Carly Muscaro pulled away the final 25 meters, and she threw both arms up when she touched the finish line.
Winning the 200-meter national title at the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships was the second title of the day and the sixth NCAA title of her Merrimack College career.
But this one was also the end.
“It’s such a long process and a long weekend,” said Muscaro, a senior, who shared publicly she is a lesbian after her junior season. “You have a vision for yourself, and I visualized winning both. And when I finally did it — and it was my last collegiate race ever and my last NCAA nationals ever — it was just a sigh of relief, and I was happy that I had done what I had done.”
Muscaro won two national titles Saturday in Bradenton, Florida. She won the 400 meters (51.90 seconds) and the 200 meters (23.40 seconds).
She also won the 200- and 400-meter indoor national titles this season. In 2016, she won indoor and outdoor 400-meter titles representing Merrimack, which is in North Andover, Massachusetts.
The 5-foot-5, 125-pound Muscaro came close to winning the 200 outdoors last year, but she was beat by 0.01 seconds.
“Last year, I didn’t get out as hard as I should have, and I ended up paying the price for it,” Muscaro said. “(This year) when I got on the (startling) line, I just thought about giving a good push right from the get go, and I knew that no one would be able to match my closing speed.”
Muscaro wasn’t the only LGBT athlete at the Division II national championships. West Texas A&M junior Kylon Drones competed in the 110-meter hurdles and the 4x400-meter relay.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Drones took 13th in the 110 hurdles (14.30 seconds), running a personal-record time, and he helped the relay finish fifth in 3 minutes, 10.87 seconds to earn All-American honors.
“I ran as hard as I could,” Drones said of his 4x4 race in the final. “It was my fastest split ever.”
Drones’ split was 48.1 seconds, but he wasn’t supposed to run the relay beyond the preliminary heat. He took the spots in finals after his teammate Lachie Calvert injured his ankle in the decathlon.
“Back in high school, I absolutely hated running the 400,” said Drones, who shared publicly he is gay in February. “I never thought that I would be running the 4x4 at the national meet, ever. Having the opportunity to even be on the 4x4 knowing my 4x4 team was so good, it’s just crazy to even think about.”
While Drones, a junior, has another year of eligibility, Muscaro is ready to start her professional career.
She plans to sign with an agent soon and get a contract with a shoe company. But she has also completed her degree in criminology to use whenever her track career comes to an end.
“Overall my whole entire career at Merrimack and Division II, it’s been such a journey, and it’s been amazing,” said Muscaro, who only received interest from one Division I school, UMass-Lowell, out of high school. “I’ve grown as a runner, and I’ve grown as a person. I’ve accomplished so many goals that I set, and I’ve surprised myself where I’ve come from.
“I’m also ready to put that chapter behind me and see what I can do beyond Merrimack and college.”
Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBT.
Konrad Eiring (sophomore, Illinois men’s track & field) ran the 800 meters in 1 minutes, 56.27 seconds to finish 47th at the NCAA West Preliminary in Austin, Texas, on May 25 to end his season.
Emmonnie Henderson (senior, Louisville women’s track & field) took second in shot put (58 feet, 10 inches) and seventh in the discus (178-11) at the NCAA East Preliminary in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 25-27. She advanced in both events to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, on June 7-10. The NCAA Championships are scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN2 on June 7-8 and on ESPN on June 9-10.
Brad Neumann (redshirt junior, Minnesota men’s track and field) helped the Gophers’ 4x100-meter relay set a school record at the NCAA West Preliminary in Austin, Texas, on May 27. The relay’s time was 39.8 seconds, and it placed 16th at the meet to end Neumann’s season. The previous school record of 39.95 seconds had stood since 2000.
Max Showalter (sophomore, Purdue men’s diving) finished 10th with 263.70 points in the men’s platform at the USA Diving FINA World Championship Trials in Indianapolis on May 20.
Jaron Thomas (senior, Colorado men’s track & field) finished 15th in the 110-meter hurdles (14.037 seconds) and 20th in the 400-meter hurdles (51.65 seconds) at the NCAA West Preliminary on May 25-27 to end his season. “Jaron missed just by a little bit,” Colorado coach Mark Wetmore said in a press release. “But he had a great year and a great career for us, and we are sorry to have to go forward without him.”
Kirk Walker (assistant coach, UCLA softball) helped guide the Bruins (47-13 overall) to a pair of wins against Mississippi in the NCAA Los Angeles Super Regional to advance to the Women’s College World Series. UCLA beat Mississippi 8-7 in 11 innings on May 25, and it beat Ole Miss 1-0 on May 26.
Michael Martin (Wilson men’s soccer, men’s volleyball) said he is transferring to West Virginia University and does not intend to play a varsity sport.
Paul Messana (senior, Pomona-Pitzer men’s track & field) finished 19th in the 800 meters (1:52.63) at the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships on May 26 in Geneva, Ohio. “Working with Paul these last four years has been a truly rewarding experience,” Pomona-Pitzer men's track and field coach Tony Boston said in a press release. “Watching him train and race has been inspirational. He brought a level of maturity and intensity to each practice session, and through action alone, called upon each teammate to do the same. I can only hope that I was able to teach him as much as he was able to teach me. He has made an imprint on this program, and for that, I am forever grateful.”