Bartlett and Brunnette to represent Panthers on biggest stage
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Two members of the Plymouth State University men's indoor track and field team will represent the Panthers at the highest level of intercollegiate competition – the NCAA Championships.
Juniors Warren Bartlett (Loudon, N.H.) and Sam Brunnette (Newport Center, Vt.) have both qualified for the NCAA Division III Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama later this week. Bartlett will compete in the mile run, while Brunnette will contend in the 3000-meter run.
"I'm excited to head back to indoor nationals for the second straight year, this time with two athletes," said head coach John Ostler. "It's appropriate that Warren and Sam have both qualified because they owe a large portion of their success to each other. Although their training and events differ, they do, occasionally, collaborate on workouts, sharing laps and pacing each other according to their strengths. In order to be successful at Nationals they'll need each other now more than ever."
Bartlett has come on strong over the last two weeks putting together back-to-back school record performances. He posted a 4:14.17 in the mile run on a banked track at the Boston University Last Chance Meet on Feb. 25, before running a 4:12.87 on a flat track at the Tufts National Qualifying Meet on Saturday. That time converts to a 4:09.69 banked track time which was the 11th fastest in the nation. Bartlett will be the 10th seed at the championships. It will be his first experience competing on the national stage.
Brunnette is no stranger to the NCAA Championships. Last year he qualified for the Indoor Track and Field Championships where he finished 14th in the 3000 meters. In the fall he competed at the Men's Cross Country National Championships where he earned All-American status with a 25th place finish. He posted a season-best time of 8:20.96 in the 3000 meters at the Tufts National Qualifying Meet on Saturday, just 0.04 seconds shy of his personal record and more than nine seconds faster than his previous best this indoor season. His time converts to an 8:15.20 on a banked track, the fifth fastest time in the country. He will be the fifth seed at the championships.
"Sam, as a veteran of two of these meets, will help Warren navigate his first time in a national setting," added Ostler. "In turn, Warren's performance will set the tone for the meet and no doubt inspire Sam."
The championships will be held March 9-10 at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Alabama, with Birmingham Southern College serving as the host institution. Mile run preliminaries will take place Friday afternoon and finals for both events will be Saturday afternoon. The top eight finishers in each event will earn All-American honors.
"Although it can be said for the entire field, Warren and Sam are both going with the ultimate goal of earning All-American status," said Ostler in closing. "Getting to this point was just a goal, not the goal. They both have exceptional races left in their legs."
– 30 –