NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – After an incredible season that saw top performances all across the Northeast-10 Conference performance list as well as multiple performances that ranked nationally, the Merrimack College men's and No. 11 women's track & field teams have been selected to post their best-ever finishes at the NE10 Championships this weekend in the NE10 Track & Field Coaches' Poll, as announced on Thursday.
The 11th-ranked women have been tabbed to match the program's best-ever finish that was set last season, a third-place finish in the 12-team field. The men have been selected to post a fifth-place finish, which would stand alone as the best finish in program history at the indoor championships, bettering the program-best sixth-place finish from last season. The men and women were also tabbed fifth and third, respectively, in last year's coaches' poll.
On the women's side, Southern Connecticut was selected to win the conference championship by the league's coaches, earning 105 points and seven first-place votes. Defending NE10 champion Stonehill was the only other team to edge out Merrimack, earning 102 points and four first-place votes, while the Warriors garnered 93 points and a first-place vote. American International (78) and Adelphi (65) round out the top-five, with New Haven close behind in sixth (64). The bottom six spots in the poll feature Assumption (59), Franklin Pierce (47), Bentley (40), Saint Rose (31), Southern New Hampshire (27) and Le Moyne (15).
Southern Connecticut was also selected for a victory on the men's side with 94 points and four first-place votes, just edging defending champions American International at 93 points, though it garnered more first-place votes with six. Stonehill ranked in third at 77 points and the final first-place vote, while Franklin Pierce (76) was the final team to be slotted ahead of the Warriors, who sit fifth with 66 points. Adelphi (49) and New Haven (47) sit close at the 6-7 spots, with Assumption (37), Bentley (32), Saint Rose (22) and Le Moyne (13) filling spots 8-11.
For the women, senior captain Carly Muscaro (Ashland, Mass.) figures to shine in her 400m event after posting the second-best time in Division II history in the event earlier this season. The time is more than four seconds faster than anyone else in the conference this season. Fellow senior and captain Sarah Barnett (Bridgewater, Mass.) looks to return to the winner's circle at the conference championships, with a chance to do so in multiple events. Sophomore standout Michaela Pernell (Naugatuck, Conn.) has her eyes set on her first NE10 title, currently holding the second-fastest time in the conference this season in the 60m dash behind only Muscaro.
On the men's side, senior captain John Braga (North Reading, Mass.) enters the weekend with the opportunity to win multiple NE10 crowns as he holds three different top-two performances in the conference in this season. Sophomore Juwan Hall (Waterbury, Conn.) also eyes his first conference title as he enters the meet with the best time in the 60m dash in the NE10 this season. After a breakout freshman season that has rolled into a strong sophomore campaign, Jacob Robinson (Riverhead, N.Y.) will look to add more conference titles to his young career on the track on Saturday.