CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The MIT women’s track and field team, ranked No. 6 in the latest USTFCCCA poll, fared extremely well, as five NCAA qualifying marks were achieved and one school record fell during Tech’s home Invitational meet on Saturday afternoon at Steinbrenner track. Alina Gatowski’s record time in the 5000 was the highlight of the non-scoring meet, the final regular season competition of the year for the Engineers, who will now prepare for the upcoming regional and national Championship meets.
Gatowski closed very strong in the 5000, finishing in an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 17:22.81 and besting the old Institute standard by nearly 17 seconds. Gatowski had little competition in the race, as she topped the rest of the field by nearly two minutes.
Portia Jones, running at 400 meters for the first time this outdoor season, immediately qualified for Nationals with her time 57.19 seconds. Jones also took first in the 200, breaking the tape in 25.75, just a half second off the Provisional cut. Martha Gross (26.28) and Margaret Leibovic (27.32) were close behind Jones in the 200.
Jamie Simmons continued to improve in the 400-meter hurdles, running a personal-best time of 63.33 to win the race by nearly four seconds. That is good for the fourth-best mark in Division III on the year in the 400IH.
Jacqui Wentz is returning to All-America form as well, after missing much of the Indoor season with an injury. Wentz was the only runner in the Steeplechase and easily qualified for the NCAA Championship in 10:50.06, the third fastest time in the nation this season.
Karin Fisher was Tech’s other event winner, as she cleared 11-8.50 feet in the pole vault, good enough to provisionally qualify for Nationals and match her outdoor personal best.
MIT will hope to capture its second-straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title next weekend at Springfield College. The Championship meet begins Saturday, April 24 at 11:00 a.m.