CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For the second time in program history, the MIT women's cross country and track and field programs were honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as they received the Deb Vercauteren Program of the Year Award, as announced on Thursday afternoon. Tech was the recipient of this year's award following a second place performance at the Cross Country Championship, a fourth place finish at the Indoor Track and Field Championship and a fifth place effort at the Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
The award is presented to one institution in Division I, II and III at the conclusion of each academic calendar year that has achieved success in cross country and track and field at the NCAA Championships. Teams are eligible for the award by qualifying for all three championships and scoring is based on each squad's finish. Tech tallied 11.5 points, edging out UW-La Crosse (second place with15 points) and Washington (Mo.) (third place with 19 points).
At the Cross Country Championship last November, the Cardinal and Gray were the runners-up to Johns Hopkins University, tallying a team score of 112 points. Senior Elaine McVay (San Ramon, Calif.) recorded her highest finish with the Engineers (11th place), concluding the 6k course in 22:00.0. Junior Sarah Quinn (Watchung, N.J.) was the second member of the squad to finish the race as she placed 16th with a time of 22:10.6.
Junior Cimran Virdi (Walnut Creek, Calif.) and sophomore Maryann Gong (Livermore, Calif.) highlighted MIT's effort during the Indoor National Championship by winning individual crowns in the Pole Vault and 3,000m, respectively. Virdi won her second consecutive indoor crown with a clear of 13-01.50, while Gong crossed the finish line in 9:47.62. Gong garnered a trio of All-America honors at the championship in the 3,000m, Distance Medley Relay and one mile.
At the Outdoor Track and Field Championship, Virdi captured the Pole Vault – her first-ever outdoor crown – with a clear of 13-07.25. Gong recorded a pair of All-America honors in the 1,500m and 5,000m, while McVay, senior Tilly Taylor (South Deerfield, Mass.) and freshman Hannah Chen (Los Gatos, Calif.) earned one accolade, respectively.