Dec. 5, 2008
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Midshipmen men's track and field team delivered an impressive showing as it opened up the 2008-09 indoor track season by hosting the Navy Invitational on Friday evening in the program's inaugural meet at the Wesley A. Brown Field House.
Competing in the eight-team field, which included league foe American, the Midshipmen claimed first in three events, including two of the six field events.
"It was a good start for us," said Navy head coach Stephen Cooksey. "We received some strong performances for this point in this season, and I think this is certainly something we can build off moving forward."
Third-year thrower Mark Van Orden (Morris Plains, N.J.) began his junior season in fine fashion, capturing first-place honors and achieving a new personal-best in the weight throw.
Van Orden, who received second-team all-league laurels in the event as a sophomore, produced an IC4A-qualifying toss of 59'2-3/4 (18.05m) to top the field and surpass his previous-best throw of 56'6-1/2" (17.23m), established at last February's Patriot League Championship.
Van Orden led a 1-2-3 Navy finish in the event, as senior Chris Bordino (Gastonia, N.C.) and junior Tyrell Arment (Wamblee, S.D.) finished in second and third, respectively. Bordino's 58'3-3/4" (17.77m) throw also met the IC4A qualifying standard, while Arment set a new personal-best with his 50'10-1/4" (15.50m) effort.
Freshman Chris Boniwell (San Diego, Calif.) also made his presence felt as part of a strong performance by Navy's throwers. Boniwell won the shot put with a distance of 48'2" (14.68m) in his collegiate debut.
"Our throwing group definitely came out and performed well for us tonight," said Cooksey. "We are definitely excited to see them get off to such a strong start to the season."
In the high jump, freshman Joshua Houston (Daphne, Ala.) also impressed in his collegiate debut, taking runner-up honors with a clearance of 6'4-3/4 (1.95m).
Fellow freshman James Pearson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) also put forth a strong effort in the Mids' season opener, completing the 5,000-meter run in 15:04.28 - good for a third-place finish.
One of the most exciting highlights of the evening came in the relays as the Navy foursome of freshman Branden Roy (Barnington, N.H.) juniors Tyler Morrison (Okemos, Mich.) and Ben Fasseel (Hampton, Va.) and indoor team captain Andrew Grant (Athens, Ga.) came from behind to take the distance medley event in 10:11.64.
The Mids stood in last place headed into the final leg of the race before Grant produced a 4:08 split in the 1,600-meter leg, making up the necessary ground and giving Navy a narrow victory in the event.
Other top Navy performers included senior Nick Crowell (Olalla, Wash.), who finished as the runner-up in the 3k with a time of 8:27.76, and sophomore David Ash (Williamston, Mich.) who took third in the 800-meter run in 1:55.92.
The Midshipmen will be off during final exams and the semester break before returning to action on Jan. 10 to play host to a five-team field featuring American, VCU and a pair of Ivy League squads in Penn and Princeton.
Notes: Navy will host a total of five home meets at its brand new facility during the indoor season, including this February's Patriot League Indoor Championship (Feb. 20-22). The state-of-the-art, 140,000 square-foot field house is named after Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Brown, USN (ret.), who became the first African American midshipman to graduate from the Naval Academy in 1949. Brown was in attendance and was honored in a brief ceremony prior to the start of Friday's competition.
*** Go Navy! ***