May 18, 2012

Engineers Prep for Nationals at ECAC Championship

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The MIT track and field teams traveled to RPI over the weekend to compete at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III championship, the final tune-up before next weekend's NCAA championship meet. While not sending their full squads to the competition, the Engineers still managed to fare well, with the men placing fourth and the women taking eighth place.

The Tech women were looking to post solid NCAA qualifying times in the relay events. The 4x100 quartet was up first and hoped to improve on its season-best time from the New England Division III championship. Seniors Portia Jones (Queens, N.Y.), Jamie Simmons (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Martha Gross (Short Hills, N.J.) and sophomore Jacqueline Brew (Amherst, N.H.) could not better their time from two weeks ago but did finish third overall with a time of 48.20 seconds.

The same four runners came back for the 4x400 meter relay and this time did ran their fastest relay of 2012, finishing in 3:51.05, good for fourth place.

Gross also ran a pair of individual events, finishing seventh in the 200 and 24th in the 400 meters. Jones would score in the 100-meter hurdles, placing seventh while Simmons added seventh-place points in the 400 hurdles.

Junior Lauren Kuntz (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was one of the top scorers for Tech, taking third in the pole vault. Senior Tania Morimoto (Mountain View, Calif.) was fourth in the 10,000 meters with a time of 37:22.47 and sophomore Alexandra Taylor (Harbor Springs, Mich.) finished ninth in the 1500.

On the men's side, senior Nathan Peterson (Kansas City, Mo.) was the pole vault champ, clearing 16-5.25 feet, a season best and the sixth highest mark on the NCAA Division III performance list.

Senior Benjamin Mattocks (Sharon, Mass.) missed out on first place in the 1500 by the slimmest of margins, crossing the finish in 3:50.51, just 0.05 seconds behind the winner. Mattocks' time is currently 13th on the NCAA qualifying list and should be good enough to get him into next weekend's national championship.

Senior Chinedum Umachi (Detroit, Mich.) was the runner-up in the hammer throw and senior Stephen Serene (Washington, D.C.) took third in the steeplechase.

The full entry list for next weekend's NCAA championship will be announced on Monday and the meet will begin on Friday at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The women will look to repeat their fourth-place showing from 2011 while the men are hoping to return to the podium after not scoring last year.