March 13, 2010

Four All-America Honors Lead to 10th Place Finish at NCAA Championship

GREENCASTLE, Ind. – The MIT women’s track and field team traveled to DePauw University over the weekend for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championship and came home with a 10th-place showing out of 61 scoring teams, the best finish in program history at the National Championship. The Engineers secured four All-America nods, as three individuals and one relay made it to the awards podium. Portia Jones and Hazel Briner each had an individual All-America performance in addition to their part on the 4x400 relay team and Karin Fisher also finished among the top eight in the pole vault.

Jones was a very busy competitor all weekend, as were many of her teammates. Seven Tech women were entered in five individual events and two relays and four athletes were competing in at least two events. Jones had a very strong showing in the 400 meters, an event in which she owned the fastest time in the country coming in. Jones won her heat of the prelims with a time of 56.82 seconds, a personal best on a flat track. She followed that up with a fourth-place finish, running 56.72 in the finals. Teammate Jamie Simmons came up short of the finals of that event.

In the 55-meter hurdles, Jones placed fifth in her heat (8.33) but missed out on the finals by just one one-hundredth of a second. Jones and Simmons were then joined by Marth Gross and Briner on the 4x400m relay quartet that finished in fourth-place with a time of 3:54.84 in the final event of the meet on Saturday afternoon.

Briner was also entered in the pentathlon and pole vault, events that were each being conducted simultaneously on Saturday morning. The junior started off with the first event of the pentathlon, the 55HH, finishing in fifth with a personal best of 8.73 seconds. She followed that up with an 11th-place showing in the high jump (5-0.50 feet) while also moving over to the pole vault at the same time. A fifth-place result in the shot put (35-1.00) and 11th in the long jump left Briner in fifth overall headed into the final event, the 800-meter run. Saving her best for last, Briner won the 800 to move up to third overall while setting a new MIT record for total points (3391).

In the pole vault, Briner was able to secure a 10th-place result while Fisher matched her personal-best by clearing 12-4.00 feet to earn MIT’s fourth All-America honor with a sixth-place finish.

Brooke Johnson was unable to make the finals in the mile run, completing her preliminary race in 5:03.89. The Distance Medley Relay of Johnson, Gross, Simmons and Alina Gatowski also finished just off of the All-America stand, taking ninth place with a time of 12:07.20.