Women’s Track and Field Wins Sixth Consecutive NEWMAC Championship

Seniors Kaitlin Allen, Jaclyn Konopka, Louise van den Heuvel
Seniors Kaitlin Allen, Jaclyn Konopka, Louise van den Heuvel

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Championship season got underway as the 16th ranked MIT women's outdoor track and field team claimed its sixth consecutive New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship title at Mount Holyoke College on Saturday. The Engineers won five individual events to finish the day with 224.333 points, while Wheaton College finished second with 149.333 points, and WPI closed out the top three with 100.833 points.

Named the NEWMAC Women's Rookie of the Year, freshman Maryann Gong (Livermore, Calif.) won her first outdoor title in the 1500-meter run in a personal best time of 4:38.15, moving her up to fifth on the Engineers' top-ten list. Gong also finished second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:16.74, the fifth fastest time in Tech's history.

Winning the discus event in her first NEWMAC Championship, freshman Jackie Vahey(Winchester, Mass.) won by eight feet, throwing the discus 128-02. Vahey added to her day with a third place finish in the shot put, throwing 35-05.25.

Defending her conference crown, sophomore Isabella Stuopis (Amherst, N.H.) took the shot put title with a throw of 40-06.25 that broke the five-year-old stadium record. Stuopis added a fourth place finish in the discus with a final throw of 112.10. Finishing in third in the discus throw, senior Christine Labaza (Rochester, Mich.) reached 120-01, just one inch out of second place.

After finishing second in 2013, junior Ashley Wheeler (Milford, N.H.) won the hammer throw with a personal best throw of 157-00. Earning All-Conference second-team honors by finishing second was junior Ellen Liverpool (Washington, D.C.), who threw a 154-10. JuniorTilly Taylor (South Deerfield, Mass.) finished second in the javelin with a final distance of 116-04.
Tech was led by a 1-2-3 finish in the pole vault. Sophomore Cimran Virdi (Walnut Creek, Calif.) took the title and broke the NEWMAC meet record, clearing 12-07.50. Senior Abigail Klein (Bethesda, Md.) and freshman Jennifer Tylock (Shrewsbury, Mass.) finished second and third with jumps of 11-05.75.

In the high jump, junior Preethi Vaidyanathan (South Windsor, Conn.) finished in a three-way tie for second place, jumping 5-01.75.

Seniors Jaclyn Konopka (Novi, Mich.) and Jackie Brew (Amherst, N.H.) took second and third in the 100-meter hurdles with times of 14.98 and 15.28. In the 3000-meter steeplechase, senior Martina de Geus (Los Altos, Calif.) crossed the line in second place with a time of 11:01.55.

In the 5000-meter run, junior Elaine McVay (San Ramon, Calif.) and senior Kaitlin Allen(Bedford, N.H.) finished second and third with times of 17:33.56 and 17:33.93 respectively. This performance was a life-time best for Allen, who moves into seventh on the Engineers top-ten performers list.

Junior Veronica Szklarzewski (Chicago, Ill.) tied for second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.52, just five-hundredths of a second out of first place. Szklarzewski added a fourth place finish in the long jump with a final distance of16-09.75.

MIT finished the day with four All-Conference First Team honors and six All-Conference Second Team accolades.

MIT will next compete at the three-day New England Division III Championships starting on Thursday, May 1 at Springfield College.