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Although Tantalizingly Close, Men's Track Falls to Williams

By Jeff Billing
Team Member

Last Saturday the men's track team walked up the steps of the Johnson Athletic Center to the indoor track to accomplish what no track team in New England has been able to do in the last seven years - beat Williams College.

Last year, MIT travelled to Williams, fought an epic battle with the Ephs, but came home with a heart-wrenching one point defeat. This year, high-scorers Mike Parkins '99 and co-captain Ravi Sastry '98 were set on avenging that loss.

The Beavers will have to wait another year, however, as Williams eked out a close win.

Parkins leads Beavers

Parkins got the team going by winning the first running event, the 1,500-meter race, outkicking Williams' three best runners. Meanwhile, Sastry was busy winning his first two events, the 55-meter hurdles and the long jump, jumping just short of 22 feet.

While the veterans were doing their part, Todd Rosenfield '01 made his mark, winning the 400-meter race in a blazing 53 seconds.

The meet was living up to its billing - midway through, the score was Williams 140, MIT 139. In the second half, MIT put on a little extra speed, starting with Joel Ford '98, who lead the entire 800-meter race, bringing Ken Walker '01 and co-captain Chuck Van Buren '98 with him, giving the team first, second, and fourth, respectively, and the lead over Williams.

In the very next event, Parkins returned for the second of his three events to win the 1000-meter race, again outkicking two of Williams' best runners. Following those three, Sohail Husain '98 came in a clutch fourth place, recording key points for the team.

Williams pulls ahead

The Beavers' lead was short-lived, however, as Williams flexed their muscles with three events and two relays left. The Ephs took advantage of the Beavers' weaknesses, excelling in the 200-meter race and the high jump.

In the 5000-meter race, however, the Beavers came back, briefly. Chris McGuire '00 set the pace early, but was forced to use his outstanding kick to overcome Williams' top runner, and took second in the race. Following him were Parkins in fourth, completing an amazing triple including Mark Strauss '01 and Ed Keehr '01, who kicked past a Williams runner in the final 400 meters.

With only the 4x100- and 4x800-meter relays left, Williams was leading by two, meaning that to win, the Beavers were going to have to win both the relays. It was here that Williams finally pulled away. Both relays were fought till the end, but in both, the Williams runners were just too fresh and strong, and once again they were victorious.

The final score was 230222, Williams. Sastry had competed in six events, Parkins three, leading a core of Beavers who ran multiple events. Despite the pain of the loss, it will doubtlessly throw more fuel into the fire, and when the Beavers next meet the Ephs, that fire will be raging stronger than ever.