NAPERVILLE, Ill. - To conclude the indoor season, seven members of the No. 8 nationally-ranked MIT women's track and field team traveled to North Central College for the NCAA Division III Championship that will take place on Friday and Saturday. The Engineers, who finished in 26th place at last year's NCAA championship, wrapped up the meet tied for 13th place with Keene State College with 15 points. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, who led from the very beginning, finished in first place with 56 points.
At the coaches' and athletes' banquet the night before the meet, freshman Sarah Quinn (Watchung, N.J.) received the New England Region Female Runner of the Year award for her impressive season that included three national qualifying performances, a New England title in the 3,000, three MIT varsity records and three MIT freshman records.
Senior Lauren Kuntz (Pittsburgh, Pa.) opened up action for MIT with her impressive performance in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 12-11.50, claiming second place and All-America accolades. The national runner-up, who was seeded in fourth place going into the meet, improved on her previous personal record of 12-07.50 from the New England Championship late last month by a sizeable amount. She earned eight points towards the Engineers' final score.
In the pentathlon, junior Jaclyn Konopka (Novi, Mich.) finished in sixth place with 3,387 points, tying with Elizabeth Crug from Hendrix, earning a spot on the awards podium, All-America accolades and three points to go towards MIT's score. Last week at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship at the New York City Armory, Konopka earned personal best performances in all five events, finishing with 3,432 points.
In her NCAA debut, freshman Nicole Zeinstra (Holland, Mich.) came in 12th place in the prelims of the mile with a time of 5:01.89, improving her time from the Last Chance Meet at Tufts University last weekend by four seconds.
To end the first day, the Distance Medley relay, that consisted of senior Brooke Johnson (Shoreham, N.Y.), sophomore Cindy Huang (San Jose, Calif.), junior Alexandra Taylor (Harbor Springs, Mich.) and Quinn crossed the line with a time of 11:40.38. Their fifth place finish earned them four points.
On the second and final day of competition, Quinn competed in the 5000 meters, finishing in 11th place with a time of 17:28.22.
Many of the members of the indoor team will be returning to action in two weeks for the start of the outdoor track and field season at the Jerry Gravel Invitational at Westfield State University on Saturday, March 23.