March 9, 2008

Stephens and Morton Power MIT at ECAC Championships

March 8, 2008

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Although MIT opted to rest many of its qualifiers in preparation for the upcoming outdoor season, the men's track and field team still finished eighth at the ECAC Division III Championships behind a pair of NCAA-qualifying performances, an individual title and a new Institute record.

Senior Omari Stephens and sophomore Stephen Morton provided most of the thunder with a pair of season-best efforts. Stephens cleared 16'0.75" to win the pole vault with an NCAA provisional mark that was nearly one foot ahead of his previous season-best. Stephens attempted the meet record of 16'3.75", but was unable to clear the height despite a few solid attempts.

Morton was just as sensational in the triple jump. Although he finished second in the event, Morton still authored the fifth-best jump in the NCAA this season while topping a school record that had stood for 25 years. Morton covered a distance of 47'11" to move past Martin Taylor's '83 best jump of 47'7.25".

The Engineers featured several competitors in both the pole vault and triple jump. Greg Tao cleared 14'5.25" and Patrick Barragan was able to crest 13'5.25" in the vault while Anthony Teixeira placed 10th in the triple jump at 44'11.5". Freshman Mattias Flander finished 15th overall with a jump of 44'6.75".

The freshman 4x800m relay team of Richard Prevost, Paul Welle, Shawn Conrad and Kevin Kleinguetl wanted to go for the MIT freshman record of 8:05.13 set back in 1992, also at Harvard. Prevost, primarily a distance runner, led off with a fine 1:59.2 and handed the baton to Welle in third place. Welle got out well, took the lead halfway through and held on to first place by running an outstanding 1:57.6. Conrad held onto the lead for a while but could not stay with the top two runners in the final 200 meters before handing off to Kleinguetl in a distant third. Kleinguetl could not close the gap despite a 57.4 first 400 but finished with a 1:58.8 to enable the Engineers to set a new freshman record with the time of 7:57.23.

Next week Stephens and Morton will travel to Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, to compete in the NCAA Division III Championship. A live webcast will be provided and can be viewed by visiting http://www.onusports.com/NCAATrack08/index.html. If Morton qualifies in the long jump, he will compete at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon and 10 a.m. Saturday morning in the triple jump. Stephens will compete in the pole vault at 5 p.m. on Friday.