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Track finishes sixth in All-New Englands

By David Rothstein

In its final big meet before the NCAA national championships (May 23-26), the outdoor track and field team placed sixth at the All-New England Championships, held last weekend at Northeastern's Solomon Track. The team's showing was its best in recent memory as the Engineers scored 31 points, led by senior Bill Singhose's 17.

Despite the high finish, one injury and a few sub-par performances somewhat abruptly brought into question the team's ability to meet its hopes for a national title -- MIT's first in any sport -- when the Engineers travel to North Central College in Naperville, IL, at the end of the month to compete with the nation's best Division III teams.

Dartmouth College once again took first in the All-New England team scoring with 101 points, gained mostly on strong performances in the field events. Northeastern University was second with 61, followed by Boston University and the University of Rhode Island, both with 60, and Brown University with 46.

Singhose, who sat out last week's New England Division III Championships while nursing a sore groin muscle, appeared well-rested and scored in three individual events, recording personal bests in two, and joined the fourth-place 400-meter relay team. With a 23 foot, 51/2-inch leap in the long jump, Singhose qualified for the national championships, as he did with a 53.52 clocking in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles.

Now qualified in four individual and two relay events for the national meet, Singhose also cleared 15'-7", good for second place in the pole vault, and joined Mark Dunzo '91, Kevin Scannell '92 and Boniface Makatiani '90 for a 42.37 mark in the short relay, only 0.03 seconds behind third-place Fitchburg State and 0.25 seconds behind first-place Central Connecticut.

Some other Engineers, however, having competed in last week's meet looked tired in their events, particularly Makatiani, who last year won the All-New England 400 going away, but this year finished a disappointing fourth despite running the race in 48.03 seconds.

Makatiani and Dunzo both started well in the 400, and Makatiani appeared to be in control at the halfway point, but tightened up with about 90 meters to go, fading behind BU's Randy Lewis and Northeastern's Craig Spence.

Dunzo ran his best race of the year, finishing fifth in 48.57, only 0.13 seconds off the national qualifying standard. Both he and Makatiani will likely run this weekend, Dunzo hoping to qualify in the 400 and Makatiani trying to do the same in the 200. Having the additional entries at the national meet could mean very significant, even if few, points toward a title.

"We're a little bit disappointed with some performances," said Dunzo after the meet, "but this is it. We have to pull together and try to do what we can at nationals.

"There's a realization," he continued, referring to competition against Division I teams, "that these are the big boys. There are people [here] with scholarships.

"But we don't do that, we don't make provisions for athletes. We work with what we have, and getting in the top 10 in this meet is something that we can be proud of."

Garrett Moose '91 had a strong showing in the first day of two-day decathlon competition last Wednesday, and although he could not sustain the effort the next day, he still managed a fourth-place finish, with 5931 points.

Rounding out the scoring was Kwaku Prakah-Asante '90, who placed sixth in the triple jump with a 45'-103/4" leap.

MIT lost junior newcomer Steve Cooke to a hamstring injury suffered during Friday's qualifying heats. Cooke, who will miss the rest of the season, would probably have been an alternate to the national 1600-meter relay squad.

Singhose, the team's co-captain, said later that the Engineers were "feeling a little bit down" after the meet.

"Hopefully, people will look back in retrospect and feel a little bit better about what happened," said Singhose. "Our potential is still there to win nationals, even though we're a little bit more realistic now that it's going to be a little harder than we first thought.

"But the potential is definitely still there."