Navy Men's Indoor Track to Open Season Saturday
Senior Cody Rome
Dec. 1, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy men's track and field program will open its 2011-12 indoor season at the Navy Invitational on Saturday in the Wesley A. Brown Field House. Navy will play hosts to the 12-team invite and competition will begin with the weight throw at 11:00 AM. The first running event of the day will be the 5,000m run at 12 noon.
Other invitees are: American, Bowie State, Coppin State, Delaware State, Georgetown, Hampton, Johns Hopkins, Lincoln, UMES, Morgan State and Mount St. Mary's. There will be no team scoring.
Navy won five individual events at last year's Navy Invitational, which featured the majority of the same schools that will be in attendance on Saturday. Navy took first place in the mile (Jeremy Haney), 3,000m (Dominic Della Pelle), 5,000m (Andrew Hanko), pole vault (Nathan Woodason) and the weight throw (Nicholas Porter).
Following the Navy Invitational, The Mids will have four weeks off before returning for their annual dual meet against Princeton, at home on Jan. 7.
Navy Invitational Meet Schedule Field Events 11:00 am Weight Throw (Shot Put follows) 12:00 pm Long Jump (Triple Jump follows) 12:00 pm Pole Vault High Jump follows 60m Dash - finals
Running Events 12:00 pm 5000m Run 12:30 pm 60m Hurdles - trials 12:45 pm 60m Dash - trials 1:00 pm Distance Medley Relay 1:15 pm 60m Hurdles - finals 1:25 pm 60m Dash - finals 1:35 pm Mile Run 1:45 pm 400m Dash 2:05 pm 800m Run 2:20 pm 3000m Run 2:40 pm 200m Dash 2:55 pm 4x800m Relay 3:05 pm 4x400m Relay
Entry limits: Four individual entries per team/event, Two relay entries per team/event, Non-Scored Meet, Top nine performers advance to field event finals.
List of participating teams: Navy, American, Bowie State, Coppin State, Delaware State, Georgetown, Hampton, Johns Hopkins, Lincoln, UMES, Morgan State and Mount St. Mary's.
Parking Info: Only cars with Department of Defense stickers are permitted to drive onto the Yard. There will not be a shuttle service for this meet. It is recommended that fans park outside the Yard and walk through Gates 1 or 8
Navy Men's Track and Field Season Preview
Head coach Stephen Cooksey will enter his 24th season at the helm of the Navy men's track and field program in 2011-12 and is coming off a 2011 Patriot League Indoor Championship and a fifth career Patriot League Coach of the Year honor.
Cooksey has a solid returning group that features three athletes that competed in the NCAA's East Regional and eight athletes that earned IC4A All-East honors last year. Additionally, Navy brings back 13 athletes that earned All-Patriot First or Second Team honors in 2010-11.
The Navy distance squad is carrying great momentum into the track season, as the runners are coming off a fourth straight Patriot League Cross Country Championship in 2011, under the direction of head men's cross country coach and assistant track coach Al Cantello.
"I think the middle distance and distance will be a big area for us," Cooksey said. "Coming off another Patriot League Championship and a win over Army, they are coming in with a lot of confidence."
Navy will be expected to contend at the top of the Patriot League and will look to continue to send multiple athletes to the NCAA's East Regional.
Senior Alexander Jackson returns as the team's most accomplished sprinter. Jackson earned All-Patriot League Second Team honors by placing second in the 400m dash at the outdoor league meet in 2011, with a season-best time of 48.75. Junior Kolton Kempel will also be competitive in the 400m after placing third in the event at the indoor league meet last year.
Sophomore Brett Bogaard will be Navy's top returner in the 60m and 100m dashes. Bogaard was a top-eight finisher in both events in last year's Patriot League Championships. He also scored at the league meet in the 200m and was an IC4A qualifier in the event during the indoor season. Senior Isaac Teichgrab was also an IC4A qualifier in the indoor 200m dash.
"Bogaard ran well last year as a plebe and I think he is going to improve this year," said Cooksey. "Gallien is just absolutely tenacious. He gives you everything that's in him when he runs. Kempel did well last year as we went along and he was consistent."
Senior Dominic Della Pelle is the returning Patriot League champion in the mile and also earned IC4A All-East honors in the 1,500m last season. He has earned All-East honors five times in his career. Della Pelle's top mile time last season was a 4:05.98 and he clocked a 3:48.92 in the 1,500m. Della Pelle will serve as Navy's indoor season team captain.
"Dominic has a fire burning in him to get it done," 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."
Senior Matthew Evers is back for a final season after winning the 500m at the indoor league meet last winter. Evers qualified for the IC4A Indoor meet in both the 500m and the 800m, before missing the outdoor season due to an injury.
Senior Lucas Connelly took runner-up honors at the Patriot League Outdoor Championships in the 800m last season. He will look to carry that momentum into his senior season.
"Connelly ran extremely well at the end of last year and he has picked up right where he left off," said Cooksey.
Senior Jeremy Haney placed fifth in the mile at the IC4A meet to earn All-East honors and his third-place showing in the event at the Patriot League Indoor Championships allowed the Mids to go 1-2-3 in the event.
Navy will also have junior Joshua Shaw in the mix in the middle distance events.
"Shaw is starting to show some presence and show that he is a dog in the fight," Cooksey said. "He's got some speed."
"Pajor and Kingsland have both come in out of high school running great times. They are a couple good half milers that will add to this group."
Senior Cody Rome is Navy's most decorated performer returning to the team this season. Rome set a school record in the 3,000m with a time of 7:55.12 at the Alex Wilson Invite last season and his time ranked 21st on the national performance list, just missing a berth to the NCAA Indoor Championship by one spot.
Rome also set a new Patriot League Championship record in the 3,000m by winning the event at the league meet with a time of 8:07.51. Rome qualified for the NCAA's East Regional last spring during the outdoor season in the 5,000m. Rome has great range and posted IC4A-qualifying times last season in three indoor events (1,000m, mile and 3,000m) and two outdoor events (1,500m and 5,000m).
Rome is equally as impressive in the classroom, as he earned USTFCCCA Academic All-America Second Team honors last season and was chosen as the Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Senior Kenneth Bunnell and junior Kyle Satterwhite will also be key contributors in the distance events. Bunnell earned IC4A All-East honors in the 3,000m last season and Satterwhite placed ninth at the outdoor IC4A meet in the 5,000m.
Junior Dean Black will look to win his third straight Patriot League Championship in the 3,000m Steeplechase in 2012. Black is the two-time defending league champion in the event and competed in the steeplechase at the NCAA's East Regional last spring. Black placed 15th in the event, narrowly missing a top-12 finish that would have earned him a bid to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
"I'm looking for these guys to be the group that lifts this team," Cooksey said. "If we can get it started with them, with the confidence they have, the focus that they have, I think we will be OK."
Additional returning distance runners who will look to break out this year are senior James Pearson, senior Michael Sheehan, junior Christopher Galvin and sophomore Robert Patterson. Pearson had a solid cross country season in captaining the team to its fourth straight league title.
Navy will be moving forward in the distance events without standout Andrew Hanko, a 2011 Academy graduate. Hanko won the past three 5,000m titles at the outdoor league meet and the last two 5K titles at the indoor league meet. He also won the last two 1,500m titles. Hanko took the gold medal in the 5,000m run at the IC4A Outdoor meet in 2011.
Junior Mitch Simmonds will lead the way for Navy in the sprint hurdle events. Simmonds earned IC4A All-East honors in 2011 in the 60m hurdles and placed third in the event at the Patriot League Indoor Championships. Simmonds was also the team's top performer in the 110m hurdles.
Joshua Houston is a highly decorated high jumper that will look to cap off his Navy career on a positive note. Houston earned All-East honors in 2010 and placed second in the event at the Patriot League indoor meet last season. Houston met the IC4A standard of 6-8¼ in both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2011. Junior Rand Montermini is also a multi-eventer who counts the high jump as one of his strongest events, clearing 6-7½ last season.
"We have a chance to be halfway decent in the high jump," Cooksey said. "With Houston and Montermini to begin with, then the back filled with Brian Zitterkopf and Hunter Gibson. Zitterkopf is starting to get back into it after his ACL injury and he seems very focused to get it done this year."
Sophomore Ryan Kochert is coming off a superb freshman campaign in the pole vault. Kochert cleared 15-9 to win the Patriot League Indoor title. Kochert also placed ninth in the event at the IC4A Indoor meet, just missing All-East honors. Navy will have great depth in the pole vault this season, as senior Paul Neidhardt scored in the event at the league meet last season and the team welcomes in a talented freshmen pole vault contingent.
"We've got a big group of pole vaulters," Cooksey said. "Ryan Kochert is back after winning the Patriot League last year. Paul Neidhardt is back, so we've got a good start. Then we've got about five plebes that are between 15 and 15-6. We've got depth in that event."
Two of the freshmen pole vaulters expected to contribute are Mark Vetere and Matt Deisher.
Junior Miles Snelgrove used an IC4A-qualifying long jump of 23-¾ to take third place at the indoor league meet last season. Snelgrove's outdoor season was cut short due to an injury. Freshman Rico Goldstone will also be a contributor in the long jump.
Senior Brian Zitterkopf will begin the season as the team's top triple jumper.
Fifth-year assistant coach Chris Campbell has a solid group of returning throwers, which will be highlighted by senior Christopher Ricks. Ricks won the Patriot League weight throw title with a personal best throw of 60-3¼ and also took second place in the hammer throw during the outdoor season. Ricks' weight throw title marked the fourth straight year that a Midshipman has claimed the event at the indoor league meet. Ricks will serve as Navy's outdoor team captain.
"Chris 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," Cooksey said. "I'm very comfortable with him being captain and he gives us somebody who is ready to compete all the time."
Senior Chris Boniwell took first in the shot put at the Patriot League Outdoor Championships with a personal-best and IC4A-qualifying effort of 53-11. Boniwell won the shot put at both Army-Navy meets last season and qualified for the IC4As in the discus.
Sophomore Zachary Duncavage had a very successful freshman season in the discus last season. Duncavage qualified for the NCAA's East Regional, earned IC4A All-East honors and was the Patriot League runner-up in the event. Duncavage had a season-best discus throw of 171-8.
Miles Snelgrove is on of the team's top javelin thrower. Snelgrove won the javelin in all four events he competed in last season before suffering an injury. He posted a season-best and IC4A-qualifying mark of 217-1. Ricks is also a key competitor in the javelin and placed third in the event at the league meet last spring. Freshmen Aaron Zach and David Capote will also be competitive in the javelin.
"We've got a good group of throwers," Cooksey said. "With Ricks, Boniwell Duncavage and Snelgrove, that's a really good start. We've also got some very young guys in the javelin that have thrown well in Aaron Zach and David Capote. That will give us some help in that area."
Sophomore Brandon Swindler could emerge as a solid hammer thrower this season.
"Swindler is just getting started with us but he has great size," said Cooksey. "He has a real yearning to learn the event and hopefully down the road that will pay off for us."
Juniors Rand Montermini and Christopher Fowler give Navy a solid 1-2 punch in the multi-events. Both scored in the heptathlon at the Patriot League Indoor Championships as sophomores last season. Montermini scored 4,725 points to place third and Fowler racked up 4,498 points to take sixth.
Navy has had a good amount of success in recent years with its relay teams. In 2010-11, Navy won the 4x400m and the distance medley relay at the Patriot League indoor meet. Additionally, Navy's outdoor 4x800m team earned IC4A All-East honors by placing fourth in the event at the championship meet.
Navy's 4x400m provided a clutch performance that allowed the team to clinch the Patriot League Indoor Championship last season in the meet's final race. Navy entered the relay tied with Army for first place and Alexander Jackson, Kolton Kempel, David Ash and Matthew Evers ran a 3:17.40 to take first place and secure the team title for Navy.
The 4xMile relay team of Cody Rome, Dominic Della Pelle, Jeremy Haney and Andrew Hanko placed sixth in the 4xMile Championship of America at the Penn Relays last spring. Navy clocked a 16:32.59 in the event, placing behind Princeton, Arkansas, Indiana, Villanova and Florida State.
Navy's 2011-12 indoor schedule will feature six home meets at the Wesley A. Brown Field House and the Mids will be home every Saturday from January 7 to February 4. The team will host the annual Wesley A. Brown Invitational on January 28 and other teams in attendance will include Maryland, Michigan and North Carolina.
Navy will host Army in the 53rd Indoor Star Meet on February 4. Navy won seven straight indoor N-Stars from 2002 to 2008, but Army has won the last three. The all-time series is deadlocked at 25-25-2.
Navy will welcome the challenge of going up against top indoor competition at Clemson's Tiger Paw Invitational from February 10-11.
The Mids will look to defend its Patriot League Indoor Championship at Bucknell's campus in Lewisburg, Pa. February 17-19. Navy will be looking for its fifth Patriot League indoor title.
"If we can get a run going on some of our better events, that will give us a boost and we'll have a good shot at Patriot Leagues," Cooksey said. "We'll have to dominate the middle distance and distance group and then get some other areas going."
The IC4As will be held in Boston from March 3-4 and the NCAA Indoor Championships will be hosted by Boise State, March 9-10.
Navy's 2012 outdoor schedule will begin with a pair of meets over spring break at Point Loma University. The Army-Navy Outdoor Star Meet will be held in West Point on April 7. Army holds a slim 44-41 edge in the outdoor series.
Much like the indoor meet at Clemson, Navy will travel in the outdoor season to seek out top competition. Navy will head to the North Carolina Invitational on April 14 and the team will also compete in the Penn Relays from April 26-28.
Holy Cross will host the 2012 Patriot League Outdoor Championships from May 4-5. The Outdoor IC4As will be held in Princeton and the NCAA's East Regional will be held in Jacksonville, Fla. The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held in Des Moines, Iowa.
"I think the kids will be excited about the schedule," Cooksey said. "We've got some good people coming in. We have North Carolina and Michigan coming to the Wesley Brown Invitational. From meet to meet to meet, we are able to take the level up and down so we aren't necessarily killing the guys week in and week out. But at the same time, we've got enough competition to keep us sharp and keep us going in the right direction."