May 14, 2010

Engineers Compete at ECAC Championship

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The MIT men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Springfield College over the weekend to compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship. The women’s squad was locked in a tight battle with Williams College throughout the meet, eventually finishing second overall with 66 total points. The men finished in a tie for ninth place out of 48 total teams.

On the women’s side, a pair of athletes had record-setting performances and were able to move up the national rankings as the NCAA National Championship approaches. Portia Jones and Jacqui Wentz each set new Institute records while winning their respective events. Jones was a winner in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing in 61.34 seconds, seven-tenths of a second faster than the previous MIT standard. Jones’ time now ranked second in all of Division III just two weeks before the National meet. Jones also won the 100-meter hurdle race with a time of 14.44 seconds.

Wentz won convincingly in the 3000-meter Steeplechase, crossing the finish in 10:22.32, more than 27 seconds than her closest competitor and moving up to number two on the NCAA performance list.

Hazel Briner was the other event winner for Tech, taking the heptathlon with 4378 points. Briner was first in the 100 hurdles, 800m and shot put and second in the 200.

Tania Morimoto had a solid race in the 10,000 meters, finishing in third with a time of 36:34.11, an NCAA provisional cut and the third fastest in MIT history. Karin Fisher also picked up valuable points in the pole vault with a fourth-place finish. Briner was seventh in the pole vault as well.

On the men’s side, the throwers accumulated a good number of points, as the Engineers had a limited number of participants entered. James Oleinik finished second in the shot put with a toss of 50 feet even. Mitchell Kelly was seventh. Kelly threw his was into fourth place in the discus with a 157-08 foot effort, an NCAA provisional mark. Vladimir Sobes also had a provisional mark in the javelin, reaching 197 feet, good for third place overall.

Greg Tao was fifth in the pole vault, clearing 15-5.00 feet. Daniel Harper (seventh) and Richard Prevost (sixth) earn points for MIT in the 5000 meters and Steeplechase, respectively.

The Cardinal and Gray will host a “Last Chance Qualifier” next Friday, May 21, as athletes from around the region will have one final shot to earn a spot in the NCAA Division III Championship, which begins on Thursday, May 27.