Bechtol, Keally, Parsons, Smith Claim TitlesRICHMOND, VA - Freshman Keith Bechtol (Alexandria, VA), sophomore Matt Keally (Virginia Beach, VA), senior Chris Parsons (Dunkirk, MD) and junior Andy Smith (Raleigh, NC) all captured individual crowns as defending champion William and Mary men's track and field raced to a strong start on the first day of the 2004 CAA Track and Field Championships. The Tribe tallied 71.50 points through six completed events, nearly 30 clear of second place UNC Wilmington (42). Virginia Commonwealth sits in third with 37 points. Seven conference schools are contesting the Championship which is held at Sports Backers Stadium in Richmond, VA. In addition to the College's four champions, two additional Tribe athletes netted all-conference honors, awarded to the top-three finishers in each event, while the squad had a number of scorers, as the top-eight in each event accumulate team points.
Smith claimed an unbelievable third-consecutive conference title in the javelin by throwing for a meet-record distance of 206'6", shattering the old mark, set by teammate Parsons in 2001, by seven feet. Smith's throw, nearly 20 feet better than the second-place distance, also earned him another qualification to the NCAA East Regional and IC4A Championships. With Smith's third-straight title, Parsons's 2001 crown and John Hanley's in 2000, the Tribe has won the javelin at CAAs the past four seasons, and Smith has positioned himself to do the incredible: sweep the javelin championship for his entire career. Parsons, a three-time conference title holder, left the 2003 championships without any hardware, but will not be doing so this year. Parsons claimed his fourth-ever CAA crown by winning the hammer with an NCAA Regional and IC4A-qualifying throw of 184'9", seven feet clear of second place.
The Green and Gold shone on the track as well, claiming the titles in both distance events run Friday. First, Bechtol sparkled in the 5,000m, claiming the conference championship in his first attempt, powered by a personal-record pace of 14:42.46. Bechtol's win is the 11th-straight for a Tribe runner, a streak which dates back to Steve Swift's victory in 1994, and the College has won 13 of the 15 5,000m crowns in CAA history. In the 10,000m, Keally made a similar impact in his debut in the event, claiming the CAA crown on the strength of an IC4A-qualifying time of 31:04.87.
The College had two additional runners earn All-CAA acclaim Friday. Freshman Steve Hoogland (Springfield, VA) sparkled in the 10,000m, capturing runner-up honors behind Keally by running an IC4A-qualifying 31:14.82, a personal record by 30 seconds. Sophomore Jason Schoener (Grand, Blanc, MI) also netted all-conference honors with his third in the 5,000m, where he clocked a 14:45.72.
Fueling W&M's lead in the Championship was its depth across all events, as indicated by the plethora of scorers on the team. The Tribe had two scorers in the pole vault as freshman Justin Zamorski (Virginia Beach, VA) impressed by setting a personal record of 13'11.25 for fourth place, while sophomore Nathan Chubb (Doylestown, PA) took sixth in the event by clearing 12'11.50". Senior Jacob Frey (Oakton, VA) clocked a 14:52.88 in the 5,000m for fifth while junior Pat Comstock (Portsmouth, VA) rounded out the Tribe scorers in the race with his eighth-place finish (15:02.61). Freshman Dan Nally (Warrenton, VA) had a solid race in the 10,000m where his 32:07.02 earned him sixth and points for the team. Junior Aaron Mitchell (Buffalo, NY) scored for the team with his seventh-place distance of 158'2" in the hammer.
Just missing scoring a point was freshman Adam Tenerowicz (Blackstone, MA) who finished ninth in the 5,000m with a 15:09.48. Senior Aaron Spicer (Woodbridge, VA) sits in fourth with 3,051 points halfway through the decathlon. The event is led by UNCW's John Gross who has tallied 3,256 points through five events.
The CAA Championship concludes Saturday with action beginning at 9:30 a.m.
CAA Men's Track and Field Championships Team Standings - 6 Events Scored
1) College of William & Mary 71.50 2) UNC Wilmington 42 3) VCU 37 4) Delaware 31 5) James Madison University 26 6) George Mason 15 7) Towson University 11.50