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Women's Track Team Dominates Opponents

By Elaine Chen
Team Member

The women's track and field team finished in first place among a field of eleven schools at last Saturday's Eric Loeschner Memorial Track Meet. The team's depth in both the running and field events helped the Beavers come home with 80 points, a decisive win against host team Fitchburg State (44), as well as Bentley (37), Keene State (29), Simmons (21), Worcester State (18), Regis (16), Brandeis (14), Salem State (14), Westfield State (5), and Wellesley (4).

Despite a slight headwind, the Engineers were still able to come up with several school and personal records, as well as multiple qualifying marks for post-season championship meets.

In the first race of the day, Jantrue Ting '00 set the tone for the rest of the meet by breaking the school record in the 10,000 meters. Ting took second place with a time of 42:35.60, qualifying her for the New England Division III Championship Meet.

Alyssa Thorvaldsen '00 dominated the next event by winning the 400 meter hurdles in a personal record time of 70.73. This time qualified her to compete in both the Division III and the East Coast Athletic Conference Championship Meet.

Thorvaldsen also took the win in the 100 meter hurdles. But Lila French '99 was the one who stole the show in this event. French was tied for the lead when she took an unexpected tumble over the fifth hurdle. However, she regained her composure and passed two competitors on her way to a fourth place finish.

The other sprinters also turned in solid performances. In the 400 meters, co-captain Elaine Chen '99 placed second and Natalie Smith '00 took fourth. Smith returned in the 200 meter dash to finish in third place, where she was joined by Deepa Patel '01 in sixth.

In the 3,000 meters, Margaret Nervegna '01, cut an amazing twelve seconds off her personal record to qualify for Division III's. In a race that was all heart from start to finish, Nervegna posted a time of 11:25.0 to take second place. Co-captain Janis Eisenberg '98 and Robin Evans '99 were not far behind, finishing in third and fifth respectively.

As usual, Debbie Won '00 performed brilliantly. In the 800 meters, Won broke the school record with a blistering time of 2:25.01. Her performance secured her second place and qualified her for Division III's and ECAC's. Won was followed by Evans in fifth with a time of 2:29.9. Christina Wilbert '01 felt no pain on her way to a sixth place finish and her season's best time of 2:36.7.

In the 5,000 meters, Won won with a record-breaking time of 18:24.9, shattering the previous school record by over half a minute. This performance qualifies her for Division III's, ECAC's, and the All-New England Division I Championship Meet. Won has now qualified for Division III's and ECAC's in every distance event from the 800 to the 5,000 meters. Eisenberg took second in the event with a Division III qualifying time of 20:03.5.

The running events ended on a high note, with the 4*400 meter relay of Chen, Leah Nichols '00, Smith, and Thorvaldsen finishing in first place by a comfortable margin with a time of 4:20.

Mia Heavener '00 got the field events started off right by taking third place in the long jump in her first attempt ever at the event.

In the high jump, Chen cleared a personal record of 5'2" to take second place and qualify for All-New England's. Heavener and Sapphire Jillian '99 tied for fifth place with leaps of 4'4". French cleared a height of 4'2" in her first competition in this event.

French's performances in this meet enabled her to become only the second athlete in the team's history to qualify for Division III's in the heptathalon.

The throwing events produced a number of personal records. Crystal Harris '00 placed third in the hammer throw with a distance of 101'4". Rena Nassr '01 and Joycelyn Gathers '00 also improved their previous records with throws of 85'1" and 79'5", respectively.

The standout performance in the throwing events belonged to Harris, who launched a 114'11" throw in the discus. This distance was good enough for second place, as well as qualifying her for Division III's, ECAC's, and All-New England's.

Harris again took second with a 32'9" effort in the shotput. She was followed by a fourth place finish by Nikki Justis '00, who set a personal record of 30'10".

The meet was capped off with the team's rousing rendition of the MIT Beaver Call. The team hopes to carry their momentum into this Saturday's New England Women's Eight Conference Meet, their final meet of the regular season.