Navy Wins Patriot League Indoor Championship
Feb. 24, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Navy men's track & field multi-event athlete Ron Belany (Sr./Haiku, Hawai'i) won the 60-meter hurdles and was crowned the field athlete of the meet as the Midshipmen won the 2008 Patriot League Championship on Sunday at Bucknell's Gerhard Field House.
The Midshipmen used 14 IC4A performances to finish the three-day championship with 188.5 points, 50.5 more than second-place host Bucknell and 80.5 higher than co-preseason favorite Army. The Patriot League Indoor title is the third for the Mids within the last-five years and their first since the 2005 championship. In addition to the team title, head coach Stephen Cooksey was recognized as the Patriot League Coach of the Year.
"This was just a great day by the entire team," stated Cooksey. "We knew coming in that we had some stronger scoring events, but we would also need the depth to step up and get points in some other areas. That's exactly what happened - all of our guys dug deep and gave us a comfortable lead going into the final events."
Belany, who provisionally qualified for NCAA Championship in winning the heptathlon and also topped the field in the long jump on Saturday, posted an 8.12-second clocking to win the 60-meter hurdles. The personal-best showing also ranks as the third-fastest time in school history, just 0.05-second off the record set by Adesina Ekundayo in 2002. Belany was not alone in etching his name into the record books in the event on Sunday, as Matthew Hanley (So./Rapid City, S.D.) came in second with a career-best time of 8.20 seconds, the seventh-fastest mark in program history.
"Ron Belany did a great job all weekend and had a tremendous day," said Cooksey. "We knew how tired he was going to be in order to deliver in every area we asked of him this weekend. We got some luck yesterday when there were only 15 entries in the 60-meter hurdles, so the preliminary round was skipped and he was able to get some added rest."
Navy's biggest production came in the 800-meter run, where the Midshipmen claimed three of the top-five times to capture 20 points. Team captain Craig Meekins (Sr./Baldwin, N.Y.) led all runners with a time of 1:53.40, soon followed by Paul Harris's (Sr./Fairburn, Ga.) 1:53.71 second-place clocking. Lucas Burke rounded out Navy's scoring in the event with a fifth-place 1:55.14 showing.
The Mids delivered two of the three-top distances in the shot put to total 16 points. Darryl Hunter (Sr./Des Moines, Iowa) out-distanced the field with a career-best mark of 56'3-3/4" (17.16 meters) and Andre Barber (Sr./Carrollton, Texas) landed third with a career-best effort of 53'4-1/4" (16.26 meters).
The Midshipmen also came away with 11 points in the 3,000-meter run by virtue of three top-six efforts, all of which surpassed the IC4A standard. John Olsen (Sr./Staten Island, N.Y.), who placed fourth in the 5,000-meter run on Saturday, finished second on Sunday with a career-best time of 8:19.02. Andrew Hanko (Fr./Montville, N.J.) came in fifth with a 8:25.01 showing and Matthew Leyndyke (Jr./Traverse City, Mich.) placed sixth with a 8:29.45 clocking.
The Navy 4x400-meter relay recorded one other event victory on the track on Sunday. The group of Kevin Edwards (Fr./Charlotte, N.C.), Will Ricks (Sr./Hopewell, Va.), Meekins and Harris teamed up for a time of 3:18.59, 0.19-second ahead of Army's second-place time.
In the field, Navy also brought home 10 points in the triple jump with a first-place mark. Dante Marshall (Sr./Hermitage, Pa.) came up with a season-best distance of 49'1-3/4" (14.98 meters) to best all jumpers.
Ben Kozy (Sr./Houston, Texas) came in third in the mile run with a 4:12.86 showing, followed by Andrew Grant's (Jr./Athens, Ga.) 4:15.47 showing for fifth place. Later in the day, Kozy returned in the 1,000-meter run and placed sixth with a 2:30.86 showing.
Another highlight of the day was produced by sprinter Shun White (Jr./Memphis, Tenn.) in the 60-meter dash finals. One day after breaking the school record in the semifinals, White tied for second in the finals with a time of 6.95 seconds, the third-fastest mark in program history. He finished just 0.07-second off the first-place time produced by Lafayette's Kyle Clayton.
The Midshipmen will next head to Boston for the IC4A Championship on March 8-9.