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Three Owls to Run at NCAA Track Championships

KEENE, N.H. 5/20/03 - Two of Keene State’s most honored athletes will complete their college careers this weekend at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships, being held at St. Lawrence University in New York.

Both four-time national track champions, Mary Proulx and Mark Miller hope to conclude their sensational Owl careers by adding two more titles at the national meet. Proulx will run in the 10,000-meter race on Thursday night and return to the track to compete in the 5,000-meter on Saturday. She is the defending champ in both events. Miller will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday and the 5,000-meter race on Saturday. Wilson Perez, who returned to the team this spring, will also run in the 10,000-meter race on Thursday.

Long-time KSC Coach Peter Thomas feels Proulx and Miller have a great chance of returning to Keene with two more national championships. “I think they will win, but they both will be challenged,” said Thomas. “It’s not written in stone that they will finish first.” Proulx’s main competition in the 5,000-meters will come from Melissa White of SUNY-Geneseo and Missy Buttry of Wartburg (IA) College. White had a faster qualifying time than Proulx in the 5k and captured the indoor title in the event. “They both will give me strong competition,” said Proulx, whose 10k qualifying time of 33:21.80 set at the Penn Relays, is the fastest time ever recorded in the event by a Division III runner. A four time national champion in the 1,500-meters, Miller will compete in the steeplechase for the first time at the NCAA Meet. “It’s been a learning experience. I feel I have improved every time I’ve run it,” said the senior from Shelburne Falls, Mass. “I feel confident going into the race.”

Miller will go up against Ryan Bak of Trinity (Conn.) College in the 5,000-meters. “It’s our last match up as collegians, so I’m sure we’ll be going after each other,” he said. Ranked second in the 10,000-meters, Perez, a senior from Newmarket, N.H., will also be running for the win. “I’m going to try and be aggressive, set a fast pace, and see who follows me,” Perez said. “I’m ready to rock.”

Both Proulx and Miller will have mixed emotions as they take the final laps of their college careers this weekend. “It’s sad, but I want to go out with a bang,” said Proulx, who has garnered 13 All-America awards at KSC. “Regardless of what happens, I’m happy with what I have accomplished.”

“I knew this day was coming, but I’m not saddened by it,” said Miller, a nine- time Owl All-America. “There will be opportunities for me to excel after college, and I’m looking forward to future challenges.”

“Their collegiate careers are coming to an end, but their running careers are hopefully just taking off,” Thomas said.

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