May 3, 2008
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy men's track and field team continued its strong showing from Friday and won its first Patriot League outdoor track and field championship in school history, scoring 199 points to outdistance second-place Army by 20 points. The title snapped Army's 16-year title run and the Mids became the first team other than Army to win the title since 1991.
The victory also allowed Navy to claim both the indoor and outdoor titles in the same season for the first time and gave Navy its seventh Patriot League championship in all sports during the 2007-08 season.
"We got things going great yesterday and we continued it today," said Navy head coach Steve Cooksey, who was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year. "We had a problem where the staff was concerned just with running the meet and were trying to put together the best meet possible. For the most part, the athletes did a great job motivating themselves and knowing what needed to be done. We had some letdowns in spots and a couple of key injuries that cost us points, but our underclassmen really stepped up. It was a total team effort."
The Mids suffered a setback when senior Paul Harris came up lame after about 550 meters in the 800-meter run. Harris was in the lead by about five meters, when he grabbed the back of his leg and was forced to pull out of the race. Harris was unable to continue, costing the Mids a chance at several more points.
Navy, however, didn't need the points in cruising to the title. The Mids got things started early in the field events, placing first and fourth in the shot put, first and second in the discus and first in the high jump.
Darryl Hunter, who earned Patriot League Field Performer of the Meet accolades, claimed both the shot put and discus. He gained NCAA Regional qualifying marks in the shot put with a heave of 57-5.75, then earned IC4A qualifying marks in the discus with a throw of 158-11, to earn titles in both events. Andre Barber also reached IC4A qualifying marks in both events with a fourth-place showing in the shot put (51-7) and a second-place finish in the discus (158-11).
then won the high jump with a IC4A qualifying mark of 6-8.25.
Navy football players Shun White and Reggie Campbell then recorded strong marks in the sprints. White placed second in the 100-meter dash (10.77; IC4A) and Campbell was third (10.88; IC4A). White then won the 200-meter dash title (21.72; IC4A), while Campbell was fifth (22.09).
"Those guys were huge for us," said Cooksey. "They joined us late in the year, but they really stepped up and gave us some big points."
The Mids won two other events during the championship. Craig Meekins won the 800-meter dash with an NCAA Regional-qualifying time of 1:49.35, while John Olsen won the 3,000-meter steeplechase with an NCAA Regional-qualifying time of 9:03.23.
William Ricks placed second in the 400-meter dash (48.09; IC4A), Andrew Hanko was second in the 5,000-meter run (14:50.55) and the 4x100-meter relay team of White, Kevin Edwards, Campbell and Ron Belany was also second (41.67; IC4A).
Belany competed in five events, scoring points in four of them.
"He had a great meet and really gave us a lift," said Cooksey. "That was a gutsy performance by him this weekend."
Earning bronze medals were Balany in the 110-meter hurdles (14.43; IC4A) and Gavin MacGarva in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:22.31).
"I have to give a lot of credit to Jason Grimes and Chris Campbell," said Cooksey. "Grimes has done a great job with the jumpers and short sprints and Campbell did a great job with the throws. He is an alum, so he has to be very pleased with their performance. It just feels great to get it done this weekend. I am proud of everyone involved with this program."
Navy will compete in the IC4A Championships next Friday-Sunday at Princeton, N.J.
# GO NAVY #