MEDFORD, Mass. – On the strength of a number of impressive individual performances, including 11 new or improved NCAA qualifying marks, as well as four new Institute records, the MIT women’s track and field team took home second place at the NCAA Division III New England Championship. Tech, which is ranked No. 9 in the country, finished with 121.5 points, an impressive showing but not enough to overcome eventual champ, Williams College.
Portia Jones was one of the standout performers of the weekend for the Cardinal and Gray, reaching NCAA qualifying standards in four events while winning one individual race and one relay. Jones set a new MIT record in the 200m, winning the event with a time of 24.70 seconds, moving the sophomore into fourth place among all Division III runners. Jones also improved upon her NCAA qualifying time in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing in second place in 14.43 seconds. Jones and Jamie Simmons combined to take third and fourth place in the 400, with Simmons leading the way with a time of 57.08 seconds while Jones followed just 0.13 seconds behind. The two teammates then joined Martha Gross and Hazel Briner to win the 4x400 relay with a time of 3:56.06.
Simmons, Jones, Gross and Margaret Leibovic also established a new Institute record in the 4x100 relay, finishing in 48.44 seconds, good for third overall. Simmons also improved her NCAA qualifying time in the 400m hurdles, winning the event in 1:03.29 while moving up to seventh in all of Division III.
Jacqui Wentz had a pair of NCAA qualifying times in the 800 and the 3000-meter Steeplechase, as the senior won both events. Wentz broke her own record in the 800 by nearly three seconds, finishing in 2:12.92. She then returned to win the Steeplechase with a time of 11:07.32, her second consecutive New England title in that event.
Karin Fisher was one of three MIT pole vaulters to score points in the Championship, finishing in second with an NCAA qualifying vault of 11-7.75 feet. Lauren Kuntz (10-8.00) and Briner (10-8.00) also finished in the top eight.
Briner was busy all weekend, competing in the heptathlon in addition to her efforts in the pole vault and 4x400 relay. Briner set a new MIT record in the heptathlon with 4262 points, good for second place. The junior had second place finishes in the 100-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash, 800m and shot put, in addition to a third in the high jump.
MIT will participate in the NEICAAA Championship next weekend at Northeastern University. The Engineers will compete against the top teams in the region from across Divisions I, II and III, as the meet gets underway on Friday, May 7 at 3:00 p.m.