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Women's Track Starts Spring with Record-Breaking Races

By Christina Cosman and Chi-An Wang
Team Members

The women's track team kicked off their spring training trip with spirited performances at their first meet on Saturday, March 21. Sixteen athletes and two coaches represented MIT at the First Annual Bob Mosher Relays in Orlando, Florida.

Even though this was the team's first taste of competition this season, several members of the squad came out strong. In the 100 meter dash, co-captain Elaine Chen '99 captured fourth place with a time of 13.24 seconds, enabling her to qualify for ECAC's and the New England Division I and III Championships. Deepa Patel '01, Mia Heavener '00, and Stephanie Soohoo '00 also demonstrated remarkable speed in this event. Alyssa Thorvaldsen '00 ran a gutsy race in the 100 meter hurdles, qualifying her for ECAC's and the New England Division III Championships. Debbie Won '00 and co-captain Janis Eisenberg '98 and Margaret Nervegna '01 dominated in the 3000 meter race. Won quickly surged to the front of the pack, bringing home a gold medal with her teammates not far behind.

On the field, the Engineer's sole pole vaulter, Lila French '99, soared to a height of 7'11.5", earning her a silver medal. Joycelyn Gathers '00 and Valerie Pires '00 both threw personal bests in the discus. Gathers also fared well in the shotput. In the long jump, Chen leaped to a fifth place finish and Heavener cleared an impressive 4'8" in the high jump.

Back on the track, French, Heavener, Won, and Tanya Zelevinsky '99 smashed the school record for the Spring Medley Relay with a time of 4:45.83. The freshman relay team of Patel, Christina Cosman '01, Nervegna, and Chi-An Wang '01 followed the upperclassmen to set a new freshman record of 4:51.01. The Distance Medley Relay team of Eisenberg, Zelevinsky, Robin Evans '99, and Stephanie Hong '98 broke yet another school record with 13:43.40. The Mile Relay closed up the meet as Chen, Hong, Thorvaldsen, and Evans finished just shy of the school record with a speedy 4:19.65.

Immediately after returning from a sunny week of training at Disney's Wide World of Sports Athletic Complex, the team competed at the Tufts Snowflake Classic Invitational on Saturday, March 28. In the 200 meter dash, Chen bolted to a stunning finish of 27.79, once again qualifying her for the New England Division III Championships. Also running well in this event were French, Thorvaldsen, Patel, and Hong. Evans and Hong sprinted against tough competition in the 400 meters, as did Wang and Cosman in the 800 meters. Won and Eisenberg gutted out the 1500 meters in the sweltering heat. Reaching her goal of completing the run in 5:00 flat, Won buried her opponents in her heat. Nicole Justis '00 hurled the shotput an excellent distance of 30 feet.

With these two pre-season meets behind them, the women's team is ready for the Engineers Cup at Worcester Polytechnic Institute this Saturday, April 4.