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Track Looks to Championships after Close Meet with Williams

By Todd Chamoy
Team Member

The track team turned in a solid performance last Saturday against perennial powerhouse Williams College. Finishing what Coach Halston Taylor referred to as a "year of recovery," the Engineers posted a respectable 13-2 record, losing only this week to Williams and last week to Tufts.

The final score of this week's meet was Williams, 260.5; MIT, 207.5; Bates, 100; Norwich, 22; and Worcester State, 1.

Overall, the athletes turned in good performances on Saturday, but the team didn't have the talent necessary to defeat Williams. The 1,500-meter run was a paradigm of the races that MIT did well in, but not well enough.

Joel Ford '98, Dan Helgesen '97, Arnold Seto '96, and Joshua Feldman '97 ran some of their best times of the season to finish fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh. Unfortunately, ahead of all four of them were three athletes from Williams.

Williams also swept the top three slots of the 55-meter dash, the 200-meter run, and the 400-meter run. MIT managed to place three athletes in each of these races, but the points Williams earned from the top three slots were too much to overcome.

Finishing fourth through sixth in the 55 were Alim Needham '97, Akin Aina G, and Paul Ogagan '97. Aina finished fourth in the 200 meters, followed by Lincoln Bonner '97 and Neil Karchem '99 in seventh and eighth places. Karchem also placed in the 400 meters, this time in fourth, right behind the Williams runners. Marlon Osbourne '98 and Reginald Paulding '97 took sixth and eighth.

At first glance, this meet may seem like a blowout, but MIT did have several very successful athletes. Shot-putter Keith Bevans G met his season goal with a third place throw of 45' 1". Ravi Sastry '98 excelled in the long jump with a victory and a season-best 22' 0.5" jump on his first attempt, leaving him free to challenge Williams in other events, which he did rather well.

In the 55-meter high hurdles, Sastry ran a quick 8.19, which was second by only 0.04 seconds to a Bates runner. Sastry cleared six feet in the high jump for the second week in a row, but this time it was only good enough for fourth place. Sastry also placed high in the triple jump, where his 41' 3.5" jump left him in third, behind a Norwich athlete and teammate Morio Alexander '96, who won the event with a 43' 8.75" jump.

Josh Feldman came back from a successful 1,500 to blow away the competition in his next event, the 3,000-meter run. He finished in 8:53, almost five seconds faster than the second place runner. MIT had two other athletes place in the 3,000. Michael Parkins '99 and Omar Saleh '97, who both ran the race in 9:10, finished seventh and eighth.

The pole vaulters continued their successful season, led by 13' 6" vaults from Andrew Jamieson '99 and Jason Melvin '97. Paul Ogagan vaulted 13', and Michael Demassa '97 cleared 12'. Once again, however, this wasn't enough to catch Williams, who had two vaulters over 14'.

Next week, the track team travels to Brandeis University for the New England Division III Championships. Last year, a slightly better team finished third behind Williams and Coast Guard. This year, with a fair number of qualifiers, MIT has a good chance of being in the top three again, but that will require standout performances like they have had during the past two weeks.