Eleven members of the Middlebury College indoor track & field teams were selected to take part in the 2017 NCAA Championships from March 10-11. The meet is being held at the Residence Hall/Recreation Center in Naperville, Illinois on the campus of North Central College.
Competing on the women's side for Middlebury are five athletes that will take part in two events. Representing the Panthers will be seniors Paige Fernandez (Oradell, N.J.), Maddie Pronovost (Brookline Mass.) and Sasha Whittle (New York, N.Y.) as well as rookies Anna Willig (Phoenixville, Pa.) and Meg Wilson (Concord, Mass.).
In the distance medley relay, the quartet of Whittle, Fernandez, Wilson and Willig will look for a national title after the Panthers captured the event crown in 2011 and 2012. This year's group is seeded 10th with a time of 11:58.23, which the team registered during last Saturday's Tufts Final Qualifying Meet. The event will feature 12 teams with times separated by fewer than 10 seconds.
Individually, Pronovost enters the championship meet seeded second in the pentathlon, with just 182 points separating the 17 competitors. Her school-record total of 3,408 points was established during the Division III New England Championships hosted by MIT in mid February.
The Panther men will be represented by six athletes competing in three events. Senior Alex Nichols (Brunswick, Maine), juniors James Mulliken (Westport, Conn.) and Kevin Serrao (Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.) will participate. Joining them will be sophomores Jimmy Martinez (Maplewood, N.J.) and Jonathan Perlman (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) as well as rookie Nathan Hill (Hinsdale, Ill.).
Middlebury will also be represented in the distance medley relay on the men's side. Hill, Nichols, Mulliken and Serrao crossed the line with an NCAA Division III national-record time of 9:46.95 on a banked track during the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University's Track & Tennis Center. The time lowered the previous record of 9:48.61 set by Amherst in 2015 during the Open New England Championships. Rounded up to 9:54.94 for NCAA purposes, the team enters the national meet with the quickest time, as a total of 8.27 seconds are the difference between the 12 entrants in the event.
Taking part as individuals will be Martinez and Perlman. Martinez will vie for a Division III title in the 400-meter dash, entering with the fifth-quickest time of 48.65. He set that time during the Division III New England Championships hosted by Tufts in mid February. Perlman enters as the #10 seed with time of 4:12.41 in the mile, establishing the mark Saturday at the Tufts Last Qualifying Meet.
Pronovost will begin her quest for a national title with the first of five events in the pentathlon starting on Friday at 10:30 a.m. The mile preliminary races for Perlman will take place on Friday afternoon at 1:15 p.m. and the final on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. Martinez's quest for a 400-meter crown will start on Friday at approximately 2:20 p.m. with the finals taking place Saturday at 2:15 p.m. The women's and men's distance medley relay timed finals will take to the track at around 5:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.