Nov. 10, 2007
NEW LONDON, Conn. - Saturday's NCAA Division III New England Regional Cross Country Championship yielded mixed feelings for the MIT program. After a season filled with some of the best performances in team history and a constant presence in the national rankings, the Engineers missed becoming the first squad in Institute lore to qualify for the national meet. Despite the less-than-ideal finish, MIT easily set a school record for the best result in the New England Regional with a seventh-place finish out of 47 teams.
The women were not at their best entering Saturday's meet as injuries and fatigue hampered the Engineers' ability to build on the early-season success. MIT's scoring delta of 1:13 was its worst of the season however it wasn't necessarily due to a poor performance by the Cardinal and Gray.
Junior Elizabeth Finn, who has come on strong in the last half of the campaign, looked terrific in becoming just the fourth runner in program history to qualify individually for the NCAA Championships. Finn split 22:22 over the 6,000-meter course to finish 20th overall out of 344 finishers. Her team-leading performance topped her 22nd-place finish in 2005 and served as the highest finish by an MIT harrier at the meet since 1998.
Unfortunately for the rest of the team, the final results were not as strong. Sophomore Maria Monks, who established herself as MIT's clear No. 1 all season, missed qualifying for NCAAs for the second consecutive year after falling back to 38th place. Monks finished with a time of 22:45, although the talented second-year runner was among the top six after the first mile.
Freshman Katy Gordon turned in the seventh-best performance by a rookie after crossing the line 54th with a time of 23:07. Juniors Jennifer Doyle (81st) and Adrienne Bolger (89th) capped MIT's scoring as the Engineers bested their previous best finish of 11th place at the 1994 edition of the NCAA New England Regional.
Although the Cardinal and Gray endured a tough finish to the season, the Engineers should be even stronger next year. With no seniors among the top 12 runners, expectations will once again be high for this talented group.