The New Captain's Classic moved forward to April to accommodate the Mason-Dixon Championships move in to May. Saturday's events were held under blue skies, but the Decathletes and Heptathletes faced heavy rains for the Sunday conclusion of their competitions.
The 2012 edition of the New Captain's Classic arrived a couple weeks early with its April date and served as a final Conference tune-up rather than a post-Championships send-off for most of the team. Running events opened with a modified Steeplechase - over 2,000m rather than the usual 3k - to help freshmen Daniel Richard (Manassas, VA) and Bradley Turner (Williamsburg, VA) reach a qualifier for the USATF Junior National Championships in June. Richard was able to take advantage, covering the 5-plus shortened laps in 6:22.63, earning a trip to Bloomington, IN in June. Turner finished 15 seconds later. In the full version of the event, Scott Wright (Oak Hill, VA) notched a 12 second PR (10:39.45).
The 1500m featured another Junior Nationals berth as frosh Samuel Martin (Rockville, MD) outkicked a trio of William & Mary Tribesmen to a PR 3:56.70 finish. Brian Huffman (Charlottesville, VA) showed a return to form as the second finisher for the Captains - his 4:07.37 was just shy of his year-old PR. Rookies Connor Johnson (Fredericksburg, VA) (4:11.08) and Andrew Larkin (Herndon, VA) (4:15.09) both improved their lifetime bests in the event. On the women's side, Erin Rolaf (Woodbridge, VA) and Jessica McClelland (Stafford, VA) worked together most of the race and produced a near-PR (5:03.96 for Rolaf) and a 7 second PR (5:07.20 for McClelland).
The Captains swept the men's 400m with rookies Robert Mayes (Culpeper, VA) and Matt Gaddy (Stafford, VA) finishing a step apart at 50.27 and 50.71, respectively. Taylor McCord (Springfield, VA) finished 3rd in the women's race with a PR 61.36. In the 800m, Brittney House (Midlothian, VA) clipped a second off her lifetime best for another 3rd place finish (2:27.55).
Next on the track for the Captains, senior Dira Hansen (Culpeper, VA) took another shot at a 400m Hurdles qualifier. Her 63.12 was good enough for a run-away victory, but came up just short of the time she posted at Johns Hopkins the week before. For the men, Scott Teribury (Woodbridge, VA) ran his third 58-range time of the year (58.45) and Wilson Bever (Chantilly, VA) cut his lifetime best over two and a half seconds to 60.00.
The distance corps netted two more PRs in the 5k. Karen Bumiller's (Burke, VA) 19:15.24 was a 4 second improvement and moved her to #8 on the CNU All-Time List. Aaron Zook (Harrisonburg, VA) led the men with a 20 second PR to join the sub-16 club (15:55.20).
The Captains finished their work on the track with two promising 4x400m Relays. After a 61.7 second lead leg by Taylor McCord, seniors Kristen Bell (Vienna, VA) and Cheria Jackson (Woodbridge, VA) ran big lifetime bests on their legs (58.3 and 58.6, respectively) while battling with William & Mary's quartet. Brittney House ran another huge relay best (60.4) to get the baton across the line in 3:59.08. The men posted a 49.5 (Matt Gaddy) and four 50-point legs (one on the B squad) to show some flexibility in arranging the Conference squad in two weeks.
As good as the results were on the track, the field events showed the Captains were definitely primed for the upcoming Mason-Dixon Championships. The throwers cranked out a dozen PRs led by Kendrick McMinn's (Virginia Beach, VA) continued rise up the Javelin rankings. His 48.09m/157-9 added another 7' to his best and moved him up to #5 in CNU History. Loren Farris (Suffolk, VA) (38.56m/126-6) and Christopher Comeau (Chesapeake, VA) (33.88m/111-2) also improved their lifetime bests. In the Hammer, McMinn landed another PR at 36.07m/118-4 as did Anthony Melton (Richmond, VA) (33.45m/109-9) and Tony Harris (Gainesville, VA) (28.87m/94-8) behind senior Jonathon Wade's (Rocky Mount, VA) 42.40m/139-1.
Wade got his own PR in the Shot Put with a 13.16m/43-2.25 landing. He was followed by three more PRs from Nolan McDowell (Mt. Sidney, VA) (12.43m/40-9.5), McMinn (10.95m/35-11.25) and Harris (8.89m/29-2). McMinn made it 4-for-4 on the day with a PR 35.15m/115-4 in the Discus while Harris earned his third (27.42m/89-11).
The Long Jump runway proved very friendly to the home team as all three Captain women landed new bests over the 5m mark. Jenna Elliott (Fredericksburg, VA) was still struggling to find her indoor form in the High Jump (1.60m/5-3), but was very sharp in the sand. Her 5.13m/16-10 added 5" to her previous best. Caitlin Miller (Huntington, NY) nearly caught her with a 5.12m/16-9.75 effort that was a PR by a foot. Olivia Green (Fairfax, VA) joined the 5m party with a 3.5" best 5.02m/16-5.75. Javan Walker (Woodbridge, VA) got a PR for the men's group (5.37m/17-7.5) and Miller just missed adding one more for the women in the Triple Jump (10.89m/35-8.75). The Pole Vaulters had a bit of a rough day, but Joseph Taylor (Prince George, VA) was able to manage another 14' clearance (4.30m/14-1.25) continuing his comeback from a shoulder injury.
Decathlete Daulton Teaford (Boyce, VA) and Heptathletes Enuma Ezenwa (Herndon, VA) and Noel Bartley (Waynesboro, VA) got their two-day events off to a great start. Teaford started his debut Decathlon with PRs in the 100m (11.24) and Long Jump (6.07m/19-11). Unfortunately, he developed tightness in his leg and back during the Shot Put and High Jump that forced him to withdraw prior to the 400m. Ezenwa and Bartley also started with two PRs each. Ezenwa cut well over a second off her 100m Hurdles best to 16.22 and then added a Heptathlon best 1.56m/5-1.25 clearance in the High Jump that ties her for #10 on the CNU All-Time List. Bartley shaved 0.01 seconds off her all-time best in the 100m Hurdles (16.81) and followed up with a 1.50m/4-11 PR in the High Jump. Both kept their PRs rolling in the Shot Put with Bartley pushing a 2' best 9.32m/30-7 mark. Ezenwa added 3' to her PR with a 7.59m/24-11 measurement. The pair finished a perfect first day with two more PRs in the 200m. Ezenwa dropped hers to 27.37 and Bartley improved to 28.70. That put Bartley 233 points ahead of her best first day total and Ezenwa was up by 366 points.
The weather soured dramatically for Day 2, but Bartley was able to improve her Heptathlon best in the Long Jump with a 4.17m/13-8.25. Ezenwa matched that mark before the two moved on to the Javelin runway. Two more PRs fell there as Ezenwa landed her spear at 19.00m/62-4 and Bartley hers at 17.83m/58-6, though Bartley landed her last throw several meters farther, but flat and thus unmeasured. After a pair of laps on the track (2:40.24 for Ezenwa and 2:53.35 for Bartley), Ezenwa had added nearly 400 points to her previous best total and now ranks #4 in CNU History at 3618. Bartley's 3326 total improved her #7 ranking by over 300 points.
Saturday's events were followed by a gathering of team, family, and alumni for a (near) year-end cookout. This year's occasion also served as a celebration of Coach Louis Johnson's 26 year career with the Captains as he will "retire" at season's end into a consulting role while continuing to work with his post-collegiate group.
Richard Roethel (Farmingville, NY) will represent the Captains in the Penn Relays Decathlon before the team travels back to the Philadelphia area for the Mason-Dixon Championships hosted by Gwynedd-Mercy College.