BOSTON, Mass. – The MIT men's and women's track and field teams took on some of the top squads in New England from Divisions I, II and III this weekend at the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association (NEICAAA) championship, hosted by Boston University. The women placed 11th and first among all Division III teams, at least partially avenging their narrow loss to Williams College in last week's New England Division III championship, while the men placed 13th overall and were also the top DIII squad.
Both teams were able to score well, despite sending a limited number of athletes to compete, with the focus on securing individual qualifications to the upcoming NCAA Division III championship. In all, four varsity and two freshmen records fell over the weekend, with a few more athletes coming very close to other marks.
Portia Jones (New York, N.Y.) had an outstanding performance, as has come to be expected from the senior, setting a new MIT record and narrowly missing her own mark in another event. Jones won the 400m with a blistering time of 55.18 seconds, a new Institute best and the top time in Division III on the year. Jones also took third in the 200, in 24.71, just over three-tenths of a second off her own program record.
Sophomore Jacqueline Brew (Amherst, N.H.) took 13th in the 200 with a solid time of 25.44 seconds and senior Jamie Simmons (Carlsbad, Calif.) was not far off Jones' impressive time in the 400, finishing fifth with a time of 56.38.
One of the strongest efforts of the weekend belonged to the MIT men's 4x400 relay. Sophomores Tyler Singer-Clark (Falmouth, Mass.) and Brian Gager (Rye, N.Y.), junior Patrick Marx (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and freshman Sam Parker (Menlo Park, Calif.) entered the meet with a solid NCAA qualifying time but knew they were capable of more. The group improved on their season-best time by nearly three seconds and came up just 0.14 seconds shy of one of the most respected records in program history, which has stood since 1990, finishing in 3:15.88, good for sixth overall and the third best in Division III.
The MIT milers had a very good afternoon, as junior Kyle Hannon (Park Ridge, Ill.) and sophomore Louise van den Heuvel (Nashua, N.H.) each turned in solid NCAA qualifying times. van den Heuvel set a new program record with her time of 4:55.56, placing sixth overall and recording the fifth-best time in Division III on the year. Hannon's time of 4:06.42 was good for seventh in the event and places him fourth on the NCAA performance list.
Another MIT record was set by the 4x800 relay of van den Heuvel, sophomore Alexandra Taylor (Harbor Springs, Mich.) and freshmen Cindy Huang (San Jose, Calif.) and Margaret Coad (Arlington, Va.). The quartet finished in 9:10.19 to place fifth overall.
Huang bested her own freshman record in the 800 with a time of 2:15.96, good for 11th place, moving her up to 26th on the NCAA performance list. Taylor (2:18.10) and Coad (2:20.00) also finished among the top 21 positions. In the men's 800, Parker came just 0.04 seconds shy of the freshman record with his time of 1:52.98, good for 16th overall and the 11th best in the NCAA.
Senior Chinedum Umachi (Detroit, Mich.) won the weight throw with a 62-5.75-foot effort and senior Nathan Peterson (Kansas City, Mo.) took second in the pole vault with a season-best vault of 16-0.75 feet. Both rank in the top 10 in Division III in their respective events.
Next weekend, MIT will send some competitors to New York for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III championship, looking to post some final qualifying marks before the NCAA championship in two weeks.