GENEVA, Ohio – Last week, Buccaneer sophomore Colin McCabe headed to Ohio for the NCAA Division III Track & Field National Championships, hosted by the University of Mount Union and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, as the number four seed in the nation among all Division III shot put throwers with a personal and school best 17.37m throw coming in to the competition. Colin received an exorbitant amount of support and praise from his coaches and Buccaneer teammates prior to departure. The team hung posters all over the Clean Harbors Athletic Center in support of the two-sport athlete, strategically placed so he would see their work as he departed Buzzards Bay for Geneva, Ohio.
Colin's event was not until Friday so he an assistant track & field coach Rob Ferrazzani took in the NCAA welcome banquet on Wednesday evening and went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday afternoon. It wasn't all fun and games as Colin spent much of his time in Geneva practicing and lifting before the competition. There was a little bump in the road on Thursday morning as practice was rained out and the facility hosting the events lost power due to the same storm.
When Friday morning came, Colin was calm and collected. Once at the facility, he warmed up, got in a stretch and then met with the other 19 shot put competitors to walk out on to the field and prepare for his National Championship appearance. Colin is the first track & field athlete in Massachusetts Maritime Academy History to appear in at Nationals and the second, since 2001 sailing won it all, to compete for a national title.
The structure of the event is that each of the 20 throwers gets three throws in the preliminary round with the top nine competitors advancing to the finals. The 20 are split in to two flights of ten. The top eight of the qualifying nine are then given All-American status by the NCAA. As the four seed in the competition, Colin was placed in the second flight, or the top ten throwers in the country. In the preliminary throws, Colin tossed distances of 16.68, 17.19 and 16.64. The 17.19 meter throw qualified him for the finals. In the final round, McCabe's fourth throw was his best of the day, throwing 17.36 meters, 0.01 meters off his best and the school record 17.37 meters; the distance that won him the All-New England Championship. Unfortunately for Colin, the number one seed in the country, David Kornack of Wisconsin – Eau Claire tossed a National Championship winning distance of 19.32 meters and the number three seed Garrett Garza of Texas Lutheran finished second with a 17.81 meter throw. But, Colin's 17.36 meters earned him a third place finish at Nationals and earned him the title of All-American, the first at Massachusetts Maritime Academy since 1999 when football defensive lineman William Linke was named an All-American.
"Competing at Nationals was an incredible experience. One that I will never forget and hope to relive next year and in my senior year." Said McCabe. "After finishing third this year, my next goal is to win the national championship with the ultimate goal of reaching 20.50 meters, the Olympic Qualifying distance. The time I spent around these other athletes this week was awesome." Added Colin.
Colin says he is going to take some time off this summer as he recovers from the 2018 football season and 2019 track & field season before returning this fall as one of the key pieces to the Buccaneer football defense.