May 4, 2013
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Army track and field wrapped up competition at the Patriot League Outdoor Championships on Saturday afternoon at Lehigh as the Black Knight men captured second place while the women finished sixth. The men earned their highest point total since 2010 with 170, while the women had a rather uncharacteristic performance of 66.25 points.
Army was within striking distance in the men’s meet as Bucknell won its fourth consecutive outdoor trophy with 184 points. The Black Knights edged third-place Navy (159), as well as Lehigh (85), Lafayette (32), American (26), Colgate (16) and Holy Cross (10).
On the women’s side, Bucknell won its fourth title in five years with 183 points, besting runner-up Navy by 42 points. The host Mountain Hawks took third (119.25), followed by Holy Cross (85.25), Lafayette (76.25) and the Black Knights. Colgate (10) and American (1) rounded out the field.
The Army men won six events on the final day of competition, highlighted by the hurdles. In two hurdling events, the Black Knights combined for 44 points, more than the lower four teams of the conference totaled throughout the entire meet.
Senior Kyler Martin, who had already qualified for the IC4A Championships in both the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles, shined in his first postseason meet of the outdoor campaign. Martin led the charge in the 110-hurdles with a winning time of 14.28 seconds and was closely followed by three teammates as Army claimed four of the top-five times of the event. Classmate Thomas Ryan took runner-up honors (14.60), followed by Taylor Andrews in third (14.73) and James Holland in fifth (15.00), as the Black Knights snagged 26 of the possible 31 points in the event.
In the 400-hurdles, Martin became just the third champion in Army history and first since Trevor Hopper in 2003 by besting the field with the seventh-fastest time in Academy history – 52.38 seconds. Martin was followed by junior Chris Smith in second place, as Smith crossed the line in 52.85 seconds, which would have landed him at 10th on the all-time list had Martin not added his name on Saturday.
At the conclusion of the day, Martin was named Track Athlete of the Meet, becoming the first Black Knight since All-American hurdler Domonick Sylve earned the honor in 2009.
Sophomore Clyde Wilson also won an individual title in historic fashion, capturing the 800-meter crown with the 10th-best time in Army history. Wilson bested a field of 27 by blazing to a finish of 1:49.71, becoming Army’s sixth 800-meter champion in conference history and first since 2009.
Wilson and Smith were also members of the winning 4x400-meter relay squad, joining Patrick Taylor and Stevyn Spees for the winning time of 3:11.82. The Black Knights won the indoor 4x400 title as well, marking their first season sweep since 2009.
Taylor had a strong showing in the 400-meter dash as well, finishing third of 15 with the fastest Army time since 2006, 47.79. The time ranks ninth all-time in program history.
Senior Mark Castelli rounded out the men’s track winners on Day 2, becoming the Black Knights’ first 3,000-meter steeplechase champion since 2005. Castelli beat out a field of 11 with a time of 9:04.87.
In field events, junior Shane Jones ended a shot put winless streak which dated back more than a decade, becoming Army’s first shot put champion since 2001. Jones out-threw a field of 12 with a personal-best toss of 15.86 meters. Senior Scott Geary added points in the event with his fifth-place throw.
Geary also earned third in the discus with a personal-best 51.97m, just one day after recording a PR in the hammer throw.
“On the men’s side, we’re pleased to be able to finish the season on as good of a note as we did,” said Army head coach Troy Engle. “We were as competitive as we’ve been in the Patriot League in the while. Our strong suits came through; we had a series of folks perform to where they had to to put us in contention.”
A pair of seniors highlighted competition on the women’s side as Kaitlyn Love and McKenzie Majchrzak made a lasting impression in their final conference meet.
Love finished runner-up in both hurdles disciplines, beginning with the fastest 100-meter hurdles time of the season at 14.60 seconds. She then ran the third-best 400-meter hurdles time in Academy history, 1:02.50, to collect a pair of All-Patriot League second-team certificates.
Love also teamed with fellow senior tri-captain Ashley Gordon, as well as sophomores Katrina Donarski and Sam Reid for Army’s first outdoor 4x400-meter relay title since 2008. After winning the indoor crown as well, the group finished in a season-best 3:49.56 to earn the Black Knights’ first season sweep of the event also since 2008.
Majchrzak became the sixth cadet in women’s program history to claim three outdoor Patriot League titles in any single event by winning the high jump crown. Majchrzak, who won the event her freshman and sophomore seasons, beat out a field of 13 with her height of 1.66 meters. She is the first women’s three-time outdoor champion in a single event for the Black Knights since Katelin Grant won three-consecutive 400-meter hurdles titles in 2005-07.
“The women’s meet was a challenge for us – it was bitter-sweet,” said Engle. “Kaitlyn Love won’t be replaceable overnight. She’s been a mainstay and we’re concerned about filling her shoes. The same goes for McKenzie. We’re excited about the new kids coming in, but at the same time we acknowledge what we’re going to lose with graduation.
“A couple of injuries to some young kids hurt us this weekend, whether it was not competing or competing with inconsistency,” Engle continued. “This meet was not at all an indication of where we are or where our future is headed.
“That being said, next year is a whole different game given that this was the final meet with just eight teams in it. It will be interesting and we’re excited for it.”
The Patriot League Championships mark the first event of Army’s postseason schedule as qualified athletes will next travel to the IC4A and ECAC Championships. Princeton will serve as the host of the annual regional meet scheduled for May 10-12.