Engineers Capture ECAC Title in Final Tune-up Before NCAA Championship

NEW YORK, N.Y. – In its final meet before next weekend's NCAA Division III indoor championship, the MIT women's track and field team had a number of terrific individual performances that resulted in the team winning the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III championship. The Engineers, ranked third in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Top 25, amassed 56.33 points and achieved a number of personal bests and NCAA qualifying marks.  

The top showing of the weekend belonged to the 4x400 relay group, made up of seniors Portia Jones (New York, N.Y.), Martha Gross (Short Hills, N.J.), Jamie Simmons (Carlsbad, Calif.) and sophomore Jacqueline Brew (Amherst, N.H.). The quartet, which has had some strong races this season, saved its best for this meet, setting a new MIT record with its time of 3:49.28, which also represents the second-best time in NCAA Division III on the season, while taking first place.

Jones and Brew were also in action in the 60-meter hurdles and the two teammates had an exciting head-to-head duel. Jones got the better of the sophomore on the first try, as her preliminary time of 8.82 seconds was the top qualifying time and the fifth best in the country in 2012. Brew was not far behind, as her qualifying time of 8.88 seconds placed her third and is 11th best in Division III. Brew would get the last laugh, however, winning the finals with a time of 8.94 seconds while Jones placed third.

Simmons was a winner in the 400, with a season-best time of 56.64 seconds.

Freshman Cindy Huang (San Jose, Calif.) took seventh in the 800 with a personal best of 2:16.33 while teammate Louise van den Heuvel (Nashua, N.H.) was not far behind, in 10th place at 2:17.41, a season best for her.

Freshman Elaine McVay (San Ramon, Calif.) set a personal record at 5000 meters. McVay turned in a time of 17:17.43 to finish in second place. Sophomore Claire O'Connell (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) was 16th with her time of 18:19.04.

In the pentathlon, sophomore Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) took third place, amassing a season-best point total of 3123. Bunker won the pole vault and took second in the shot put en route to her third-place overall showing.

Tech's point total was well ahead of second-place Amherst College, which finished with 46 points. Tufts University took third with 45 points.

The Engineers will travel to Grinell College for the NCAA Division III indoor track and field championship next weekend. Final selections for the meet, which begins on Friday afternoon, will be announced on Monday.