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Six Will Represent the Pride in the NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships in California

Head Coaches Jim Pennington and Ken Klatka Springfield, Mass. -- May 21, 2012 -- A total of six student-athletes will represent Springfield College at the NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in southern California later this week. The six will include Kevin Coyle, Brian Fuller, Ryan O'Connell, and Zach Pietras on the men's side, and Kelly Curtis and Colleen Brague on the women's side.

The NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships will take place at Fritz B. Burns Stadium Thursday May 24 through Saturday, May 26 at the Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd-Scripps Colleges in Claremont, California, located 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains.

A total of five men actually qualified to compete in the NCAA's from Springfield College. The fifth was junior Ryan Ux (Nashua, N.H.) who qualified in the javelin, but who cannot compete due to an injury in his right elbow (partially torn medial collateral ulnar tendon).

All four men will compete on Thursday.

Leading off will be junior Ryan O'Connell (Middleboro, Mass.) at 4:45 pm (PT) in the 1500 meters. O'Connell qualified 19th with a time of 3:51.91 which he ran this past Friday at the ECAC Championships in Troy, N.Y. It will be O'Connell's first appearance in the NCAA's in track & field. He finished 88th in the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh this past fall.

Senior Kevin Coyle (Bradford N.H.) will be up next, competing in the long jump at 5:50 pm (PT). As a junior, Coyle finished fourth in the long jump with a leap of 7.12 meters (23-4 1/2) at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last year in Delaware, Ohio. Coyle won the national title in this event at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. This year, Coyle qualified seventh with a leap of 7.37 meters.

Also on Thursday, both grad student Brian Fuller (Ludlow, Mass.) and junior Zach Pietras (Ludlow, Mass.) will compete in the 3000-meter steeplechase at 8:30 pm (PT). Fuller last year just missed becoming an All-American in this event when he finished ninth with a time of 9:13.04 in Delaware, Ohio. This year, he is ranked second in the nation as a qualifier with a time of 8:56.79.

Pietras just recently finished second in the ECAC Division III Championships with a time of 9:02.27 in the steeplechase. That time ranks him eighth as a qualifier for this event Thursday.

A total of two women will compete for Springfield. They will include senior Kelly Curtis (Princeton, N.J.) in the heptathlon and javelin, and junior Colleen Brague (Smithfield R.I.) in the javelin.

Curtis will begin her competition in the heptathlon on Thursday at 2:30 pm (PT). She and Brague will then compete in the javelin on Saturday at 3:35 pm (PT).

Curtis is qualified fifth nationally in each event. She is fifth in the heptathlon with 4628 points. She is also fifth in the javelin at 43.03 meters. Last year, Curtis placed fourth in the heptathlon with 4,760 points in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Delaware, Ohio. This year, at the NCAA Indoor Championships at Grinnell, Iowa, she placed seventh in the pentathlon.

Brague is qualified 22nd in the javelin at 41.16 meters, which she threw this past weekend at the ECAC's, in which she finished second.

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Head Coach Ken Klatka

Ken Klatka Ken Klatka, an associate professor of physical education at Springfield College, will enter his 38th season as head coach, and 44th as a coach overall, of the men’s track and field program in 2013-2014. He ranks among the nation’s most successful coaches, with an overall record of 447 wins, 156 losses, and two ties for an impressive .743 winning percentage. In 2011, Klatka was inducted into the Springfield College Athletic Hall of Fame. Read more.

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