The Mack Report

Muscaro’s Magical Rookie Year Includes Three Records

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NORTH ANDOVER – There are memorable freshman seasons, and then there are freshman seasons like the one Merrimack track star Carly Muscaro is having this winter.

In her first season donning the blue and gold, the Ashland (Mass.) native has set the school record in the 400-meter dash three times.

No, that’s not a typo.

Muscaro has set, then beaten, her own record twice this season, with the most recent record coming this past Saturday at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University, where she clocked in with a time of 55.56 seconds.

Her finish at BU is third-best time in the nation this season, and tops among all Northeast-10 Conference runners.

“I’ve definitely surprised myself,” Muscaro said. “I was confident coming into college track, I knew that if I had worked hard enough that I’d be OK, but it’s crazy to think of the season we’ve had so far. No way I ever expected this.”

Head coach Matt Pimentel said before the season that one of the team’s goals was to re-write every record in the Warriors’ book this season. The year started with Merrimack entering a whopping 10 new records in the season’s opening meet.

Muscaro’s performance this past weekend earned her NE-10 Track Athlete of the Week for a second straight week.

“We set that goal because we knew we had a lot of talent,” Pimentel said. “To be honest, I can’t sit here and tell you that I thought we would set 10 new records in our first meet of the season, but we definitely feel like we could re-write out record book this year with the new talent we have brought in and all of the returning talent that has continually improved.”

A four-year track athlete at Ashland High School, Muscaro was named a Tri-Valley League All Star in all four seasons and was twice named All-State. She also was a four-year member of the soccer team and has found that year-round track training, a new development this season for Muscaro, has helped improve her times.

“My winter and spring years last year as a senior were not that great,” she said. “I wasn’t even breaking into the 50’s on my (400-meter) time, so to take five seconds off in just a year has been amazing.

“Training for just track has definitely helped me. I think it’s a lot more mental. Not having to focus on soccer you can really prepare yourself for the just the race and you can do all of the stretching and strength exercises to just focus on running. Even with me just running the 400, I used to run other events but now just sprinting I think it’s easier to just keep your focus all the time on the one race.”

Merrimack’s track program is young – it was just established in 2010-11 – but this year’s freshman class, with Muscaro leading the way, is one head coach Matt Pimentel said he feels could change the culture of the program.

“With such a big class there is obviously some really good talent in there,” Pimentel said after the team’s first meet of the season. “We’re still a growing program, and I think that has everyone, our freshmen included, excited.”

In fact, Muscaro says it’s part of what attracted her to Merrimack.

“I know some people would be turned away that it’s a young team and one that’s building but it actually got me really excited,” she said. “Not that you’re not a part of something at other schools, but to have the chance to come to a place like Merrimack and really help establish the program and get the name out there, that’s a big reason why I wanted to come here.”

The indoor season wraps up in the next few weeks. The Warriors will compete in the Tufts Cupid Challenge this weekend, and then it’s on to the Northeast-10 Championships and the New England Championships in back-to-back weekends. The spring season will start March 22, when the Warriors head south to take part in the VCU Invitational in Richmond, Virginia.