Jimmy Martinez leads Middlebury College track team to NCAA Division III Indoor National title in distance medley event

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BOSTON – Former Columbia High School athlete Jimmy Martinez is now an NCAA national champion.

Martinez, a senior at Middlebury College in Vermont, was part of a distance medley relay team that ran to the title at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships in Boston recently.

Martinez, who ran the 800-meter leg, and teammates Nathan Hill (1,200 meters), Arden Coleman (400 meters) and Jonathan Perlman (mile) stopped the clock in 9:56.54, claiming the title by 2.21 seconds over runner-up North Central College of Illinois.

The first indoor event title in Middlebury men’s program history followed an agonizing decision by Martinez and teammate Perlman to drop out of their individual events to put all their efforts into the distance medley relay.

Martinez, a two-time All-American in the 400 meters, and Perlman, one of the nation’s top milers, would have been among the favorites in their respective events, but felt they could improve their chances for a national title if they brought fresh legs to the relay.

“This wasn’t about us as individuals. This was for the team,” Martinez said. “We put everything we had into winning this one race. It was a big gamble, but it paid off.”

Martinez, who currently holds seven Middlebury track records, was also a starting wide receiver and kick returner for the Panthers’ football team. He similarly starred in both track and football while at Columbia.

Martinez begins his final collegiate outdoor track season in two weeks with a pair of meets in San Diego, Calif.

Photos courtesy of James Martinez

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