Women’s Track and Field Begins Push toward Championship Season at Valentine’s Meet

BOSTON, Mass. – The MIT women's track and field team was back in action at Boston University for the second time in three weeks and the Engineers were once again up to the challenge of competing with some of the top athletes in New England, including a number of Division I competitors. Tech achieved seven different NCAA-level performances while narrowly missing a few more, in its final weekend of competition before the Division III New England Championship.  

Perhaps the most impressive showing came from the 4x400 meter relay squad of Jamie Simmons, Hazel Briner, Martha Gross and Portia Jones. That group, which already holds the MIT record in the event, placed in fifth place with a time that was only slower than a couple of Division I and II teams. Finishing in 3:52.35, MIT automatically qualified for next month's NCAA Division III Championship.

Karin Fisher continued to pile up outstanding efforts in the pole vault as the senior has won the event in four of the five meets she has competed in this year. Fisher (12-5.50 feet) and teammate Briner (11-11.75) finished one-two in the event, as each reached the NCAA provisional standard in the process. Lauren Kuntz tied for fourth with a vault of 10-11.75 feet.

Jones, Simmons and Gross also took part in the 400 meters and posted times nearly as strong as their relay splits. Jones finished sixth overall and tops among Division III runners with an NCAA provisional time of 56.80 seconds, just 0.05 seconds off the automatic standard. Simmons also had a provisional qualifier with her time of 58.53 seconds, good for 22nd overall. Gross completed the two-lap race in 1:01.26 and freshman Megan Bumgarner was just behind in 1:01.45.

Other NCAA qualifying marks came from Amy Magnuson in the 60-meter hurdles (9.20 seconds) and Louise van den Heuvel, who continues to improve quickly in the mile with a personal best time at 5:03.98.

Jacqueline Brew posted a personal best and the second-fastest time in Institute history at 200 meters (26.10 seconds) while Olivia Papa also set an individual record in the 800 (2:20.37).

Other Tech athletes will compete on Saturday at MIT's second Coed Invitational. The entire team will then return to the Shobrys and Aronson track for the NCAA Division III New England Championship in one week.