MANSFIELD, CONN. – On Friday, youngie Colin McCabe set a school record in the shot put at the Eastern Connecticut State University Early Invitational. Yesterday, he was one of two Buccaneer track and field athletes to be listed on MASCAC's Honor Roll. Today, we honor the football and track and field athlete as our NCAA Division III Week Male Athlete of the Day.
McCabe had an excellent start to his first year at Massachusetts Maritime Academy as he played in all 10 of the Bucs' games. The defensive lineman led the team in sacks (5.5) and was third in tackles for a loss (7 for 38 yards), finishing fourth in total tackles (40).
Come spring, McCabe switched to shot put and has already made waves in the Blue-and-Gold's first meet of the year. McCabe won the men's competition at 13.96 meters, almost half a metre better than his closest competitor. His results helped propel the men's track and field team to a fourth place finish out of eight teams with 58 points.
"High school sports for me were just a good time," described McCabe. "I played a lot of sports. I was captain of football, track, and baseball teams, though track was my best sport."
McCabe was fortunate enough to be coached at Dartmouth High School by Coach Wayne "Rock" Cordeiro and, as McCabe explained, the instruction helped him to improve tremendously over four years.
"It was cool, because in the winter, my throwing coach with track set the school record in the winter of 1964 with a 53-foot shot. I beat [that record] my senior year at 57.10."
Hailing from just down the road in Dartmouth, McCabe was introduced to Massachusetts Maritime Academy at a relatively early age.
"I first got into the school my freshman year. My best friend Ben Paine [baseball] did a presentation on Mass Maritime. I thought it was so cool and ever since then could not picture myself anywhere else. This was the only school I applied to. I came up the end of my junior year and took a tour with the football coach and went again the beginning of my senior year. And then I signed off right when I got my acceptance."
McCabe has transitioned to university life seamlessly, balancing his marine engineering major with regimental duties and two sports.
"It's not that bad, once you finish classes, you take classes and have practice, which is a good stress relief. After that, there is time for practice. You don't get to nap like the other kids, but it's fine.
Track is good for football because I lift weights and getting stronger is really all the practice I need. It is not really that different preparing for meets and games, I just put my headphones in and get zoned in."
With a string of nor'easters playing havoc with spring teams' schedules, Head Track and Field Coach Cathy Lohse has had trouble getting adequate time to practice outdoors. This did not phase the calm and mild-mannered McCabe.
"I think I did [have enough practice], honestly. I got to go in the gym and throw a couple off the wall and then we got to go outside for the week prior, so I felt really ready."
Still, the Warrior Invitational at Eastern Connecticut was bigger than any meet in which the Dartmouth Indians competed, so I asked McCabe whether he had a moment where it really him that he was now a D-III athlete.
"I definitely felt like I was in college. I was definitely nervous. I was this kid with a shaved head throwing against men with grown beards, but I felt a lot more comfortable after the warmups. Right off the bat, I felt like I could definitely throw it further than the other kids."
Determined from his first year in high school to become a Buccaneer, McCabe is certain that a D-III university was the right choice and that Mass Maritime is home.
"I am here for a good education and I am just playing sports because I enjoy them. I don't really mind that the focus isn't on the sport and just having a good time and meeting new friends. I love everyone on the team. We connected instantly and they are all good kids and I am really looking forward to hanging out with all of them as we finish the season."
McCabe was tabbed for the Conference Honor Roll after his performance, while teammate John Driver joined him on the list. Driver, a junior from Williamstown, Mass., won the 3000 meter steeplechase with a time of 12:11.39.
The Academy men's and women's track and field teams have two meets this weekend, travelling to the Regis Spring Classic on Friday and the Corsair Classic in McCabe's hometown on Saturday.
Stay tuned as we continue to profile our male and female athletes every day of NCAA Division III Week.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate