NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Coast Guard Academy men's track and field program is coming off another successful year that saw the Bears finish ninth at the Division III New England Indoor Championship and third at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship. The team also broke a total of six records between the indoor and outdoor season and return a strong core for the upcoming seasons that will look to continue their assault on the record books.
The Bears sprint crew had a stellar season last year setting new school records in the indoor 4x200, indoor 4x400 and the outdoor 4x100. Leading the way is sophomore Jacob Pawlina who not only was a member of the three relays listed above but also set a school record in the indoor 200 (22.06) finishing in the top 10 at the New England Indoor Championships.
In the shorter sprint distances Coast Guard returns several athletes return to build on their success from the 2016 season including junior Richard Lee (6.66 in the 55m), sophomore Michael Bishop (22.44 200m), and junior Tyler Templeton (22.52 200m). In the 400 meters, junior Raeford Penny (22.62 200m, 49.44 400m), sophomore Nicholas Frystak (50.86 400m) and junior Luke Rehfuss (51.27 400m, 56.04 400H) will not only add depth to the Bears relays and sprinting events but will also be key point contributors come postseason competition.
Reigning NEWMAC Co-Rookie of the Year, sophomore Benjamin Taminger, is the top returning middle distance runner for Coast Guard. Taminger was the conference champion in the 800 and had personal best of 49.95 in the 400 and 1:53.26 in the 800. He was also a member of the 4x800 team that earned All-New England honors last season finishing sixth at the All New England Indoor Championships running a school record time of 7:41.40.
Similar to the sprint crew, the Bears return an experienced, fast group throughout the middle distance events. Senior Caleb Teachout (800 - 1:56.82, Mile – 4:25.46) and junior Brett Foster (800 – 1:56.57, Mile – 4:20.34) led the way in the 1500 last season as Foster was second at the NEWMAC Championships and Teachout owned the fastest time on the team.
Seniors Will Klein (600: 1:24.14, 800: 1:59.33) and James Rimmele (mile: 4:36.82, 3K: 9:11.62) along with sophomore Sydney Johnson and freshman John Miller will play a key role in the middle distance events and in relays during championship season.
Senior Zachary Velasquez (8:54.82 3K, 15:21.74 5K) returns as the top competitor for the Bears in the long distance events. Also returning this year to play a bigger role for Coast Guard will be sophomores Colton Atkinson (4:35.95 Mile, 9:05.61 3K, 15:50.84 5K) and Alex Kearney (4:35.68 Mile, 15:52.17 5K). Freshmen Andre Gallant and Jacob Panning both transition from a successful cross country season and will look to step into a supporting role across the distance events.
Sophomore Michael Frick and Denis Daly return to their sophomore and junior years as Coast Guard's top pole vaulters this indoor season. Last year Frick soared over 14'11" and Daly cleared 14'5.25" as two of the best vaulters in the NEWMAC and region.
Junior Sawyer Stanton rejoins the ranks for the indoor season after placing second at the outdoor NEWMACs clearing 6'2" in the high jump. Junior Michael Elwell will transition this indoor season from competing as a jumper into multi's events (heptathlon/decathlon).
Joining the jumps as well as hurdles is freshman Edward Carroll who will strive to add depth to both events.
Sophomore Justin Jezuit returns this indoor season after a successful outdoor season campaign in the discus throw finishing as NEWMAC runner up. He is joined by freshmen Dante Roberts and Ben Zarlengo who are already showing promise in the shot put and weight throw.
Coast Guard opens their season at home this Saturday, January 14th, hosting the Coast Guard Academy Winter Invitational.