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Women's Track Club Helps with Training

By Debbie Won
Team Member

A women's indoor track and field club has been formed to help women track athletes train in the off-season. The training season began on Nov. 12 with the club's first organized practices.

With about half of the 30 athletes who signed up for the sport regularly showing up for practices, the runners are already having a great first season. They have participated in three open indoor/all-comers meets since December and plan to compete in two more during Independent Activities Period.

The club did not compete for several months while awaiting approval from the club sports board of directors. During that time, interested female athletes met daily for workouts. Sprinter and jumper Elaine Chen '99 initially organized the meetings, and was later joined by long-distance runner Janis Eisenberg '98 and long- and mid-distance runner Robin Evans '99.

Pole vaulter and prospective pentathlete Lila French '99 has also been a strong source of motivation behind the club.

The group began rounding up support for the club early last spring, passing around petitions and meeting with the Department of Athletics administration to find a way to run a rigorous and organized winter season of track and field.

While the men's track team has a well-established indoor program and have recently placed as high as sixth at indoor nationals, the women have never before had an indoor season. The absence of a training season in the winter puts them at a disadvantage in the outdoor season, because the vast majority of their competitors have been training and competing for months before the Engineers even begin their practices.

Impressive races at IAP meets

At a Jan. 3 meet at Brandeis University, Stephanie Stine G placed third and second, respectively, in her 55-meter and 200-meter heats, while Eisenberg had an impressive second place finish in the 3000-meter race with an 11:08.

On Jan. 18, several club members participated in the Greater Boston Invitational at Harvard University.

The meet was held at Harvard's indoor track. For many MIT participants it was the first experience of running on a banked track; besides, they were surprised to see windows along one side of the track, which were especially appreciated by the long distance runners who welcomed the change of scenery.

Chen, French, and Stine gave solid performances in the 55, with times of 7.7, 8.3, and 8.6, respectively. French cleared 9'6" in the pole vault. Evans did not let the lack of competition in her heat from running a strong season opener 800-meter race in a time of 2:34.8 and winning her heat with a significant lead.

Margaret Nervegna '01 and Tanya Zelevinsky '99 took advantage of the competition to push themselves to run 11:49 and 11:47 in the 3000 and 5:59 and 6:05 in the 1600-meter race, respectively.

The club's next meet will be the Terrier Classic at Boston University on Sunday, Feb. 1.

Tanya Zelevinsky contributed to the reporting in this article.