Purchase, NY – The United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners wouldn't let torrential rains and the threat of tornados stop them from running away with the Purchase College Invitational victory on Saturday afternoon.
Merchant Marine finished first out of seven teams. In a field which featured Purchase College, FDU-Florham, CIA, Sarah Lawrence, Albertus Magnus, and NYU-Poly, the Mariners ran away with the meet placing in the first 12 spots.
Scoring 15 points, (a perfect score) the next closest team was CIA with 78 points. Even in the wettest and sloppiest of conditions USMMA's top five runners all finished the 8K course in less than 30 minutes.
Freshman Andrew Walsh led the way, winning the meet. His time of 28:44 was 30 seconds faster than the meet winner at the same event last year.
Freshman John Weldon ended up placing third after having a 60-70 meter lead on the field near the end of the race. A mismarked section caused Weldon to run off course, paving the way for his teammate Walsh to win the event. Weldon ended with a time of 28:55 even after having to make up the ground he erroneously traversed once his error was spotted.
Rounding out the top five were sophomore David McGowan who came in second with a time of 28:49, freshman Brendan Dooley who finished fourth with a time of 29:07 and senior Daniel Baxter whose fifth place finish and a time of 29:48 may seem even more impressive considering he ran roughly three quarters of the race with a tack lodged in his foot after it penetrated his shoe in the meet's early stages.
"We really worked on running in groups as a team," said Head Coach Greg Lott. "The guys pushed each other well. If they can run like this throughout the season, they'll see a great deal of success.
The Mariners will be competing against a strong field next weekend at the C.W. Post Invitational.