Ten Engineers Prepare for 2014 NCAA Championships

Junior Tilly Taylor

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  – Just two days after clinching the program's first ECAC team title, ten members of the MIT women's track and field team learned they were invited to the 2014 Division III Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The three day competition begins on Thursday, May 22nd at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

Ranked seventh in the country in the most recent poll by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), Tech's women are eager to improve on their 39th place finish at the 2013 Championships.

MIT will have athletes in action each of the three days, with seven women competing on Thursday. Kicking off competition for the Engineers will be sophomore Cimran Virdi (Walnut Creek, Calif.) in the pole vault, an event she has dominated all season. Virdi claimed the pole vault Indoor title in March and is looking to improve on her No. 2 seed to clinch another title.

The 4x100-meter relay team of senior Jackie Brew (Amherst, N.H.), junior Veronica Szklarzewski (Chicago, Ill.), freshman Kendra Knittel (Tucson, Ariz.), senior Jaclyn Konopka (Novi, Mich.) enters the meet as the sixth seed. Their entry time comes from the NEICAAA Championships where they posted the fourth fastest time in Tech's history.

Also seeded sixth and competing on Thursday is senior Martina de Geus (Los Altos, Calif.) racing in the 3000-meter steeplechase. De Geus made her NCAA debut in 2013 in this event, finishing 19th. Junior Elaine McVay (San Ramon, Calif.) will compete in the 10000-meter run, entered as the 18th seed. McVay finished third in the event at the 2013 Championships, earning All-America honors and scoring Tech's only points of the meet.

Brew and Konopka will compete again on Friday, this time individually in the 100-meter hurdles. Brew enters the event with the sixth fastest time in the nation, and Konopka is seeded 17th.  Tech's third competitor on Friday is varsity record holder, junior Cindy Huang (Mountain View, Calif.). Huang heads to Ohio as the 14th seed in the 800-meter run.

On the third and final day of competition, freshman Maryann Gong (Livermore, Calif.) will compete in the 5000-meter run. As Tech's Varsity record holder, Gong enters the event with the seventh fastest time in the nation. Making her third consecutive NCAA Outdoor appearance, junior Tilly Taylor (South Deerfield, Mass.) will again compete in the javelin throw, entered as the 17th seed.

Competition begins on Thursday, May 22nd at 12:00 pm with the Heptathlon. Virdi and de Geus are Tech's first competitors, slated to start at 4:30 pm. For more information, visit the host website.