Brunnette, Bartlett to compete among nation's best
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The top two runners from the Plymouth State University men's indoor track and field team were both included as the NCAA announced the participants for the NCAA Division III Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships to be held in Boston, Mass. later this week.
Seniors Sam Brunnette (Newport Center, Vt.) and Warren Bartlett (Loudon, N.H.) will represent the Panthers on the nation's biggest stage, competing for a national championship in their respective events. Brunnette will appear in the 3,000-meter run, while Bartlett is an entrant in the mile run.
"Sam and Warren are going back to our sport's biggest stage," said head coach John Ostler, "and they're going armed with experience, confidence and the best fitness and race readiness of their lives. They're going to perform great and I'm excited to have a front row seat."
Brunnette is making his third straight appearance at the indoor championships, competing in the 3,000-meter run both previous times having placed 14th as a sophomore before earning All-America status after an eighth place finish a year ago. Brunnette set a meet record while posting the third fastest time in the nation during his season premiere in the event at the Branwen Smith-King Invitational at Tufts University on Jan. 26. His time of 8:25.80 was more than two full seconds faster than his closest competition and, when converted for a banked track, was the third fastest in the nation at the time.
He was even better two weeks later at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University. Competing against collegiate and amateur athletes from all NCAA divisions from across North America, Brunnette finished in 8:16.84 setting a new school record that was nearly 3.5 seconds faster than his previous record time and the second fastest time in the country. A week later he captured his fourth straight Little East Conference title in the event, beating his closest competitor by a remarkable 21 seconds.
Bartlett is making an appearance at the national championships for the second straight year after finishing 13th in the preliminaries of the mile run a year ago. He's been impressive in the event all season. He won the PSU Winter Classic in 4:28.07, winning by more than 11 seconds, then shaved six seconds off his time a week later to win the Middlebury Winter Classic. At the time his mark was among the top 15 in the nation. He won the mile again at the Panther Invitational on Feb. 2 with a time of 4:21.30, then set a school record at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational crossing the line in 4:11.07 – the 12th fastest time in the country. He captured All-New England status with a fourth place finish at the New England Regional Championship at MIT on Feb. 23, and took first in his final tune-up at the Tufts National Qualifying Meet on Saturday (Mar. 2).
Brunnette enters the field as the fourth seed with an 8:16.84 seed time, while Bartlett's seed time of 4:10.79 makes him the 14th seed. For each individual event contested, the top 20 declared student-athletes were accepted into the competition.
The championships will be held Friday and Saturday (Mar. 8-9) at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Mass., with the University of Massachusetts Boston serving as host. The preliminaries for both events are set for Friday, with the 3,000 meters taking place at 1:00 p.m. and the mile run at 5:20 p.m. The finals are set for Saturday – the mile run at 3:15 p.m. and the 3,000 meters at 4:55 p.m.
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