NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Again improving the number of student-athletes qualifying for the NCAA Championships for the third straight season, the Merrimack College men's and No. 14 women's track & field team have a qualified a combined five Warriors for the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships, as men's senior captain John Braga (North Reading, Mass.) as well as women's senior captain Carly Muscaro (Ashland, Mass.) and sophomore Michaela Pernell (Naugatuck, Conn.) have each qualified for individual events, while senior captain Olivia Downey (Melrose, Mass.) and freshman Savanna Spencer (Seabrook, N.H.) joined Muscaro and Pernell to qualify in the 4x400m relay.
The participating Warriors will travel down to the Birmingham CrossPlex at the University of Alabama-Hunstville from March 9-11 to compete against the top Division II athletes from across the nation.
Muscaro returns to the NCAA Championships looking to secure back-to-back titles in the 400m dash after bringing home the first individual national championship in the history of Merrimack College last season in the event. She'll also look to bring home the first 200m national title of her career at the indoor championships, as she holds the top time in the nation this season in both events. Her time in the 400m entering the championships is also the second-fastest in the history of Division II.
Braga also makes his return to the NCAA Indoor Championships after becoming the first male in program history to qualify last season. The North Reading, Massachusetts native will look to go for his first national title in his senior campaign after a sixth-place finish in the heptathlon last season that earned him All-American status. He will also compete in the long jump at the national championship for the first time in his career after posting the 12th-best jump in the nation this season.
After serving as an alternate for the 4x400m relay team at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships as a freshman, Pernell sees herself qualify as an individual for the championships for the first time in her career in her sophomore season. The Naugatuck, Connecticut native will compete for the title in the 60m dash, the event in which she won her first Northeast-10 Conference and New England crowns this season.
Finally, the women's 4x400m relay team makes its return to the national championships as Muscaro and Pernell will be joined by Downey and Spencer to compete in the event. Muscaro and Downey will race with the team at the championships for the second straight season, looking to improve on their sixth-place finish from 2016 that earned them All-American honors. They enter the championships with the seventh-best time in the nation in the event this season.
Braga will compete in the heptathlon over the course of Thursday and Friday, March 9-10, concluding the seven-event competition with the 1000m at 2:05 p.m. on Friday. He'll compete in the long jump finals on Thursday at 5:05 p.m. Muscaro will run in the 400m prelims at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 9 with the finals being run on Saturday at 3:35 p.m. She will also run the 200m prelims at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 10 with the finals being run on Saturday at 4:20 p.m. Pernell will run in the 60m prelims at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 9 with the finals being run on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. The women's 4x400m relay team will wrap things up on Saturday night at 5:15 p.m.