May 1, 2010

Men’s Track and Field Comes up Just Short in Pursuit of New England Championship

MEDFORD, Mass. – One week removed from capturing its 10th straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, the MIT men’s track and field team was looking to win the NCAA New England Division III title for the eighth time in program history. The Engineers were locked in a tight battle with Williams College all weekend before ultimately finishing just five points behind the Ephs for second place out of 25 scoring teams. Tech held a slim lead over Williams for much of the weekend before finally ceding first place in the final event of the Championship, after the Ephs won the 4x400m relay and MIT finished fifth.

The Engineers outperformed expectations, tallying 38 more points than they were seeded to score, led by Stephen Morton, who had an extremely busy day and accounted for 30.25 points on his own. Morton started things off with a season best mark to win the long jump. Morton jumped 23-10.50 feet to win the event and move into fourth place on the national Division III performance list. Morton was also part of the 4x100 relay squad that had a solid time of 42.87 seconds to place fourth. Joining Morton on the relay were Nathan Peterson, Josh Duncavage and Nick Leonard. Morton also secured top four finishes in the 100m (10.98 seconds), 200m (21.82) and the triple jump (47-6.50 feet), which was going on at the same time as the 4x100 relay, giving the senior little time to rest between events.

In addition to Morton’s efforts, MIT was able to come away with three other individual event wins. Greg Tao led a spectacular performance by the Tech pole vaulters, as four Engineers finished in the top eight to earn critical points. Tao was the only competitor to clear 15-11.00 feet to take first. Nathan Peterson and Cyrus Vafadari each had vaults of 14-11.00 feet to finish in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Davey Hunt had a personal best of 14-5.25 to place eighth.

Paul Welle won the 3000m Steeplechase by nearly two and a half seconds with a personal-best time of 9:15.10, improving his upon his NCAA Provisional qualifying mark. Richard Prevost, who was the New England champion a year ago, finished fourth in 9:27.97.

The final winner for the Cardinal and Gray was James Oleinik, who had an NCAA qualifying mark in the shot put, throwing 52-5.50 feet for first. Teammate Mitchell Kelly was right behind Oleinik with a personal best of 49-9.75 feet, good for second place.

Yermie Cohen had a pair of impressive showings at 800 and 1500 meters, running personal best times in both events. Cohen took fourth in the 800 with a time of 1:54.04 before coming back to take third in the 1500 in 3:51.92. The field for the 1500 was very competitive and the top three runners would finish less than four-tenths of a second apart.

In the first track event of the Championship, the 10,000 meters on Friday night, Hemagiri Arumugam and Dan Harper picked up valuable points for MIT. Arumugam’s personal best time of 31:56.02 was good for second and Harper followed in fourth in 32:17.92.

Williams captured their 12th team crown at the New England Division III Championship, the most all-time. MIT, which won the Indoor title this year, is second on that list with seven titles.

Tech will take part in the NEICAAA Championship next weekend at Northeastern University. The meet, which pits the top teams in the region from across Divisions I, II and III, will begin on Friday, May 7 at 3:00 p.m.