PHILADELPHIA – Highlighted by the return of 18 career IC4A participants and 19 career Atlantic 10 point scorers, the Saint Joseph’s men's track and field team returns 35 letterwinners for the 2013-14 season. With the addition of 15 newcomers to a squad that took home the bronze medal at the 2012-13 A-10 Indoor Championships, head coach Mike Glavin holds extremely high expectations of both his veterans and his newcomers as Saint Joseph’s is in a strong position to make a run at both the indoor and outdoor championships this year.
Leading the squad this season will be a dedicated and determined group of senior captains in Tyler Dougherty, Jon Eisemann, Derrick Henry, and Tom O’Kane.
“All were chosen because they are great leaders,” said Glavin. “Some are vocal and some are demonstrative; with some, it’s what they do and with some, it’s what they say and then do. Also, all were chosen because they have been on IC4A relays and have been finalists at the conference level.”
Dougherty is a seven-time IC4A relay participant and has racked up 10 of his 12 Atlantic 10 Championships points off of relays. Eisemann ran the 2012 IC4A outdoor 4x100m relay, landed a semifinalist slot in the 2013 IC4A indoor 60m dash, and owns 15 A-10 points. Henry is a four-time IC4A relay participant and has accumulated 14 points from four conference championships. Together, the sprints trio has combined for an astounding 12 IC4A relays and 41 conference points.
O’Kane, a middle distance standout, is a seven-time IC4A relay participant who earned a combined four points at last year’s indoor and outdoor IC4As. The senior is also a three-time A-10 silver medalist in the mile and DMR and the 2013 bronze medalist in the outdoor 1500m to boast 30 career league points.
“They’re all a caliber of athlete that can say, “Look where this got me,” beamed Glavin. “They all have a great work ethic and an attitude that’s about achieving.”
With three of SJU’s four captains at the helm of the sprint events, the Hawks will boast both experience and talent in both the short and long sprints, from the indoor 60m and 4x100m to the outdoor 500m and 4x400m. Certain veterans have the versatility to do it all, and Glavin expects that this year’s group owns the potential to leave a mark in SJU’s history.
“If we consider all of the sprints together, qualitatively, between the short sprints and the long sprints, we’re probably as deep as we’ve been in a decade,” said Glavin. “I think that the last time we were this deep, potentially, was back when we had Jerry Puryear, Nick Carras, Andrew Thomas, and Doug Rick.”
This 2002-05 group was responsible for setting school records in the indoor 400m, 500m, and 4x400m and outdoor 400m and 4x400m – all of which stand today – in addition to putting multiple athletes in the IC4A 400m and 500m finals for consecutive years. The Hawks haven’t gotten to within two seconds of the outdoor 4x400m record (3:09.07) in the last eight years, but Glavin believes that the 2013-14 sprints group could be the difference.
“We have the bodies here to do that again, and we are led by some upperclassmen…not just seniors but upperclassmen,” said Glavin.
At the heart of the short sprints is senior captain Jon Eisemann. The veteran lit up the 2013 Atlantic 10 Indoor Championships with a fourth-place finish in the 60m and a seventh-place slot in the 200m for seven combined points. His ability to post legitimate splits when running legs on the 4x400m adds to his repertoire as the dual-threat senior will look to close out his final season at the top of the A-10 in the short sprints.
Balancing out Eisemann’s experience will be second-year talent Alec Peabody. Voted SJU’s 2012-13 Rookie of the Year, Peabody helped the Hawks to a fifth-place 4x100m relay finish at the 2013 A-10 Championships and took sixth in the 200m en route to qualifying for both events on the IC4A level.
“We legitimately could be looking to advance two guys in the 60m and 200m to the IC4A semifinals,” said Glavin of Eisemann and Peabody. “They are at that level. We are that deep this year.”
At the front of the long sprints will be junior sensation Tyler Gallen, who took home the 500m silver medal at the 2013 IC4A Indoor Championships. The two-time Atlantic 10 All-Academic selection earned 21 combined points in the 400m, 500m, and 4x400m last year and returns as a definitive consideration in individual conference rankings.
“With George Mason replacing Charlotte, it’s going to be tough,” said Glavin of his standout long sprinter. “They have some great 400m runners, but Gallen’s going to be a factor in the conference again.”
In addition to the 4x400m, the Hawks’ head coach looks forward to the effect that extra attention could have on the faster relays. Also in Glavin’s mix for the sprints are seniors Tyler Dougherty, Derrick Henry, Peter Larmann, and Griff Roberts, junior Brendan Robert, and sophomore Chris Banks.
“What we haven’t had in a long time is the ability to focus more on the short sprints, where our 4x100m could be very good,” said Glavin. “With those five in Eisemann, Peabody, Dougherty, Henry, and Banks, we are deep. Banks is going to be a very good quarter-miler, and we are going to try to keep him healthy this year. Brendan Robert is another guy who is on the edge of all of that, and I think Peter Larmann steps up to that potential.”
Rounding out the top ten sprinters will be Torey Doaty, a freshman out of Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School. Doaty is a long sprinter who also runs the intermediate hurdles, and Glavin anticipates a breakthrough season from his rookie sprinter.
“The guys mentioned – Eisemann, Peabody, Gallen, Dougherty, Henry, Larmann, Robert, Roberts, Banks, and Doaty – are 10 legitimate people that could be IC4A qualifiers between the indoor 60m and 500m and the outdoor 100m and 400m,” said Glavin. “The potential is there.”
From the 800m through the 1500m, Glavin believes that the runners who comprise the middle distance group are in prime condition – both the returners and the newcomers – to represent Saint Joseph’s on both the Atlantic 10 and IC4A levels.
The junior duo of Steve Butenewicz and Matthew McGarvey return to lead the 800m pack. Butenewicz, who trains up with cross country, was a finalist in the event at the 2013 Indoor IC4A Championships while McGarvey, who practices with the long sprinters, earned the 800m bronze medal at the 2013 A-10 Indoor Championships. When put together, Glavin likes what he sees from his junior 800m pair.
“That’s a nice leadership when you have a guy who made the conference finals and a guy who made the IC4A finals,” said Glavin.
Potentially running on that same level by the end of his rookie campaign is West Windsor-Plainsboro South graduate and top middle-distance freshman, Eddison Gulama. Glavin expected that Gulama is the type of runner who could be a conference finalist at either the 800m or 1000m and who could qualify for the IC4As either as an individual participant or on the 4x800m.
“Gulama ran a 1:52 in high school, and I think he just scratched the surface,” explained Glavin. “I think he’s going to be outstanding. He seems to be adjusting to the training enough that he’s going to help us as a freshman, with McGarvey and Butenewicz, to add another “right-near-the-top,” depth kind of guy…His developmental curve is probably going to be a little steeper than some of the other newcomers’ are.”
In talking about Butenewicz, McGarvey, and Gulama, Glavin is excited of the 800m possibilities.
“Considering Gulama steps up and runs, if not right with McGarvey and Butenewicz, then right behind them this year, you’re talking bout three guys that could be both conference and IC4A finalists.”
Junior Jamie Gentile, who posted an 800m split of 1:53 last season, will also be in the mix, as Glavin believes that he will be a crucial factor in the event. Gentile helped the Hawks to the silver-medal in the indoor DMR at the 2013 A-10s and to a sixth-place finish in the 4x800m at the outdoor meet.
Glavin also anticipates a breakthrough season from sophomore Ryan Vance.
“Ryan ran a 1:57 in high school. and he worked hard to get right back around those numbers,” said Glavin. “If we can work to keep him healthy, I think he’s going to be a legitimate next developmental kid coming along. I think he will get to the point over the course of this year and next where he will look to help us in the way that Gentile did, where he is going to take his opportunities seriously.”
The sixth and final 800m runner at the top of Glavin’s radar is freshman Jack Magee. Magee, a cross country trainer alongside Butenewicz, ran the 800m leg of La Salle College High’s outdoor DMR that won the 2013 Penn Relays Championship of America. Magee shares his alma mater with senior distance standouts Pat Donnelly and Tom O’Kane.
1000m – 1500m
Seniors Tom O’Kane and Aaron Leskow and junior Logan Mohn will be called upon to lead the pure middle distance runners this season. They took the second, third, and fourth slots, respectively, in the indoor mile at last year’s A-10s and all made the indoor IC4A finals – O’Kane in the DMR and Leskow and Mohn in the mile; Mohn’s third-place finish in 4:06.11 was just three seconds shy of a new school record. Expectations are high for the veteran trio, and Glavin is confident that this group is up for the challenge.
“In the pure middle distance guys, you start with O’Kane, Leskow, and Mohn,” said Glavin. “[Placing at both levels] makes them legitimate factors in the conference and IC4As, and when you can start with three guys right in that set of events that are that level, other guys don’t have pressure on them. You take the pressure off of somebody and it makes them run faster. And these guys don’t consider it pressure – they consider it opportunity.”
Glavin also sees potential in junior Brady Deckert, sophomore Quinn Davis, and freshman John Mascioli – a trio of versatile runners that train with cross country on the course to prepare for the middle distance events on the track.
Deckert set new PRs in the indoor 1000m and mile last season and anchored the season’s fastest 4x100m relay that won the Penn State Relays.
Davis has already demonstrated incredible improvement on the cross country scene. The sophomore ran a 25:14 8k at Princeton this season to improve upon his 2012 Princeton time, run on the same course, by a 1:12.
“O’Kane, Leskow, and Mohn will be able to take the pressure off of a younger guy who might feel pressure,” said Glavin of competing at the conference level. “The pressure valve is completely open, and he gets nothing. Quinn can go get the best race he can so that he’s happy with it, and that’s how a kid like that makes a final…And that’s what we’re banking on with him. He has the ability to then become the next tier guy….He’s going after what he wants.”
Mascioli placed in the top five multiple times during the cross country season and posted the best A-10 rookie time at both the Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championship and the Princeton Invitational. The freshman is expected to make an immediate impact.
The Hawks will showcase the veteran talents of five upperclassmen in the longer portion of the distance events. With the graduation of All-American Kevin McDonnell, these leaders will be called upon to both control and excel at the indoor 3k and 5k and outdoor 5k and 10k.
After redshirting his senior season, graduate student Jon Mazzio returns for one final run in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. The five-time IC4A qualifier has competed at the IC4A level in all four of his distance events throughout his career on Hawk Hill.
Senior Michael Rankin will be a competitive factor in the indoor events with solid PRs in both the 3k and 5k. In turn, the senior will also look to continue his outdoor success after taking home the bronze medal in the 5000m at the 2013 A-10 Championships. Rankin is also a factor on the DMR, anchoring the indoor team that made the IC4A finals last year.
“Rankin’s deal for us is that he goes from the mile all the way to the 5k…So when I say, “He goes,” I don’t just mean he’ll run it. He anchors the DMR into the IC4A finals but goes to the 5k and gets third in the conference final,” beamed Glavin of the senior’s versatility.
A 2013 IC4A participant and A-10 point scorer in the indoor 3000m, junior Paul Szulewski will look to improve on a sophomore season in which he posted four new personal records, from the indoor mile and 3000m to the outdoor 1500m and 5000m.
“If everybody’s healthy this year, that crowd is reasonably deep,” said Glavin of his upperclassmen. “When you start thinking about scoring in the conference or making IC4As, those are the top.”
Coming off of a solid cross country season in which Donnelly improved on his 6k and 8k PRs, the redshirt senior competes anywhere from the indoor 1000m to the outdoor 5000m and will add depth to the group this year.
Staltari also adds significant depth to the long distance events, primarily in the outdoor 10,000m. Staltari posted a 10k PR of 31:24.39 last outdoor season, and if he could improve on that time by about .7 seconds per lap, Glavin believes that his senior could be staring down the possibility of qualifying for the outdoor IC4As in his final season.
Two incoming freshmen in Jimmy Daniels and Dan Savage have both gotten a taste of the collegiate distance scene by competing for the cross country squad this fall. Having run the equivalent of an IC4A-qualifying indoor 3k in high school, Daniels is expected to qualify for the indoor IC4As this year, while with a good indoor season, Savage could also make the cut.
“Both of them have the ability to run a mile,” said Glavin of Daniels and Savage. “Both ran 4:16 in high school in the 1600m. They’re both legitimate runners.”
The Hawks will leave behind the short hurdles and concentrate on the intermediate hurdles in 2013-14.
Senior Griff Roberts took fifth in the 400H at the 2013 Outdoor Atlantic 10 Championships and owns a PR of 55.42 in the event while classmate James Rodgers took eighth in the outdoor 400H in a PR 54.58 at the 2012 A-10s. Fellow senior Derrick Henry is right in the mix with a 400H PR of 54.99.
Saint Joseph’s school record holder in the 3000m steeplechase, Logan Mohn broke through in the event last season en route to the silver medal at the 2013 Atlantic 10 Outdoor Championships and a bid to the NCAA East Regional preliminaries. The sophomore owns a PR of 8:53.10 in the event and returns as one of the top 15 steeplechase participants in the entire East Region.
Classmate Brady Deckert will also look to build upon a successful sophomore season in which he posted a new PR of 9:24.49 at William and Mary’s Colonial Relays.
Unlike the running events this season, the Hawks will see a pair of newer faces leading SJU in the jumps.
The first comes in the form of sophomore long jumper Alec Peabody, who placed sixth at A-10s and 19th at IC4As during his first collegiate indoor season. Although the sophomore additionally excelled in the short sprints last season, Glavin has confidence in his sophomore’s chances in his primary event.
“I don’t want him to lose track of the long jump because of the potential,” said Glavin of last year’s team leader in the 100m, 200m, and long jump. “He’s a potential top-five conference guy in the long jump and a potential IC4A qualifier in the long jump.”
Joining Peabody will be newcomer Prince Charles Yakubu, a 2013 state-qualifying long jumper out of Saint Louis.
On the first half of the year as a whole, Glavin sees 25 Hawks who could potentially qualify for indoor IC4As in some form, whether it be as a member of a relay or through an individual event.
“You’re looking at an extra body or two in each event group that’s qualitatively good enough,” said Glavin of his 2013-14 squad. “They’re legitimate.”
Andy Arencibia, Kevin Barry, Kalib Hawkins-Crump, and Brandon Ossont will round out the short sprints while seniors Christopher Kinney and Mike Yap, also a long jumper, and juniors David Furman and Nick Pedano will add to the long sprints.
Rounding out the distance events will be a cross country core of senior Max Margiotta, junior Mike G. Cassidy, sophomores Michael Coleman and John Egan, and freshmen Chris Bencivengo, Michael K. Cassidy, and Kevin Trimmer in addition to sophomore Liam Murphy and rookie Christian Kuntz.
Saint Joseph’s will open the 2013-14 indoor season at Haverford’s Jack Pyrah Invitational on Saturday, December 7.