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Indoor track finishes fifth in All-New Englands

By David Rothstein

Looking at the big picture, you could say that MIT performed very well at the All-New England Indoor Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday at the Johnson Athletics Center.

The Engineers took fifth place with 511/2 points, finishing well ahead of many Division I schools that have, if nothing else, a great advantage in sheer size.

The defending champion University of Rhode Island came in fourth, only four points ahead of MIT.

Looking a little bit closer, you might find a few what-might-have-beens in the Engineers' performance. MIT was seeded to earn 73 points, which would have put it in third place, but the Engineers failed to gain expected points in a few key events, particularly the pole vault, the 400 meters and the 1600-meter relay.

Senior co-captain Bill Singhose had his usual busy meet, winning the pentathlon with 3828 points and scoring in five other events to account for 23 of MIT's points.

Singhose jumped to a 23-foot, 1/2-inch second place in the long jump and took fifth in the <>

55-meter high hurdles, in a time of 7.79 seconds. But it appeared that the pentathlon, which was held Friday, took a lot out of Singhose, who turned in a sub-par 13'-111/4" mark to tie for fifth in the pole vault. He also ran the second leg of MIT's third-place 1600-meter relay team (3:19.90), and despite recording a personal best time on the John-<>

son Athletics Center track, appeared tired and lost ground to eventual winner Northeastern and second-place finisher URI.

Boniface Makatiani '90 took second place in the 500 meters (1:04.56) and anchored the 1600-meter relay team. Makatiani has been nursing a sore hamstring muscle, and appeared affected by the injury in his races. He led for most of the 500, but was overtaken by Central Connecticut State University's Dave Rusnock with 70 meters to go in the race. Rusnock finished first, in 1:03.60.

MIT made a strong showing in the 35-pound weight throw, with John-Paul Clarke '91 taking third at 58'-1/2", and Eric Shank '91 taking fifth at 56'-11/4".

In the early goings, MIT, Northeastern and Rhode Island traded the overall lead, but soon the race for top honors became limited to Northeastern and Connecticut. Or so it seemed.

Boston University used several top finishes in the latter half of the meet to jump into contention for first place, and certainly made things interesting at the end.

With one event, the 3200-meter relay, to go in the meet, Northeastern held a slim lead over Connecticut, 931/2 to 911/2. BU, meanwhile, had crept into third with 87 points, and had a chance to win the meet with a strong finish in the relay.

But Connecticut knew exactly what it had to do in the relay to win the meet: finish no worse than third and no less than two <>

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places ahead of rival Northeastern. Connecticut, in fact, took third (Northeastern did not place), and edged by BU for the 1/2-point win.

The Engineers' Mike Piepergerdes '92 recorded by far the best-ever time by an MIT runner on the Johnson track in the 1500-meters (3:52.58), good for third place in a strong field.

Kevin Scannell '92 rounded out MIT's scoring with a fifth place leap of 22'-61/4" in the long jump and a strong opening leg for the 1600-meter relay.

This year's team is the stron-<>

gest in recent memory, and with repeated successes at ever-higher levels of competition, it has been easy to forget how difficult it is for a Division III school to compete against Division I teams. Mark Dunzo '91, the New England Division III 400 meter champion, misjudged the field Saturday and went out too fast in his race. He led for 275 meters, then rapidly lost steam and -- uncharacteristically for him -- seemed to give up with 60 meters to go, finishing last in his section.

And the 1600-meter relay team, which has acquired an aura <>

of seeming invincibility, lost for the first time this season, despite turning in a respectable time. Makatiani, faced with a 15-meter deficit when he took the baton into his anchor leg, could not overtake the Northeastern and URI runners ahead of him.

Against their usual competition, the Engineers may have been able to overcome mistakes, but not so against New England's best across the divisions.

MIT will spend the next two weeks resting and preparing for the upcoming National Division III meet, to be held at Smith College March 10.