MIT Women's Track and Field Takes First at New England Div. III Champs

Sophomore Preethi Vaidyanathan
Sophomore Preethi Vaidyanathan

WATERVILLE, Maine - On the final day of competition at the New England Division III Championships at Colby College on Saturday afternoon, the MIT women's outdoor track and field team finished in first place with 126.50 points, leaving a sizeable gap between them and second place-finishing Tufts University with 93 points. The Engineers, who finished in second place last year behind Williams College, moved up two places from yesterday to take the win.

To start the day, junior Jaclyn Konopka (Novi, Mich.) competed in the remaining three events in the heptathlon. She finished fifth in the Long Jump (15-08.25) and Javelin Throw (93-06) and third in the 800m (2:29.78), holding onto her first place finish from yesterday. Konopka wrapped up the meet with 4,420 points, almost 300 points ahead of the second place finisher.

Sophomore Michelle Johnson (Glendora, Calif.) came in fourth place in the Triple Jump with a jump of 36-07.75, while classmate Veronica Szklarzewski (Chicago, Ill.) was 16th with a 33-11.50 and freshman Katharina Ross (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) was 21st with a jump of 32-09.50. In the High Jump, sophomore Preethi Vaidyanathan (South Windsor, Conn.) had a strong fifth place finish with a jump of 5-02.25. Konopka came in tied for ninth with a 5-00.25.

In the Discus Throw, junior Christine Labaza (Rochester, Mich.) came in ninth place with a throw of 122-04, freshman Isabella Stuopis (Amherst, N.H.) was 18th with a 110-02 and sophomore Ashley Wheeler (Milford, N.H.) was 23rd with a throw of 103-01. Stuopis went on to finish fourth in the Shot Put with a throw of 41-08.50, bettering her MIT freshman record, and Labaza was ninth with a 36-07.75.

For the fifth time so far during the outdoor season, senior Lauren Kuntz (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was victorious in the Pole Vault with her vault of 12-07.50. Freshman Cimran Virdi (Walnut Creek, Calif.), who came second to Kuntz at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship last weekend, came third with a 11-07.75. Classmate Sherry Wan (Ann Arbor, Mich.) was sixth with an 11-01.75.

Junior Martina de Geus (Los Altos, Calif.) finished in second place in the 3000 Steeplechase with a time of 10:52.03. Senior Brooke Johnson (Shoreham, N.Y.) won the 1500m with a time of 4:33.05, breaking the facility record that was set back in 1992. Freshman Sarah Quinn (Watchung, N.J.) was fifth with a 4:36.26 and junior Louise van den Heuvel (Nashua, N.H.) came sixth in 4:36.79. Classmate Alexandra Taylor (Harbor Springs, Mich.) finished in fourth place in the 800m with a time of 2:15.26.

The 5,000m was a strong event for MIT, who took the top four spots. Brooke Johnson led the way, winning her second event of the day, with a time of 17:31.05. Sophomore Elaine McVay (San Ramon, Calif.) was second in 17:43.50, Quinn was third with a 17:46.96 and de Geus came in fourth with a 17:52.13. Freshman Nicole Zeinstra (Holland, Mich.) and junior Kaitlin Allen (Bedford, N.H.) also competed in the event, coming in seventh and 11th with times of 18:11.62 and 18:22.13 respectively.

To end the day, the Engineers competed in the 4x800 relay that finished in third with a time of 9:14.56. The relay was composed of sophomore Cindy Huang (San Jose, Calif.), van den Heuvel, sophomore Margaret Coad (Arlington, Va.) and Taylor.

The Engineers will return to action at the NEICAAA Championships at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. from Thursday through Saturday, May 9-11.