DEDHAM, Mass. – Looking to secure or improve spots at the NCAA Championship for many of its top athletes the MIT women’s track and field team finished eighth overall at the New England Intercollegiate Athletic Amateur Association (NEICAAA) Championship over the weekend. The Engineers, ranked No. 7 in the country, were the second best Division III finisher in the meet, which matches the top squads in New England from across all Divisions.
Tech had five new or improved NCAA qualifying marks at the meet, to go along with four personal records. Leading the way was sophomore Jamie Simmons, who had an excellent showing in the 400-meter hurdles. Simmons finished in third place overall, tops among Division III runners, with her time of 1:02.39, the second best time in Division III on the year.
Portia Jones had a pair of strong performances at 200 and 400 meters. Jones won the 400 with a season-best time of 56.79. The provisional mark moves Jones up to 14th in the country. In the 200, Jones tied a personal record, finishing in 24.70 good for third place and first in Division III. Her time was just 0.13 seconds from the automatic qualifying standard and is the sixth fastest in the nation on the year.
Jones and Simmons teamed up with Martha Gross and Kirsten Aarsvold to run an excellent 4x400 race. The quartet placed second with NCAA automatic time of 3:48.62, smashing the Institute record by over three seconds.
Jones, Simmons and Gross were then joined by Margaret Leibovic to take seventh place in the 4x100 relay with a time of 48.65, the groups second fastest time ever.
Jacqui Wentz had a provisional qualifying time in the 1500, finishing in 4:33.00 and 11th place. Other personal bests came from Maggie Lloyd in the Steeplechase (11:19.26) and Lauren Kuntz in the pole vault (10-11.75 feet).
The Engineers will be back in action on Thursday, May 13, competing in the Easter College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship, one of their final two tune-ups before the National Championship later this month.