Nov. 29, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The Navy men's track and field program has announced that its 2011-12 team captains will be Dominic Della Pelle
(Kennett Square, Pa.) and Christopher Ricks
(Reynoldsburg, Ohio). Della Pelle will be the team captain for the indoor season and Ricks will serve as the captain for the outdoor track and field season.
"Dominic has a fire burning in him to get it done," head coach Stephen Cooksey said. "He will show people the way. I think he is tough enough that he will stand up and verbalize what needs to be done with this team. His peers elected him captain; they see something in him they think will put this team on the right track."
Della Pelle competes in the middle distance events and is the returning Patriot League Indoor Champion in the mile run, as Navy went 1-2-3 in the event. Della Pelle also earned his fifth career IC4A All-East accolade by taking eighth in the 1,500m at the outdoor meet.
Della Pelle will be one of the top milers in the Patriot League this season and boasts a PR of 4:05.98 in the event. Della Pelle also brings out his best against Army. He moved down to the 800m run to win the event at both the indoor and outdoor Army-Navy Star Meets last season, the only two times he ran the half mile all season.
"I was real excited when I found out I was going to be team captain," Della Pelle said. "There's a lot of seniors on this team, a lot of good seniors, and we have a good team this year, so it's an honor to be captain."
Ricks is a thrower who is coming off a Patriot League Indoor weight throw title. Ricks missed the first couple of months of the year due to two injuries last season, but battled back to make a PR of 60-3¼ (18.37m) to take first place in the event at the league indoor meet, marking the fourth straight year that a Midshipman has won the weight throw title.
Ricks also had a successful outdoor season in the hammer throw, using a season-best throw of 178-10 (54.52m) to take second place at the Patriot League Championships. Ricks is also one of Navy's top javelin throwers. He competed in the NCAA's East Regional in the javelin in 2010 and earned IC4A All-East honors in the event in 2009.
"This is something I will take a lot of ownership of and a lot of pride in," said Ricks. "Especially because it's a group of your peers saying they want you to be their team captain. It means they have seen you perform and they want you to continue to step up and perform."
"Chris is a leader," said Cooksey. "He will step up and let people on the team know which direction they need to head and what they need to be doing to make the team better. I'm very comfortable with him being captain and he gives us somebody who is ready to compete all the time."
A closer look at Dominic Della Pelle...
What are your team goals for this season?
"Our team goals are to win Patriots, beat Army and get as many guys qualified for the IC4As as possible and hopefully get some guys to the NCAAs."
Which meet are you most looking forward to during the indoor season?
"I'm most looking forward to the Army meet. In indoor, we lost the last three years. We did pull out the Patriot League Championship over them last year, but I want to beat them head on."
What is your favorite meet?
"Penn Relays is always my favorite meet and something I look forward to. It's real close to home so my family always comes out. There are 50,000 people there in the crowd and everyone is there to watch track and field. It's always my favorite event of the year."
Why did you choose to attend the Naval Academy?
"I was unsure of what I wanted to do, but I was always interested in the military. [Assistant] Coach [Al] Cantello gave me a call one day and I got a letter in the mail from Navy so I started looking into it. I was a little unsure and I went to NAPS for a year, and I was still a little unsure. Then I came here and I loved it. I love the team and Coach Cantello. Cantello's tough, but he looks out for your best interests and tells you straight up how he feels and what he thinks you can do better. The school has a great education. It can be a struggle, but once I get through it I'm going to be real happy and this is what I want to do for the next few years."
What are you hoping to get for your service assignment?
A closer look at Chris Ricks...
What is the proudest moment of your Navy track and field career?
"Last year when we won the Patriot League. We got behind and it took collective individual efforts to propel the team forward. It was a special event and we definitely came together as a team. Sometimes track can be difficult because of injuries or not everyone hitting on all cylinders, but when things like that happen, it's definitely special."
What are some of the meets you're most looking forward to this year?
"Other than Army, there's certain meets that we get to travel to that you highlight. Whether it's the Penn Relays, or this year we are going to Clemson and North Carolina. Any time you get to test your skill against the best in the nation, against programs like Florida, the ACC or other big programs, its always something I look forward to doing."
What is your favorite aspect of being a Midshipman?
"Just the environment here. Being in such a challenging environment with truly good-hearted people. People, that regardless of tests or what they have going on in their family life, will always take time to help you out."
What is your service assignment?