Eight athletes qualify for NCAA Track & Field Championship

NORTON, MA- The Wheaton College men's and women's outdoor track & field teams will be represented by eight student-athletes at this week's three-day NCAA Championship, which begins on Thursday at Baldwin-Wallace College's Finnie Stadium in Berea, Ohio.

The men's team ties last year's program record by sending seven competitors, as a pair of relays will run for the second straight spring. During the indoor championship, the Lyons tied for ninth in the nation. With sophomore Didine Jusme (Providence, RI/Classical) qualifying, the women will be represented for the 14th straight outdoor championship.

Wheaton's men own the fastest times in Division III this season in both the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays, as senior Merzudin Ibric (Revere, MA/Phillips Academy) ran a leg for each. The 4x100M relay clocked in at 40.84 on April 24 at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, while the 4x400M quartet recorded a time of 3:11.18 during the All New England meet on May 8.

Rounding out the 4x100M relay are senior Mark Cimino (Danbury, CT/Danbury), junior Raiyan Banaji (Mumbai, India/American School of Bombay) and sophomore Cailean Robinson (Newton, MA/Phillips Exeter Academy). Junior Mark Williamson (Vienna, VA/James Madison) and freshmen Cecil Jeffrey (Framingham, MA/Rivers School) and Ben Miklovich (New Gloucester, ME/Gray-New Gloucester) join Ibric on the 4x400M team.

Robinson will also compete in the 100M and 200M dashes, as he is just one of two New England athletes set to appear in either race. His top times in both events occurred last Friday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Last Chance Qualifier, as he set a school record at 10.69 in the 100M, while he and Ibric both surpassed a mark in the 200M at 21.54.

Ibric and Robinson earned a pair of All-America finishes apiece during the indoor season, including when running legs for the 4x400M relay quartet, joining Miklovich and Williamson, who both drew their first national honor. Ibric and Robinson are three-time All-Americans, Cimino competed at last year's outdoor meet, and Banaji and Jeffrey will run for the first time.

For the women, Jusme will be one of three Division III athletes to compete in both the 100-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash. She notched both of her top times at the NCAA New England Championship on May 1, finishing at 24.89 in the 200M and at 14.67 in the 100M hurdles. Jusme was an outdoor All-American in the 4x100-meter relay last spring.

Four of Wheaton's events begin on Thursday, with the 4x100M relay trials kicking off at 4:00 p.m. The women's 200M is at 6:00 p.m., followed by the men at 6:15 p.m., before the 4x400M relay prelims complete the Lyons' day of action at 7:25 p.m.

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