PITTSBURG, Kansas – Capping off a weekend of historic success for the Merrimack College men’s and women’s track & field teams at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the women’s 4x400m relay team of freshman Mariessa Ricciardi (Holden, Mass.), sophomore Kiana Weary(Brockton, Mass.) and juniors Olivia Downey (Melrose, Mass.) and Carly Muscaro (Ashland, Mass.)ran to a sixth-place finish in the national final, earning All-American status in the final race of the weekend on Saturday night.
Event: 2016 NCAA Women’s 4x400m Relay National Championship
Finish: Downey, Muscaro, Ricciardi, Weary – 6th/13 4x400m Relay (3:44.37)
Location: Pittsburg State University | Pittsburg, Kansas
How It Happened
The Warriors’ 4x400m relay team had one primary goal entering the 2015-16 indoor season – qualify for the NCAA Championships. They were able to do just that at the New England Championships, shattering the school record and earning a third-place finish with a time of 3:44.89. That time would qualify the Warriors for Nationals as the first relay team in program history to do so. They would enter the championship weekend with the seventh-fastest time in Division II this season.
As they have done consistently throughout the season, the team was once again able to better themselves as they set another school record with a time of 3:44.37, winning their heat and posting a sixth-place finish in the field of 13. The Warriors’ finish inside the top-eight also earned Downey, Muscaro, Ricciardi and Weary All-American honors in the event.
With the women’s 4x400m relay closing out competition for the weekend and the relay team being named All-Americans, all Merrimack athletes that competed at Nationals earned All-American honors in their respective events, as Muscaro earned it along with her national crown in the 400m dash, while junior John Braga (North Reading, Mass.) earned the same in the heptathlon, also posting a sixth-place finish.
After becoming the first relay team in program history to represent Merrimack at Nationals in the 2015-16 indoor season, Downey, Muscaro, Ricciardi and Weary will now look to do the same in the outdoor season as they 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.