Women's Track and Field Kicks Off NCAA Championships

Sophomore Cimran Virdi

DELAWARE, Ohio  – With a strong start to the weekend, the seventh ranked MIT women's track and field team got competition going on Thursday at the NCAA Men's and Women's Division III Track and Field Championship hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University. After one day of competition, the Cardinal and Grey are currently in a three-way tie for sixth place with eight points attributable to a second place finish in the pole vault.

Sophomore Cimran Virdi (Walnut Creek, Calif.) proved once again to be one of the top pole vaulters in the country with a runner-up finish in the event. After winning the event at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, Virdi cleared 13-05.25 to reset her varsity record. Virdi finished just two inches short of senior Anna Etherington from Washington University in St. Louis who cleared 13-07.25.  MIT picked up 8 points with Virdi's performance.

Entering the meet with the sixth fastest time, senior Martina de Geus (Los Altos, Calif.) raced in the preliminary heats of the 3000-meter steeplechase, finishing third with a time of 10:42.48. While missing setting a new personal record by less than four seconds, de Geus will have another opportunity in the finals of the event on Saturday.

Junior Elaine McVay (San Ramon, Calif.) also competed on Thursday in the 10000-meter run, entering the event as the 18th seed. McVay crossed the line in 10th place with a time of 36:12.95.

In the preliminary heats of the 4x100-meter relay, the Engineers' finished eighth, securing the last spot for the finals that will be contested on Saturday. The team of senior Jackie Brew (Amherst, N.H.), junior Veronica Szklarzewski (Chicago, Ill.), freshman Kendra Knittel (Tucson, Ariz.), and senior Jaclyn Konopka (Novi, Mich.) crossed the line in a time of 47.44, recording the third fastest time in Tech history.

The Engineers' will return to the track tomorrow with individual competition by Brew and Konopka in the 100-meter hurdles and junior Cindy Huang (Mountain View, Calif.)  in the 800-meter run. Competition gets underway at 1:00 pm.