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Women's X-C Runs to 14th in Tourney

By Lauren Klatsky
team member

The women's cross country team finished in 14th place at the New England Division III Regional Championship on Saturday at Westfield State College.

Among the 33 teams at the meet were nationally ranked Williams College, Middlebury College, and Bowdoin College. The top four teams qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championship to be held next week in Illinois.

The Engineers drove to Westfield Friday afternoon to preview the Stanley Park course in the pouring rain. The rain continued throughout the night, creating large puddles and many patches of mushy mud on the course.

As race time approached, the drizzle ceased and the sun slowly began to peek out from behind the clouds. While the young team was a little nervous, MIT got itself psyched up for the race and challenging 5-kilometer course ahead.

As the gun went off, the 243 runners elbowed their way into position. In addition to fighting with other competitors, the women had to battle with the mud. Many lost, sliding to the ground as they attempted to round the course's sharp corners. The Engineers used their intelligent cross country tactics and poise to remain on both feet throughout the race.

In her last cross country race for MIT, Lauren Klatsky '97 finished 14th in a time of 19:35. She was followed by Janis Eisenberg '98, who crossed the finish line in 45th place in 20:11. Shue-Fen Tung '00 finished next in 20:26, capturing the 63rd position.

Debbie Won '00 and Tanya Zelevinski '99 came in together, taking the 135th and 136th places with times of 21:48 and 21:49. Leah Nichols '00 and Robin Evans '99 rounded out MIT's squad in 143rd and 151st places at 21:59 and 22:12, respectively.

When asked about their favorite part of the race, the MIT team responded, "We loved the mud!" Jokes aside, Coach Joe Sousa thought his athletes did well for such a young team. Four of the seven had never run for the Engineers before this season and were not accustomed to such a meet.

Sousa said that the intensity of this championship meet is something you need to get used to. This year was a learning experience for the rookies so next year should be easier for them, he said.

With only one varsity runner graduating, the Engineers look forward to next season.