Women's Track & Field Misses out on New England Title by One Point

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Third-ranked MIT finished just one point behind Williams College at the top of the team standings at the NCAA New England Division III track and field championship held at Smith College over the weekend. The Engineers took second place at the regional championship for the third year in a row, this time by the narrowest of margins.

The Cardinal and Gray had a nearly perfect afternoon in the relay events, sweeping first place in three of the four races. However, a disqualification in the distance medley relay would prove extremely costly, as even minimal points in the event would have surely clinched the overall team crown for Tech.

Seniors Portia Jones (New York, N.Y.), Martha Gross (Short Hills, N.J.), Jamie Simmons (Carlsbad, Calif.) and sophomore Jacqueline Brew (Amherst, N.H.) set a new MIT and meet record in the 4x200 relay with their time of 1:43.51. Jones, Gross and Simmons then teamed up with freshman Madeleine Bairey (Pebble Beach, Calif.) to take first place in the 4x400 relay in 3:58.08.

The youthful 4x800 relay squad made up entirely of sophomores and freshmen showed what it was capable of, winning the event by nearly eight seconds and setting a new Institute record in the process. Sophomores Alexandra Taylor (Harbor Springs, Mich.), Louise van den Heuvel (Nashua, N.H.) and freshmen Cindy Huang (San Jose, Calif.) and Margaret Coad (Arlington, Va.) made up the winning quartet.

The Engineers also racked up points in the individual events, as Jones placed second in the 200m (25.45) and third in the 400m (58.32) and 60-meter hurdles (9.06). Brew added all-region performances in the 60 HH (second), 60-meter dash (fourth), 200m (eighth) and long jump (fourth). Simmons was a winner at 600 meters with her time of 1:34.93, breaking her own program record by nearly two seconds.

Tech had four of the top eight performers in the 3000m, led by freshman Dacie Manion (Old Town, Maine) in third place at 10:17.26. Junior Tania Morimoto (Mountain View, Calif.), freshman Elaine McVay (San Ramon, Calif.) and sophomore Martina de Geus (Los Altos, Calif.) finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. McVay completed an impressive double with her third-place showing at 5000 meters.

The pole vaulters had a pair of all-New England performances, led by junior Lauren Kuntz (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who took sixth. Her vault of 11-5.75 feet was the third highest mark at the championship but she slipped down to sixth based on attempts. Freshman Marissa Engle (Sunnyvale, Calif.) earned eight-place, clearing 10-11.75 feet.

Sophomore Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) and Jaclyn Konopka (Novi, Mich.) stared things off on Friday afternoon in the pentathlon. Bunker used a win in the high jump portion to propel her to a fourth-place showing. Konopka was sixth overall with 3062 points. Both athletes' point totals rank among the top 15 in the country this season.

The Engineers will continue with the championship portion of their season next weekend at the All-New England meet. MIT will compete against teams from Divisions I, II and III in the event, hosted by Boston University on Friday and Saturday.