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Track Places 3rd at Championship

By Bo Light
Team Member

The MIT track team took on the best in New England last weekend, when it played host to the New England Division III indoor track and field championships. The Engineers, who finished the season with a 101 record, were looking to avenge a season-ending loss to Williams College. Unfortunately, the talent at Williams was a little out of reach and the Ephmen scored 164 points to easily win the meet.

Despite the loss, the MIT athletes put on a strong performance for the third time in as many weeks, setting over 20 personal bests. The team nearly held off a talent-laden Coast Guard team, before settling for third place, with 96 points to Coast Guard's 104.

On Friday, the Engineers did their best to get an early advantage by sending Lincoln Bonner '97 and Bo Light '96 to compete in the pentathlon. Bonner and Light held the top two places after the hurdles and long jump, but the third event, the shot put, proved to be their undoing, and they were unable to mount a comeback in the high jump and 1,000-meter run. Light finished in fifth place and Bonner was sixth, earning MIT three early points.

Saturday began with the field events, and the Engineers came out strong. John Wallberg '96 took second in the 35 lb. weight throw with a toss of 55 feet, 1 1/2 inches, and came back with a 46' 9 3/4" performance in the shot put, good enough for fourth place. At the pole vault, Jason Melvin 97 was exploring new heights, and his personal best vault of 14'0" earned him third place.

In the jumps, co-captain Andrew Ugarov '95 made the finals in the long jump, but could not improve his performance, and failed to score. Ugarov did take third in the high jump, with a jump of 6' 5", and then won the triple jump with a 44' 9" jump. Hung Hoang '96 placed fourth in the triple jump with a personal best jump of 42' 3 1/2".

On the track, sprinter Matt Sandholm '96 finished second in the 55-meter dash, and qualified provisionally for the Division III national championship with a time of 6.54 seconds. In the 55-meter hurdles, Colin Page '95 grabbed fifth place for the Engineers.

MIT entered only one runner in the middle distance events, co-captain Ethan Crain '95. After easily winning his preliminary heat, Crain won a hotly contested final in the 1,000-meter run, passing an opponent in the final steps of the race; the other runner attempted to cut off Crain, and then pushed him as they crossed the finish line. Crain was also victorious in the 1,500-meter run, and anchored the distance medley relay.

In the long distance events, Josh Feldman '97 was running strong in the 3,000-meter, when a collision with another runner sent him falling to the track. Feldman recovered and stormed back to a fifth-place finish. Jesse Darley '95 took second in the 5,000, and Arnold Seto '96 took fifth, in one of only three events where MIT placed more than one competitor.

The meet ended with the relays, and the tired MIT athletes nevertheless put up a strong showing. The distance medley team of Chris Schell '96, Frank Benham '97, Karl Munkelwitz '95, and Crain took third place, as did the 3,200-meter relay team of Feldman, Joel Ford '98, Ed Patron '95, and Edgar Ngwenya '96. The 1,600-meter team of Jesus Muniz '98, Marcelo Targino '96, John Kim '98, and Akin Aina '95 ran a strong race, but could only manage sixth place in a strong field.

In addition, Crain and Wallberg have already qualified for the NCAA Division III championships, which will take place in two weeks; Sandholm and Ugarov have provisionally qualified.