BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - After qualifying as the seventh-fastetst time in the nation in their second-ever appearance at the NCAA Championships, the No. 15 Merrimack College women's track & field 4x400m relay team of senior captains Carly Muscaro (Ashland, Mass.) and Olivia Downey (Melrose, Mass.), senior Kiana Weary (Brockton, Mass.) and sophomore Michaela Pernell (Naugatuck, Conn.) posted its best-ever finish at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships on Saturday, running a school record time to post an impressive fourth-place finish at Nationals and earn All-American status for the second consecutive year.
Event: 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships
Results: 4x400m Relay (4th-place, 3:44.40)
Location: CrossPlex Complex | Birmingham, Ala.
How It Happened
- After appearing at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2016 to become the first-ever relay team in program history to qualify for Nationals, the 4x400m Warriors made their return in 2017 with essentially the same look. Muscaro, Downey and Weary all raced with the sixth-place 4x400m relay team last season to earn All-American status, while Pernell, who served as an alternate last season, filled in that fourth spot this year. This marks Pernell's first All-American honors.
- As they did consistently throughout the season, the Warriors were once again able to better themselves on the track, this time posting their best performance of the season by more than half a second. Merrimack entered the weekend seventh in the nation with a time of 3:44.93, and was able to better that time to 3:44.50 on their way to a fourth-place finish. Their finish inside the top-eight garnered them All-American honors.
- With the Warriors falling a bit behind but remaining in striking distance throughout the race thanks to some good runs from Downey, Pernell and Weary, Merrimack was able to set up it's two-time national champion on the day for the final leg. Muscaro, beginning her anchor leg about two seconds behind the heat leader, would dig deep in her third race of the day to close out the gap. She would run a sub-52-second 400m leg and pull into the lead at the very end to give the Warriors a win in their heat.
- With Saturday's result in the 4x400m final, Downey and Weary join Muscaro as the only athletes to have earned All-American status two different times in the history of the program.
The Warriors will now turn their attention to the outdoor season, which gets started next weekend with the 49er Classic at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte