Merrimack College men’s track & field graduate student John Braga will have his eyes set on a national title in the decathlon, when he competes in the 2018 Division II NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Charlotte, North Carolina beginning this Thursday at the Irwin Belk Complex on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University.
It will be the second time that Braga has competed in the NCAA Outdoor Championships and the first since the 2015-16 season. He placed eighth that year and finished with 7,013 points, which at that point was a school record.
This year, Braga has outdone himself. He set a school and personal record at the New England Outdoor Championships by winning the decathlon back on May 12. He concluded his Northeast-10 Conference career as a four time NE10 Outdoor Champion in the decathlon as well back on May 5. He broke the meet record, which he had previously set back in 2015. He earned United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) Top Performer and All-East Region honors and was most recently named USTFCCCA East Region Field Athlete of the Year.
In Merrimack’s first-ever home meet, he won the long jump and was second in the discus throw events back on April 21. The North Reading, Massachusetts native has broken several school records over his career and looks to cap off his final year on top.
The decathlon will be spread over the first two days of the NCAA Championships. It will begin on Thursday, May 24 at 10:30 a.m. Braga will compete in the 100m dash, long jump, high jump, and 400m dash portion of the decathlon, with the final event happening at 5 p.m. Friday’s events will include the 110m hurdles, 1500m run, discus throw, javelin throw, and conclude with the pole vault. Friday’s events will start at 9:30 a.m.