May 4, 2008
NEW LONDON, Conn. - After finishing a close third at the NEWMAC meet a week earlier, the New England Division III championship posed a challenge for the MIT women's track and field team. On a particularly uninspiring day weather-wise at the track and field complex of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy along the Thames River, the Engineers closed out the championship in third with 77 points just behind national powers Williams (111) and Amherst (81) and ahead of Middlebury (72) and Tufts (66.5).
With qualifying standards, numbers only matter if a team's competitors can achieve qualifying marks. MIT was shorter on numbers than most of the top 10 teams, but relatively stronger at the top of the results. The possibility of repeating last year's second-place team finish was still remote going into the final event, the long-lasting pole vault. Quality efforts left them just short, as Emily Hwang added another Gold to her season after clearing 11'1.75" for the win, while Karin Fisher finished fourth with a jump of 10'8".
The team opened smartly on Friday evening as the Engineers put 13 points on the board in the 10000-meter run. Hana Adaniya, Jennifer Doyle, and Lauren McCarthy closed in third, fifth, and sixth, respectively. Adaniya's final time of 37:39.03 served as an NCAA provisional cut.
The following day, MIT's first points on the track were tallied by Jacqui Wentz in the steeplechase. Running solo in the three races she contested in April, Saturday's contest found her chasing a pair of national automatic qualifiers and a meet record, and she was rewarded with a provisional national qualifier of her own. Her final time of 11:04.47 marked the second-fastest time in Institute history.
Two events later, Adrienne Bolger placed fourth in a competitive 1500m. With the top 8 entries within six seconds, there was a bit of gamesmanship and tactics on the oval; no one wanting the lead, but no one willing to let the pace lag too much. The tightly-bunched seeded section did not start breaking up until after the bell lap, and the win was still a hope for any one of the half-dozen racers down the homestretch. Bolger broke the line at 4:40.83, a new school record and just tenths away from the NCAA provisional marker.
Senior Aline Thomas covered three throwing events in two days. The senior took second in the hammer on Friday (156'3") and the Engineers second individual crown of the meet in the shot put (40'1.5") on Saturday, as well as a non-scoring 13th in the discus.
Also putting up points over two days was freshman Hazel Briner, who posted a fourth-place finish in the heptathlon with 3459 points.
In the short sprints, Margaret Leibovic placed fifth in the 100m final at 12.90, a duplicate of her trials round time, and seventh in the 200 in 26.49.
The final track points came in the 4x800m relay where an inspired quartet of Andrea Bradshaw, Wentz, Doyle, and Bolger ran to fourth overall after being seeded in the slow section. Passing the stick in 9:26.67, the performance was just two seconds out of the runner-up spot from the fast heat.
Senior Leanne Veldhuis rounded out the team's stats with a 10th-place finish in the 400m hurdles in 1:06.93.