Nov. 15, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The MIT women’s cross country squad reached new heights at the NCAA New England Regional Championship on Saturday, finishing in third place out of over 50 teams looking to qualify for the national meet. The result, the highest finish in program history at the regional meet, clinches a spot for the Engineers in the NCAA Championship next weekend in Hanover, Ind. MIT, currently ranked No. 16 in the nation, easily eclipsed its previous high of seventh place, which was achieved at last year’s New England regional.
As she has done all season, junior Jacqui Wentz (23:27) paced Tech, coming in 19th out of a field of 330 runners. By shaving 20 seconds off her 2007 time, Wentz is now the highest individual finisher at this meet since Debbie Won’s fifth-place showing in 1998. Andrea Bradshaw crossed the finish line directly behind Wentz with a time of 23:35. Maria Monks was the third MIT harrier to place in the top 30, completing the six-kilometer course in a time 23:48, good for 29th overall.
Senior Jennifer Doyle dramatically improved on her 81st place finish in last year’s meet, moving up to 37th with a time of 24:02. Anna Holt-Gosselin rounded out the scoring for the Engineers, coming through the chute at 24:36 in 56th place. Freshman Katherine Eve did not figure in the scoring for the Cardinal and Gray but did finish as one of the top 10 rookie runners in the region with her 64th place standing.
Middlebury took home the top spot in today’s race outscoring second place Williams by 25 points (57-82). Amherst senior Elise Tropiano was the top overall finisher, breaking the tape at 21:49, more than 39 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.
The Engineers will enter uncharted territory when they travel to the NCAA Championship next weekend. MIT has never participated in this meet as a team and has only sent four individual runners to compete in the race in the program’s 24-year history. The squad will be familiar with the course however, having already taken first place at the NCAA Pre-Nationals held at Hanover College last month.
The NCAA Championship will be held next Saturday, November 22 at the L.S. Ayers Athletic Complex on the campus of Hanover College. The women’s race will begin at 12:00 p.m.