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Men's Track Team Shows All-Around Strength

By Dan Wang
Staff Reporter

The men's track team enjoyed quite a bit of success at the Beaver Relays, the team's first event of the year. Although team points were not tabulated, many of the team members captured individual victories at the Jan. 9 races against athletes from Bates College, Fitchburg State College, Stonehill College, and Westfield State College.

MIT runners had considerable success in the track events, winning all but two. In the opening race, the 3,000-meter run, Craig Sarney of Bates smashed his best time of the season, winning with a scorching time of 8 minutes, 54.44 seconds. MIT's Arnold Seto '96 spent the early part of the race in the front, helping set the blistering pace with Sarney.

Seto could not keep up with Sarney, who pulled away with five laps to go. Seto was passed by teammate Jesse Darley '95, who crossed the line in second place, ten seconds behind the winner. Seto ended up in third, followed by Carlos Duran '94.

The mile run seemed like a replay of the 3,000. Ethan Crain `95 started out well, but Pat Sullivan of Bates stayed with him until the final sprint. Sullivan proved to be stronger in the sprint, and placed a comfortable distance between himself and Crain at the finish line. Crain, who has run a sub-four minute mile this season, posted a 4:28.50 second-place result. Jerry Pratt '94 finished third, with a time of 4:40.90. In this race, MIT runners took five of the top seven places.

Photo finish in hurdles

The next event, the 55-meter high hurdles, was a photo finish. The top three finishers, Matt Robinson '94, Edward J. Cho '93, and Colin Page '95, each received a time of 8.31 seconds. The photograph showed Robinson crossing the line first. Paul Ogagan completed an MIT sweep of the top four, coming in at 8.32 seconds.

The sprint events, the 55-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and 400-meter dash, had some many entrants that they were run in heats. In the 55-meter dash, qualifying for the final heat was based on either a top finish or time in preliminary rounds. Placings were based on heat times for the other two races.

In the 55-meter dash, Matt Sandholm '96 won, finishing in 6.64 seconds, with a fairly comfortable margin of victory. Sandholm completed a double by winning the 200-meter dash. In the 400-meter dash, Marcelo Targino '96 ran his best time of the season, edging out Dan Corcoran `94.

Ed Patron '95 caused some excitement in the 800-meter run when he decided to attack at the beginning of the final lap. Patron's speed seemed to fade on the homestretch, but he had already established enough of a lead to edge a competitor from Bates at the finish line. Patron's time of 2:03.15 was only 0.12 seconds better than his pursuer. Kimathi Hardy '97 headed the pack, finishing third, with a time of 2:05.63.

Strong in field events

In the six field events, the Engineers were able attain at least a second-place finish in every one. In the 35-pound weight throw, John Wallberg '96, the only MIT representative to make the final round, finished second, with a throw of 48 feet, two and a half inches. However, he was no match for Joe Welch, of Bates College, who won with a 54 foot seven-and-a-quarter inch toss. Coming into the Beaver Relays, Welch was heavily favored to win, based on results earlier this season.

The shot put ended in the same finishing order, with Welch and Wallberg finishing 1-2 again. This time, Welch put forth a heave of 41 feet two-and-a-half inches, almost four feet behind the winning throw. Antonio Morales-Pena '97 added a fifth place finish.

The Engineers fared much better in the other field events. First, they dominated the high jump and pole vault. MIT captured the top four places in the pole vault, led by Robinson, who cleared a height of 14 feet. Robinson owns the MIT indoor track record for the event, with a 16 foot, 3 three-and-a-half inch jump last year.

In the high jump, MIT's winning effort was led by Andy Ugarov '95 and James Kirtley '94, who finished 1-2, clearing heights of 6 feet, 3 inches and 6 feet, 1 inch, respectively. Hung Hoang '96 finished third with a jump of 5 feet, 11 inches.

Hoang, though, won the long jump held later in the day. His 20-foot, 6 and-three-quarter-inch leap for victory was only one-and-a-half inches better than the second place finish. The next highest MIT placing was fifth, by Elliot Hui '95, who jumped exactly 20 feet.

In the triple jump, the final field event of the meet, Jason Desmaris of Fitchburg State captured first place. Morio Alexander '95 was the top MIT finisher, placing second with a jump of 41 feet, 6 and-a-half inches, losing by a little less than four inches. Hui, Ugarov, and Hoang showed their versatility in field events by finishing third through fifth.

Feldman wins 5,000 meter

The events at the end seemed to be the most exciting, with the help of a large cheering section of Engineers who had already completed their own events. The last individual track event, the 5,000-meter run, had only three competitors, but still generated much team support and excitement. Josh Feldman '97, the top MIT runner in the event, started out strongly, taking a lead which he would keep for the duration of the race.

Feldman's teammate, Sateyn Shah G traded second place with Casey Connolly of Westfield State for most of the race. However, Shah seemed to tire late in the race, and dropped back with about seven laps to go. Feldman posted a time of 16 minutes, 42.1 seconds, winning by a little more than 50 seconds.

Both of the relays featured impressive come-from-behind victories for the Engineers. The next event, the 1,600-meter relay, consisted of only two teams, pitting MIT against Bates. MIT's Kirtley started off slowly, allowing his opponent to gain a lead of a few body lengths. On the second leg, Edgar Ngwenya '97, seemed to close the gap, but lost some time while passing the baton on to Patron.

When the Bates runner seemed to be in control of the race, Patron found a miraculous burst of speed, and passed him on the backstretch of his second, and last lap. Patron sped onwards, allowing the anchor, Dan Corcoran '94 to cruise along his leg, and finish with a comfortable margin of victory. The winning time was 3:36.07, five seconds ahead of the Bates team.

In terms of excitement, the best seemed to be saved for last, in the 3,200-meter relay. For this race, MIT went up against Bates and Westfield State with two teams. The first consisted of Duran, Rob Casadonte '94, Seto, and Hardy. Darley, Dan Helgeson '97, Pratt , and Crain made up the second team.

The first MIT team started out in second place, but took the lead early in the second leg. The second MIT team, which seemed to start out far behind, surprisingly caught up, putting MIT's teams in first and second at the hand-off between the second and third legs.

Neither team could hold its lead, though, as Westfield State came to the front during the third leg. Close to the final hand-off, while the first MIT team started falling behind, the second team started to pick up steam. Matters were left to Crain, the Engineers' top miler. With a separation of 50 meters, Crain ran a steady pace, slowly closing the gap. The strategy worked, as Crain passed his tiring adversary on the homestretch of the final lap winning with a time of 8:24.96 minutes, with a margin of victory of 0.90 seconds. Hardy brought a third place finish for MIT's first team.

The Beaver Relays served as a warmup for the more important events later in the season, according to coach Halston Taylor. He was pleased with the outcome. "There was a very competitive spirit, and a lot of team spirit," he said.

The team spirit was obvious during the final events. However, Taylor also added that while the performances were good, they will have to be better later in the season. Taylor and his team look to be competitive in NCAA Division III New England regional competition, and in the Quad Cup.

The next event for the men's track team will be Saturday, when it travels to Bates College for a dual meet. The next home meet will be on Jan. 22 with Bowdoin College, Colby College, Westfield State, and Worcester State.