POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Marist freshman distance runner Mark Valentino (Smithtown, N.Y.) will compete at the U.S.A. Track & Field (USATF) Junior Championships on Sunday, June 17, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The championship meet, which consists of the top national qualifiers under the age of 20, will be held June 15-17 at the University of Indiana.
"Mark had a great outdoor season, improving his steeplechase performance with each race," Marist Director of Men's and Women's Track and Field Pete Colaizzo said. "He has excellent form over the barriers, and he is a hard-working runner. We look forward to seeing what he can achieve out at USA Juniors. He's earned the trip, and we are proud that he will be representing Marist at the meet."
Valentino exceeded the qualifying standard of 9:38.00 three times during the outdoor track season, improving his personal-best with each successive race. He first surpassed the time on Mar. 30 at the Fred Hardy Invitational in Richmond, Va. with a time of 9:37.71. On April 26 at the Penn Relays, Valentino bested that time by more than five seconds, completing the course in 9:32.46. He then recorded his best time at the MAAC Championships on May 5, running in 9:30.28 to place fifth overall and help to the Red Foxes to a second place finish.
This marks the 19th time a Marist runner has qualified for the Junior Championships since 1998, including 12 in the past five years. Last season, Isaiah Miller and Nick Hughes qualified for the 10,000-meter race. Valentino is the fourth Red Fox to qualify for the USATF Junior Championships in the steeplechase. The previous three were John Keenan in 2006, Nick Webster in 2008, Arquimedes DelaCruz in 2010.