NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Continuing to amaze week in and week out, junior captain Carly Muscaro (Ashland, Mass.) broke the all-time New England Intercollegiate record in the 400m dash and qualified for the Olympic trials on her way to a New England title, while junior John Braga (North Reading, Mass.) set a school record in the decathlon as the Merrimack College men’s and women’s track & field teams each posted top-20 finishes and saw two individual champions at the New England (NEICAAA) Championships over the weekend.
Event: New England Championships
NE Champions: Men: Braga – Decathlon | Women: Muscaro – 400m Dash
Team Finishes: Men: 19th/35 | Women: 15th/37
Location: Southern Connecticut State | New Haven, Connecticut
What They Said
Head coach Jacky Mendes, “Such an incredible weekend for the Warriors. Muscaro with a world class 400m race, Braga with the decathlon win that should punch his ticket to nationals, and the women’s 4X400m relay with an amazing race hopefully securing their spot at the NCAA Championship. We brought more athletes to this championship meet than ever before, and everyone gave their best to deliver. Merrimack has come a very long way this year as a hard-working and determined group, and this momentum is phenomenal for the NCAA championship and the next year to come.”
How It Happened
In a year that has been nothing short of spectacular, Muscaro continues to find ways improve and impress as she ran the fastest race of her career at the New England Championships in the 400m dash, winning the title with a blistering time of 51.17 that broke her school record, meet record, and the all-time New England Intercollegiate record. That time, which is the fastest in Division II this season and ranks fifth among Division I times, also qualified Muscaro for a chance to run at the Olympic Trials in Oregon in July.
Muscaro would also be joined by her fellow All-Americans in the 4x00m relay in freshmanMariessa Ricciardi (Holden, Mass.) and juniors Olivia Downey (Melrose, Mass.) and Kiana Weary (Brockton, Mass.) to once again improve their school record time in the event, running it in 3:45.21 for a second-place finish at New England’s. The time ranks second in Division II this season and will look to carry the 4x400m team back to nationals.
Junior Sarah Barnett (Bridgewater, Mass.), the Northeast-10 Conference Champion in the heptathlon, shined in her signature event with a new school record of 4414 points and posting a sixth-place finish among New England’s best competition.
Braga brought home the lone individual New England title for the men with a dominant performance in the decathlon. The only male All-America in program history, Braga posted an outstanding five first-place finishes in 10 events of the decathlon, coming in the 100m dash (11.25), 1,500 meter run (4:29.50), high jump (1.99m), long jump (7.13m) and javelin throw (50.46m). His high jump was good enough for a new school record, while his javelin throw is second in program history. His overall point total of 6955 is also a school record and NCAA provisionally qualifying score, ranking 10th in Division II this season.
The men saw three other individuals post top10- finishes in their events including freshmanMichael Cuesta (South Portland, Maine) in the triple jump, finishing 10th with a 14.17m jump, and senior Denzel Livingston (Billerica, Mass.) in the long jump, finishing ninth with a 6.95m jump. Freshman Jacob Robinson (Riverhead, N.Y.) also cracked the top-10 in the 200m dash, finishing seventh with a time of 22.05. The rookie set a new school record in the event in the preliminary race, posting a time of 21.96.
The Warriors will have Muscaro representing at the NCAA Championships in two weeks, and hope to have multiple other athletes join her in Bradenton, Florida May 26-28.