CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Sophomore John Braga (North Reading, Mass.) concluded his stellar season with a second-place finish in the decathlon, as the Merrimack College men’s track & field team finished 30th overall in the New England Championships over the weekend at MIT. The event comprised the top college programs in the New England region, spanning all divisions.
Event: New England Championships
Location: MIT | Cambridge, Mass.
What They Said
Head Coach Jacky Mendes: “This weekend is the best this program has performed ever. Every person involved competed beyond what was thought to be their potential. Early successes in the meet began an incredible momentum of positivity and motivation that brought everyone to a new threshold of competitiveness. This was an amazing weekend and is the foundation of what will become a strong and well-rounded program.”
How It Happened
Braga’s point total in the decathlon was 6,681, which was a new Merrimack program record and is No. 22 in the nation at Division II.
Over the course of the event, Braga set new personal records in the 110 hurdles (15.98 seconds), 400 meters (50.39 seconds), pole vault (4.15 meters) and the discus (29.07 meters).
In one year, Braga has improved his point total in the event by a whopping 605 points.
Senior Anthony Arcari (Tewksbury, Mass.) finished his Merrimack career with a personal-best in the 200 meters, clocking in at 22.51 seconds. That’s also the fourth-fastest time in Merrimack history.
In the 10000 meters, Phil Harris (Plymouth, Mass.) shattered his previous personal best, finishing in 32:00.79, which was 40 seconds better than his previous time. That’s also a school record for Merrimack. Keith Steinbrecher (Wading River, N.Y.) ran a personal best and a school record in the 3000-meter steeplechase, crossing the line in 9:43.63.
The 4×400 relay team of Joe Caruso (Peabody, Mass.), Braga, Cameron Ricci (Warwick, R.I.), and Thomas Drover (Peabody, Mass.) ran a time of 3:26.68, which is second all-time at Merrimack. The 4×800 team of Christian Gentile (Melrose, Mass.), Connor Murphy (Paxton, Mass.), Luiz Cruz (Lawrence, Mass.), and Sherif Ali (Cliffside Park, N.J.) finished in 7:47.41, which is a new school record by almost three seconds.