CLAREMONT, Calif. – Senior Chinedum Umachi (Detroit, Mich.) was the first MIT athlete to land on the All-America podium at the 2012 NCAA Division III outdoor track & field championship, earning seventh-place in the hammer throw, as the Tech men sit in a tie for 26th entering the final day of the national meet. The women, who have yet to score, will have plenty of chances on Saturday, with three individuals and one relay scheduled to compete in event finals.
Umachi had his best throw of the day in his first attempt, with a 194-05 foot effort, which put him in first place after one round. Six competitors would eventually pass Umachi but he was able to hold on to seventh to get the Engineers into the points and earn his second All-America nod.
Junior Patrick Marx (Grand Rapids, Minn.) was also in action on Friday evening, running in the prelims of the 800 meters. Marx took fifth in his heat with a time of 1:52.68, which was good for 15th overall but not fast enough to advance to Saturday's final.
On the women's side, perennial All-American senior Portia Jones (Queens, N.Y.) competed in the 100-meter hurdle prelims. After running in three events on Thursday, Jones did not have her best race of the season, finishing fifth in her heat and 16th overall with a time of 14.49 seconds.
The Division III championship will wrap up on Saturday, with finals of the track events as well as the remaining field events, beginning at 12:30 p.m. PST. Jones will close out her outstanding career in the 4x400 relay, along with fellow seniors Jamie Simmons (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Martha Gross (Short Hills, N.J.) and sophomore Jacqueline Brew (Amherst, N.H.). Simmons will also compete in the 400IH final. Junior Lauren Kuntz (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and freshman Tilly Taylor (South Deerfield, Mass.) will be in action as well, competing in the pole vault and javelin, respectively.
On the men's side, junior Nathan Peterson (Kansas City, Mo.) will take aim at All-America status in the pole vault for the third time in his career. Senior Stephen Serene (Washington, D.C.) will run in the final of the 3000-meter steeplechase while senior Benjamin Mattocks (Sharon, Mass.) will race in the 1500-meter final.