April 7, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. – After 18 events left the men’s Army-Navy outdoor Star Meet in a 97.5-97.5 tie, the win was decided by the final event of the day, the 4x400-meter relay. With crowds gathering on the infield and in the stands on the sunny but windy afternoon at Army’s Shea Stadium, the Midshipmen narrowly escaped Army by a one-second win to clinch the Star, 102.5-100.5.
In their 139th all-time meeting and 86th time outdoor, the two storied rivals went back and forth all afternoon, with Army coming away with 10 individual event wins and Navy capturing nine, including one relay apiece. The difference, however, proved to be winning both first and second place, as the Midshipmen collected the top-2 honors on four occasions compared to just twice for the Black Knights.
The Army field events started the afternoon off with a bang, as senior Michael Hutchins and junior Nick Snoad won the first events contested. Hutchins won the long jump with a leap of 7.15 meters, while Snoad took first in the hammer throw with a toss of 59.06 meters. Snoad’s mark ranks 10th all-time at the Academy and is the best by a Black Knight since 2009.
Junior Scott Geary continued the success in the field events with a win in the shot put. Geary took first with his best throw of the outdoor season so far at 16.14 meters to exceed IC4A Championship-qualifying standards.
Senior Fred Beebe rounded out Army’s field winners when he took first in the triple jump. Beebe recorded a personal best when he jumped 14.90m, to qualify for the IC4As. Freshman Eliot Knotts collected second place with a mark of 13.95m.
On the track, junior Tom Ryan ran Army’s ninth-best 110-meter hurdle time in school history with his first-place finish of 14.33 seconds. In the 400-meter hurdles, Army went 1-2 as senior Taylor Kensy (55.76) and sophomore Chris Smith (55.91) earned first and second place, respectively.
Sophomore Jason Wilkes had a standout day for the Black Knights, winning all three events in which he competed. Wilkes started off with a first-place time in the 100-meter dash, crossing the line in a personal-best 10.87. He followed with a win in the 200m, besting the field with another PR of 22.03. Wilkes also was a member of the winning 4x100-meter relay, whose winning time was 42.17.
The 5,000-meter run set the stage for the final event of the day. Sophomore Ricardo Galindo turned on the jets in the final stretch to edge out Navy’s James Pearson by one second to capture second place and knot the score at 97-97.
The Midshipmen maintained its lead in the 4x400, despite Smith closing the gap and Kensy doing his best to catch up during the final stretch. Navy crossed the line in 3:18.55 while Kensy carried the baton across at 3:19.78.
The win for Navy narrows the all-time outdoor series to 44-42 in favor of the Black Knights, and 69-68-2 all-time also in favor of Army, despite the Midshipmen’s 2012 season sweep. The two-loss season was the first for Army since 2008. The Black Knights rebounded from that year to reel off six straight victories over Navy.
The two-point difference was the closest for an Army-Navy meet since 2005, when the Midshipmen edged the Black Knights 102-100 in outdoor meet in Annapolis.
“We knew on paper it was going to be a two or three-point meet, one way or the other,” said Army head coach Troy Engle. “We had just a couple of bad breaks. You’ve got to feel like if a meet like this is meant to happen it should come down to the relay and that’s what it did.
“We had the absolutely utmost of confidence that if it did come down to the relay, we would be able to be in it and win it, especially having the baton in the hands of the four guys that we did. Again, a little bad luck, one of our guys gets a little bit of a hamstring thing in the last straightaway, and it turns out the way it did. We certainly can’t take anything away from the way Navy competed. It was incredible.”
Army will host one final home meet this season next Saturday. The Black Knights welcome St. Francis, Colgate, Binghamton and Columbia for a five-team meet at Shea Stadium, beginning at 1 p.m.