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Indoor Track & Field Team Off to a 3-0 Start after Opener

By Daniel Wang
Sports Editor

Last Saturday, the men's indoor track and field team won its first meet of the season, which was held at the Johnson Athletic Center. By winning the quadrangular meet, the team now has a record of 30.

The Engineers demonstrated their advantage of a larger team size, and to a greater extent, the ability to consistently place top-three finishers in several events. Their final team score of 298.5 points easily outdistanced Springfield College, the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and Fitchburg State College, which scored 139.5, 61, and 31 points, respectively.

Field events

In the field events, the Engineers achieved the most success in the competitions which involved clearing vertical heights, as they swept the top three places in the high jump and in the pole vault.

Andy Ugarov '95 led the way in the high jump, winning on his first attempt of the day, with the bar set at 6 feet, 2 inches. He would improve his result to 6' 6".

Both Dennis Dougherty '98 and Bo Light '96 cleared a final height of 6' 0", but Dougherty was awarded second on the basis of fewer misses. Hung Hoang '96 added a fourth place finish, with a result of 5' 10".

Ugarov and Hoang later earned points for MIT in the triple jump. Ugarov won the event, leaping a distance of 43' 5-1/2", while Hoang captured third, with a distance of 40' 7". Hoang also placed second in the long jump, traveling 20' 2-3/4", a little less than seven inches short of the winning mark by James Imbert of UMass at Dartmouth.

In the pole vault, competitors were eliminated one-by-one with every notch the bar was raised. With the bar set at a height of 12' 0", Jason Melvin '97 and Alfred Hernandez '95 were all who remained. Hernandez was not able to clear the height, but Melvin did. He ended up spending much time by himself, trying to clear each successive height. Melvin would go on to clear 12' 6" and 13' 0", but could not advance further. Michael DeMassa '97 cleared a height of 11' 6" for third place, thus completing MIT's sweep.

The Engineers scored points in the throwing events, but were not as successful as in other events, placing only one person in the top three in both the 35-pound weight throw and the shot put.

John Wallberg '96 won the 35-lb. weight throw, tossing the bag a distance of 48' 9-1/2", more than five and a half feet farther than the next best result. Wallberg also finished second in the shot put, with a distance of 44' 2", two feet short of the winning effort and closer to the rest of the field than in the weight throw.

Action on the track

On the track, MIT placed at least one runner in the top three in all but one event.

The Engineers' dominance was not so apparent in the sprint events, but they were still able to add to the team score.

The best result in the 55-meter was a fourth place by Malik King '95. In the 55-meter high hurdles, Colin Page '95 finished second, while Light added a fourth-place effort. In the 200-meter race, King fell slightly short of the win, coming in 0.02 seconds behind the victor.

The Engineers attained the best results as the distance increased.

Matt Sandholm '96 won the 400-meter race, in a time of 53.38 seconds. Marcelo Targino '96 came in right behind, with a time of 53.94, to give MIT the top two places in the event. John Kim '98 finished fourth with a time of 54.42, to complete a three-quarters sweep of the top four places.

Ed Patron '95 added to the list of first place results, winning the 500-meter event, with a time of 1:09.5.

MIT took three of the top four in the 800-meter event, led by Edgar Ngwenya '96. He and Joel Ford '98 led the pack for almost the entire race. However, a Springfield runner spent the time on their heels; he passed Ford on the homestretch and nearly beat Ngwenya to the finish line.

Ethan Crain '95 took first place in the 1500-meter race, the same event that he won at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Championships last spring. Crain came in with a winning time of 4:00.30, ahead of Bryan Brown of Springfield College, and Dan Helgeson '97. Later on, in the 1000-meter event, Brown would come from behind to beat Crain to the finish line.

MIT's dominance was best shown in the 5000-meter race. From the beginning Jesse Darley '95, Josh Feldman '97, and Arnold Seto '96 ran the race together. As they paced each other, they set a pace that only one other runner was able to keep up with. They soon pulled away from him with 19 laps (out of 25) remaining, then had only each other to race against.

Darley made his move at the start of the final lap and proceeded to win the race. Seto sat behind Feldman for the entire race, but then moved ahead on the homestretch. Feldman was able to muster enough energy for the final sprint, but Seto edged him at the finish line. Darley's winning time was 15:25.3, while Seto recorded a 15:28.5 effort, 0.1 seconds ahead of Feldman.

Comeback win in relay

The last event of the day, the 4 x 400-meter relay, is usually one of the most exciting ones. At this meet, the relay race proved to be no exception.

All but four of the team members had finished competing and were able to devote their energies to cheering on those on the track. Their support, in addition to the actual race, electrified the atmosphere of the venue.

In the first two legs, Ed Patron '95, followed by Sandholm, built up a lead, albeit a small one, for MIT over the team from Springfield College, the only adversaries in the event.

However, Springfield took the lead near the end of the third leg, run by Frank Benham '97. The runners from Springfield established what seemed to be a comfortable margin as Benham passed off to the anchor, Ngwenya.

Nwgenya worked on reeling in the adversary and successfully regained the lead for MIT near the end of the final backstretch. He managed to hold on to the lead during the final sprint to the finish, in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

This Friday, the team will compete at home against Fitchburg, Colby College, Middlebury College, and Westfield State College. The team will have then have three more home meets, including the New England Division III Championships on Saturday, Feb. 18.