May 28, 2008
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Nine members of the Navy men's track & field team will head down to Florida State's Mike Long Track in Tallahassee, Fla., for the NCAA East Region Championship this Friday and Saturday.
The top-five finishers in each event will earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 11-14. In addition, a handful of at-large competitors from across the country will also fill out the field at the national championship.
Last year, the Midshipmen finished 42nd at the NCAA East Region Championship held at Florida's James G. Pressly Stadium at Percy Beard Track. Paul Harris accounted for Navy's scoring at last year's regional, placing fifth in the 800-meter run finals to qualify for the national championship.
This season, Navy produced a 10-0 record during the outdoor slate and won its first Patriot League Championship. Two weeks ago, the Midshipmen landed in 45th place at the IC4A Championship in Princeton, N.J.
Navy's corps of five throwers comprises the majority of this year's squad at the NCAA East Region Championship.
Darryl Hunter (Sr./Des Moines, Iowa) will partake in two events this weekend - shot put and discus throw. Hunter's season-best toss of 57'5-3/4" (17.52 meters) in the shot put during the Patriot League Championship ranks him 15th in the region coming into the weekend. The Navy senior also qualified in the discus throw at the Star Meet against Army with a distance of 170'2" (51.88 meters). Joining Hunter in the discus throw will be Andre Barber (Sr,/Carrollton, Texas), who delivered a team-best mark of 171'2" (52.19 meters).
Navy will also have two of its own competing in the javelin throw on Friday night. Bo Lawson (Sr./Newton, N.J.) and Devan Clark (Fr./Lorton, Va.) both surpassed the regional standard in Navy's four-team meet on March 29 with season-best distances of 207'6" (63.26 meters) and 205'4" (62.60 meters), respectively. Mark Van Orden (So./Morris Plains, N.J.) rounds out the group of throwers, as his toss of 195'1" (59.47 meters) in the hammer throw at the Penn Relays earned him a spot in this weekend's championship.
On the track, Navy has two runners that rank among the top-20 competitors in the East. Craig Meekins
(Sr./Baldwin, N.Y.) completed the 800-meter run in 1:49.35 during the Patriot League Championship, which places him 12th in the region and 39th nationally. John Olsen
(Sr./Staten Island, N.Y.) broke the nine-minute barrier in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with his 8:58.31 showing at the Penn Relays to claim a spot this weekend and rank 17th in the East.
Two Navy jumpers will also see in action against the top competition in the region. Ron Belany (Sr./Haiku, Hawai'i) won the long jump in the Patriot League Championship with a distance of 24'3-1/2" (7.40 meters) and Dante Marshall (Sr./Hermitage, Pa.) soared 49'4-1/4" (15.04 meters) in the triple jump during Navy's first outdoor home meet of the year.