PITTSBURG, Kansas – Representing the Merrimack College men’s track & field team as the first male to ever reach Nationals, junior John Braga (North Reading, Mass.) broke two school records on his way to a sixth-place finish in the heptathlon championship at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships, becoming the first male in program history to be named an All-American.
Event: 2016 NCAA Heptathlon National Championship
Finish: John Braga – 6th/16 Heptathlon (5317)
Location: Pittsburg State University | Pittsburg, Kansas
How It Happened
Braga completed the seven events of the heptathlon across both days of the championship, with the split of four events on Friday and three on Saturday all being the first ran events of their respective days. On Friday, Braga competed in the 60m dash, long jump, shot put, and high jump. The junior began competition with a personal record in the 60m dash, posting a sixth-place finish with a time of 7.18. He followed that up with a fourth-place finish in the long jump (7.06m), but then slipped with a 14th-place finish in the shot put (10.52m). Braga finished his first day of competition strong with a fifth-place finish in the high jump, leaping 2.00m and finishing day one in eighth-place.
In the final three events on Saturday morning, Braga consistently shined to help his cause. He began the day by breaking his own school record in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.68, placing 12th in the field. He then matched his school record in the pole vault at 4.20m, garnering a 10th-place finish as he headed into the final event of the weekend in the 1000m.
Looking for a strong finish to competition in the conclusion of the heptathlon, Braga delivered just that as he ran the 1000m in a time of 2:41.34, posting an impressive second-place finish in the field of 15 and bumping himself up to a sixth-place finish overall. His finish in the top-eight also earned him All-America status.
After becoming the first male in program history to represent Merrimack at Nationals in the 2015-16 indoor season, Braga will now look to do the same in the outdoor season as he and the rest of the Warriors look to continue to have their best year ever in competition beginning Saturday, March 26 at the Bridgewater State Bears Invitational.