Geneva, Ohio (May 25) -- MIT senior Maryann Gong (Livermore, Calif.) and sophomore Aidan Gilson (Florence, Mass.) have earned the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Elite 90 awards at the NCAA Championship in Geneva, Ohio.
The Engineers currently lead all Division III institutions with 12 honors since the program was established during the 2009-10 academic year and have earned three Elite 90 awards in 2016-17. For MIT, this marks its first female to earn the outdoor track and field Elite 90, while Gilson is the third men's student-athlete to pick up the honor.
The Elite 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 90 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's 90 championships.
Gong, a 15-time All-American who boasts a perfect 5.0 grade point average, is currently pursuing her Masters of Engineering in artificial intelligence after earned her Bachelor's degree in computer science and electrical engineering. Competing in the 5,000 meters on Sunday afternoon, Gong comes in as the No. 6 seed in the event as she is competing in her final NCAA Championship. The 2017 NEWMAC 1,500-meter champion, Gong is the most decorated female athlete in MIT track and field history as the former 3,000-meter national champion holds five MIT varsity school records and one rookie record.
Gilson, who is competing in this weekend's 3,000-meter steeplechase in his first NCAA outdoor championship, is a bioengineering major who also holds a perfect 5.0 GPA. The ninth seed with a season-best time of 9:05.61, Gilson has now won the NEWMAC steeplechase championship in each of his first two seasons and also claimed the 2017 New England D3 steeplechase crown. He was also All-New England in both the mile and 1,000 meters this season and was an All-NEICAAA performer in the mile with a personal-best performance of 4:13.33.