The Captains entered the Mason-Dixon Conference Championships 35 point underdogs to last year’s runner-up Gwynedd-Mercy. Overcoming injuries and illnesses, CNU’s men posted 19 Personal Records and 5 All-Time Performances while closing the gap to just 3 points. The Captains walked away with 4 gold medals and 25 All-Conference. Sophomore Richard Roethel earned Outstanding Field Athlete honors for his efforts.
Men Nearly Catch Gwynedd-Mercy For Title
Roethel Named Outstanding Field Athlete
Gwynedd-Mercy lost the 2010 Mason-Dixon Indoor Championships by half a point to Salisbury – watching the title slip from them on one of the final throws in the Shot Put. For 2011, they entered as heavy favorites – 35 points based on meet entry marks. With the Captains trying to hold off the effects of a campus-wide flu bug, the task of closing the gap was daunting.
In the first event of the day, Richard Roethel (Farmingville, NY) was the lone representative for CNU. The Long Jump is usually a deep event for the Captains, but with Kwarteng Asare (Fairfax, VA) out with the flu and Anton Bowman (Springfield, VA) and Michael Kitchens (Leesburg, VA) coming off injuries and focusing on the Triple Jump, Roethel was on his own. He took care of business on the runway and jumped close to his indoor best to take 4th place (6.44m/21-1.5).
In the midst of the Long Jump competition, Roethel secured a spot in the finals of the 55m Hurdles with a 0.31 second PR (8.11). Dominc Yanger (Reston, VA) also ran to a big PR (0.71 seconds) to finish 8th in 9.16. Roethel, seeded only 4th going in to the meet, returned for another PR 8.03 to claim victory in the finals.
Between rounds of the Hurdles, Corey Lofton (Vienna, VA) led his fellow Milers to a trio of PRs in spite of nearly missing check-in due to flu-like symptoms. Senior Will Zak (Mechanicsville, VA) dropped over 10 seconds from his previous best in the first section to 4:41.46. In the final section, Lofton pounded out a PR 4:24.18 for 4th place and #8 on the CNU All-Time List. Daniel Austin (Culpeper, VA) also ran a lifetime best 4:41.10 for 15th. Christopher Lyford (Leesburg, VA) was out strong early, but did not have the energy to maintain his early PR pace.
With a logjam for the Captains in the 800m, freshman Shaowei Tu (Mechanicsville, VA) was asked to step down to the 400m (and 200m) to find some bonus points. Gwynedd-Mercy boasted the top four seeds, but Tu was able to size them up from lane one in the fast section and move up to take 2nd in a big PR 50.97. In all, the Captains benefited from a 15 point swing in the two-lap event. Douglas McLellan (Columbia, MD) raced to a PR 54.52 in one of the earlier sections.
In the 800m, CNU boasted four of the top five seeds even without Tu. Matthew Winkler (Palmyra, VA) took the race out and won it with little challenge in 1:55.89. Corey Lofton’s tank was empty after the Mile and the Captains’ #2 was out of the running, but Scott Teribury (Woodbridge, VA) stepped up to fill the void and slipped by Gwynedd-Mercy’s second-seeded Brett Kubiak for silver in a PR 1:58.08. That makes Teribury the #8 indoor 800m runner in CNU History. Jeffrey Ball (Chesapeake, VA) scrapped for 4th in 1:59.82.
The Pole Vaulters made gains on the performance list starting with a PR 3.50m/11-5.75 from freshman Stephen Browne (McLean, VA)in 9th. David Fishman (Springfield, VA) and Christopher Comeau (Chesapeake, VA) matched clearances through 3.95m/12-11.5 and tied for 4th. For Comeau it was an indoor best by nearly a foot. Joseph Taylor (Prince George, VA) proved to be the class of the field in spite of losing his rhythm a bit. He topped a PR 4.25m/13-11.25 and improved his standing as CNU’s #6 All-Time Vaulter. Jonathon Wade (Rocky Mount, VA) launched a PR 13.18m/43-3 toss in the Weight Throw for 3rd place and #7 on CNU’s All-Time
List. In the Triple Jump, Michael Kitchens and Anton Bowman left the field behind and battled to a 1-2 finish. Bowman missed his PR by less than an inch (13.55m/44-5.5) and was upset by his teammate’s 13.67m/44-10.25. For Kitchens, that was a lifetime best by over two feet!
Shaowei Tu followed up his surprise in the 400m with another at half the distance. Seeded in to only the fourth of seven sections (proceeding from slowest to fastest seeds), he blew out to a PR 23.30. That held up as the standard until teammate Richard Roethel led the sixth section with his own PR 23.09. After the final section, the Captains ended up 5th and 7th. Roethel then barely caught his breath and checked back in for his primary event – the High Jump – where he managed to clear enough for second place (1.92m/6-3.5).
In the 5,000m, Raymond Gamache (King George, VA) ran for the first time since December and helped set the pace through most of the race. A nasty blister took away his final push, but he still finished 6th with a near-PR 15:51.38. William Kirk (Mechanicsville, VA) cut 14 seconds from his previous best to finish 10th in 16:09.27. The 4x400m Relay squad made a game chase of Gwynedd-Mercy with Nathan Joyce (Ft. Belvoir, VA) running a 53.2 lead-off and Wilson Bever (Chantilly, VA) racing his fastest two laps by over a second (52.8). Richard Roethel legged a 51.1 to send Tu off for another dual with GMC’s 400m Champion. For the second time, Tu covered the distance in 51.0 seconds, but for the second time Dunkleberger had just enough to hold him off and the Captains settled for silver.
With two events left – the Distance Medley Relay and the Shot Put – the Captains were within 5 points of Gwynedd-Mercy. The relay turned in to another down-to-the-wire match race. With Lofton unavailable, Winkler shifted to the 1600m leg and freshman Garrick Clemente (Haymarket, VA) volunteered for the lead-off 1200m leg. He did an admirable job getting the baton to Jeffrey Ball after 3:21.8 of racing. Ball covered the next two laps in 51.9 seconds and Scott Teribury powered a 2:00.4 leg to give Winkler the lead. Looking at ease and controlled, the senior gave hope for an upset, but GMC’s Kubiak – a 4:23 miler – got around Winkler in the final stages of the race and held him off to the finish. Winkler’s split was a 4:26.2 –his fastest ever over that distance.
That left the Captains seven points down with two unseeded throwers in the Shot Put. Jonathon Wade had been connecting on some point-worthy throws in practice, but could not quite find his rhythm. Decathlete Richard Roethel already had six events in the books when he stepped in the ring. With each throw he pushed his mark farther out, getting a PR on his second throw and then adding over a foot and a half to that on his third attempt (12.35m/40-6.25). That left him in 6th place going in to finals – and none of the top seeds were having a good day. In the fifth round, Roethel added another foot and a half to his new PR, landing the ball at 12.84m/42-1.5 and moved up to 4th place (it also woke up the top 3 who all subsequently threw far enough to keep him in 4th).
Gwynedd-Mercy averted a repeat of last year’s fate, but the Captains made a great run to pull within three points – 124-121. Salisbury finished third with 48 points. Roethel was the meet’s high point scorer with 18 of his 32 points coming in the field events, earning him Outstanding Field Athlete honors.
The Captains now head in to “Last Chance” week with three more opportunities to earn individual berths to the National Championships. The first such meet is Sunday at George Mason University.
For complete CNU Results, check out the Results Page.