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Sinhouse wins national decathalon title

By Michael J. Garrison

The MIT track and field team, led by decathlon winner Bill Singhose '90, tied for fifth place in the NCAA Division III National Championship Track Meet, held May 24-27 at North Central College in Naperville, IL. The Engineers had six athletes entered in individual competition, as well as two relay teams.

Besides Singhose, who set a new MIT decathlon record with his 7206 points and placed 11th in the open Pole Vault (15'-11/4"), MIT's individual qualifiers were: Scott Deering '89 in the hammer throw (third place, 187'-8", his longest throw of the year); Mike Piepergerdes '92 in the 1500 meters (fifth place, 3:51.01, a new MIT freshman record); Boniface Makatiani '90 in the 400 meters (sixth place, 48.47); Paul McKenzie '90 in the 400 meter intermediate hurdles (eighth place, 52.95 in qualifiers set MIT record); and Mark Dunzo '91 in the 400 meters (48.53).

MIT also sent its 4x400 relay team (Doug Cornwall '89, McKenzie, Dunzo, and Makatiani) which took second with a time of 3:13.05 and its 4x100 team (Dave Wright '89, Cornwall, Dunzo, and Makatiani) which set an MIT record of 42.05 but did not make the finals.

Along the way to his decathlon win, Singhose took first in the long jump (23'-43/4") and the pole vault (14'-9"); second in the discus, javelin, and high hurdles; third in the shot put and 400 meters; fourth in the 100 meters and 1500 meters; and sixth in the high jump. He set personal bests in the long jump, 100 meters (11.24), shot put (40'-9") and discus (123'-8").

Singhose who led by 100 points after "a super first day," according to Head Coach Gordon Kelly, put the competition away with his pole vault on the second day. His winning decathlon total was 512 points greater than his nearest competitor, Kevin Luthy of Case Western Reserve.

Singhose, who finished third in the pole vault at February's Division III National Indoor Track Championship, had to qualify for the finals in the open pole vault at the same time he was competing in the decathlon. He vaulted 15'-11/4" during qualifying, but was able only to match that mark during the finals. His third place finish in February came on a 15'-3" vault -- but Singhose had not competed in a full Decathlon before that attempt.

Singhose and McKenzie have been named co-captains for next year's team.

The second place finish for the 4x400 relay team followed a "really outstanding race," Kelly reported. Lincoln University, of Pennsylvania, barely edged the Engineers. "Each guy seemed to move us up," he said.

Cornwall led off the race with a 49.9 split, followed by McKenzie's 48.1 mark. Dunzo and Makatiani completed the race, each running a 47.5 split. Makatiani "was right there with the Lincoln guy" on the last leg, Kelly said.

The relay team improved upon their sixth place indoor time by 11.41 seconds. Makatiani did not run in the indoor season, and his place on the indoor relay team was taken by Kevin Scannell '92.

Deering, the winner of 35-pound weight throw at the indoor championship, was named the season's Most Valuable Player. After qualifying for nationals very early in the season, Deering had been struggling lately. Kelly noted that Deering is marginally better at the indoor event.

Of the eight athletes sent to the meet by MIT, only Wright did not place either individually or on a relay. All of the others earned Division III All-American awards, and Makatiani and McKenzie each earned two (as individuals and members of the 4x400 relay).

The fifth place finish was MIT's highest ever in a national championship, Kelley said. He had told The Tech earlier that he hoped for a finish in the top five, and he was pleased to have met his goal.

However, he thought MIT could have done a little better. Singhose missed scoring in the open Pole Vault by one jump, the 4x100 relay was the fastest squad not to reach the finals, and Makatiani had a disappointing finish in the 400 meter final -- he had run 48.06 in the trials, 0.41 seconds quicker than his time in the finals. Nevertheless, MIT did improve on its sixth place finish in the less competitive indoor championships.

"All in all," Kelly added, "we did pretty well."