May 26, 2010

MIT Track & Field Teams Head to NCAA Championship

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Both the MIT men’s and women’s track and field teams will travel to Barea, Ohio this week for the 2010 NCAA Division III Outdoor Championship with their sights set on bringing home a record number of All-America honors. A total of 11 athletes are entered in the field, the most in Institute history, as the women will be represented in nine events and the men will appear in five.

Portia Jones, who was recently named the New England Track Athlete of the Year, will be MIT’s busiest competitor. The sophomore, who captured a pair of All-America honors at the Indoor National Championship earlier this year, is entered in four events this week. Jones’ competition will kick off with the trials of the 200 meters at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, an event she enters as the seventh seeded participant. The finals of the 200 are scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 3:35 p.m. On Friday afternoon, Jones will have a pair of trial heats, the 100-meter hurdles at 3:30 p.m. followed by the 400m at 4:10 p.m. Jones currently has the second fastest time in the country in the 400 and is seventh in the 100 HH. In addition to the 200, Jones could be competing in as many as three other event finals on Saturday. The 100m hurdles will take place at 1:45 p.m., the 400 is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. and the 4x400 relay will conclude the meet at 4:45 p.m.

Jones will be joined in the 4x400 relay by Jamie Simmons, Martha Gross and Kirsten Aarsvold. That quartet enters the meet with the third best time in all of Division III and will look to replicate Tech’s All-America performance in this event at the Indoor Championship.

Simmons is also entered in the 400-meter hurdles as the no. 5 overall seed. Trials for that event begin at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday with the finals set for Saturday afternoon at 3:15 p.m.

Along with Jones and Simmons, the third Tech athlete scheduled to compete in multiple events is senior Jacqui Wentz. Wentz will run both the 1500 and 3000m Steeplechase and is among the favorites in both races. The senior from Santa Rosa, Calif. owns the top overall time in the 1500, which she achieved just last week at a Last Chance qualifier, and the second fastest time in the Steeplechase. The 1500m trial heats will be run at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday and the finals will follow at 1:20 p.m. on Saturday. The field of 18 in the Steeplechase will race for the National title on Friday evening at 5:45 p.m.

Alina Gatowski will be one of 18 runners competing in the 10k, a finals only event that will be run on Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. Gatowski enters the NCAA Championship seeded 15th and will hope to improve on that place to capture All-America honors.

Karin Fisher is MIT’s final entry on the women’s side, competing in the pole vault on Thursday. Fisher will look to become the fifth vaulter in program history to earn an All-America nod.

On the men’s side, four Tech competitors will be in action, three of whom will appear in the field events. Leading the way for the Cardinal and Gray will be four-time All-American, Stephen Morton. Morton, the program record holder in four events, will take part in both the long and triple jump competitions. The long jump, in which he is seeded             ninth, will take place on Thursday beginning at 6:00 p.m. The trials and finals of the triple jump are set for Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

Vladimir Sobes, the first MIT athlete scheduled to compete this week, will take part in the javelin throw on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Greg Tao will also be in action on Thursday with the trials and finals of the men’s pole vault, scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Tao finished fourth in the pole vault at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championship and has collected four All-America honors in his career.

Tech’s final competitor is Yermie Cohen, who enters the competition as the top overall seed in the 1500. Cohen will look to become MIT’s first All-American in an outdoor track event since Sean Montgomery in 2001.

Live results of the NCAA Championship will be available, following the conclusion of each event, and can be found here. For more information on the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championship, click here. Fans can also follow MIT progress on Twitter, at http://twitter.com/MITengineers.

A year ago, the MIT women secured a program-best, 10th-place finish while the Tech men placed 29th. Six athletes came home with All-America accolades, including Jones (400 IH), Morton (Triple Jump), Tao (Pole Vault) and Wentz (3000 SC).