NORTHAMPTON, Mass. - With the NCAA Division III Indoor Championship just a week away, the MIT men's and women's track and field teams headed to Smith College for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship meet. The women's squad, who recently moved up to No. 2 in the country, the highest ranking in program history, finished 11th of 43 scoring teams with a limited number of entrants. On the men's side, the No. 11 Engineers complied 16 points among just four scoring competitors, to place 17th overall.
Hazel Briner made the most of the last chance to position herself for the NCAA Championship. She cleared a new personal best in the pole vault (12-3.50 feet) to take second place and move up to 13th on the national performance list. Teammate Karin Fisher had a solid effort of 11-11.75 feet, good for third place.
Martha Gross ran a strong race at 400 meters, finishing in 59.10 seconds and in third place. In the 800, Brooke Johnson set an MIT freshman record of 2:18.51, placing sixth in her first race at that distance. Jamie Simmons was a few places behind Johnson in eighth, with a time of 2:18.87. Portia Jones also ran at the meet, competing in the 55-meter hurdles, taking fourth place with an NCAA provisional mark of 8.40 seconds. Jones currently has the fifth best time in the country in that event, which she achieved last month.
On the men's side, Stephen Morton and a pair of pole vaulters fared well at the Championship. Greg Tao led the way with a second place finish in the pole vault, clearing a new personal record of 16-1.75 feet and putting him into 10th place in all of Division III heading into the National Championship. Nathan Peterson was ninth with a vault of 14-10.00 feet.
Morton competed in both the triple and long jumps, the events in which he owns the first and second best performances in the country, respectively. Morton placed third in the triple jump with a 46-4.25 foot effort and seventh in the long jump (22-0.75 feet).
Also competing this weekend at the IC4A Championship, Kyle Hannon ran a solid 4:11.67 mile in the prelims to establish a new MIT freshman record and move up to No. 14 on the national performance list.
The NCAA Division III Championship will be held next weekend, Friday and Saturday, March 12-13 at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. The complete field of competitors will be announced on Monday, March 8.