February 1, 2010

No. 16 Engineers Take First at Bowdoin

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The MIT women's track and field team, currently ranked No. 16 in the nation by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA), competed in a meet with a number of the top teams in the region on Saturday at Bowdoin College. The defending New England Division III champs were looking to avenge a narrow loss to the host Polar Bears at the same meet last year. With yet another strong day on the track, where they won nine of 12 running events, the Engineers secured first place with 210.5 total points, easily outscoring second-place Bowdoin's total of 159.

Portia Jones had one of the best all-around performances of the day, taking first in three events and third in another to secure 36 points for the Cardinal and Gray. Jones matched the Institute record in the high jump, clearing 5-1.75 feet en route to a first place finish. The sophomore All-America also took home the title in the 200m (26.35) and the 55m hurdles with a time of 8.46 seconds.

Jacqui Wentz turned in a pair of strong times in the mile and the 800 meters. Wentz led a sweep of the top three in the mile, finishing in 5:02.34, the fifth best time in the country on the season and just over a second and a half better than teammate Brooke Johnson. Melissa Showers was third with a time of 5:11.92. Both Wentz and Johnson's times were NCAA Provisional cuts. Wentz just barely missed an NCAA cut in the 800, as she was nearly five seconds faster than the rest of the field, breaking the tape in 2:16.86. Johnson once again finished in second in 2:21.78.

Alina Gatowski posted an impressive time at 5000 meters, coming through in 17:42.85, just 0.85 seconds off the provisional cut and more than 32 seconds faster than her nearest competitor. Tania Morimoto also had a solid showing in the 3000m, finishing with a time of 10:23.89. Martha Gross (1:39.66), in the 600m, and Jamie Simmons (59.34), in the 400m, also turned in first-place efforts for the Cardinal and Gray.

Hazel Briner and Karin Fisher helped MIT to a dominant performance in the pole vault, as they each cleared 11-8.00 feet to share first. Lauren Kuntz (9-11.75) and Lynn Jepsen (9-5.75) also placed in the top six. Briner had a strong all-around performance, earning 25.5 total points in five different events.

On Friday night, Jones and Simmons traveled across town to compete in the Terrier Classic at Boston University. Jones had her best showing of the year in the 400m, finishing 11th overall and first among Division III runners. Her time of 58.01 is currently tops in the country on a banked track at that distance and fifth best overall.

MIT hosts rivals Williams College and Coast Guard at the Shobrys and Aronson track next Saturday, February 6 at 12:00 p.m.