Men's Track Squad Outruns SpringfieldBy Matthew Potts
In a head-to-head battle with archrival Springfield College this past Saturday, the Men's Track and Field Team handily defeated Springfield 94-69 on their own track.
MIT entered the meet knowing that Springfield would not go down easily. In the rivalry that dates back 14 years, Springfield has given it their all at their home meets and won nearly every one. However, this time their all just wasn't enough.
Captain Ravi Sastry '98 threw the first punch with a victory in the Long Jump. His jump of 23'1" was a personal record and enough to elevate him to third place on MIT's all-time list. This early victory was needed, however, to offset the damage that Springfield's throwers would cause. Springfield's throwing squad is one of the best in the region and only allowed one point to be scored against them in last year's showdown against MIT. However, MIT's George Torres '99 was not about to let that happen again and threw a personal record of 158'2" in the hammer to place third. Nikolaos Michalakis '01 carried that momentum into the Javelin to give Springfield's national qualifier a big scare and place second despite a gale-force headwind.
The battle then moved to the track. Leif Seed '99 and Mark Strauss '01 buried their opponents in the 3000m Steeplechase to score 1-2 with times of 9:41.40 and 9:41.88. Strauss' strong kick in the final lap not only overtook Springfield's number one man but also gave him a personal record by 23 seconds.
Next came what was to be the most exciting race of the day. With both teams seeded only 0.03 seconds apart in the 4x100m relay, MIT's team of Sastry, Neal Karchem '98, Todd Rosenfield '01, and Sam Thibault '00 knew they had to go all out. The first three legs were strong but not enough to give anchorman Thibault a lead when he took the baton. With only 30 meters left, however, he launched a furious rush and dove for the finish line. Thibault slid face-first into the track and won the race by just an inch.
Feeding on this victory, Sohail Husain '98, Chris McGuire '00, and Joel Ford '98 swept the 1500m, while Sastry took an easy win in the 110m high hurdles with a time of 15.50. Junius Ho '01 took third in the event with 15.99, his second personal record of the day along with a 20'6" long jump.
MIT continued its dominance in the 400m where Rosenfield charged down the home stretch to place first while Karchem held on for a third. In his third win of the day, Sastry won the 100m with a personal record time of 11.23, giving MIT their sixth win in eight events.
On the field, Kalpak Kothari '01 achieved personal records three times in the triple hump to earn a second with 44'2". Despite a seasonal best of 43'1" in the shot put by Patrick Dannen '98, Springfield narrowed MIT's lead by sweeping that event. Springfield followed with an upset win in the 800m that cut MIT's lead to 55-49. However, Ford and Sean Montgomery '01 took second and third in the event to minimize the damage.
Unfortunately for Springfield, that was as close as they would get. With a daunting cross wind, Thibault and Matt Potts '00 took first and second in the Pole Vault with leaps of 13'3" and 12'9". Seed and Anthony Pelosi '01 followed that with first and second place in the 400m Intermediate Hurdles, with Pelosi making up a six meter deficit in the final 40 meters to edge out his opponent by only 0.03 seconds. Sastry and Karchem brought home second and third place the 200m. Roger Nielson '01 won the High Jump with 6'0". Sastry took third in that event while Sam Sadiqi '99 had a personal record jump by 11 inches at 5'6". The 4x400m Relay Team of Montgomery, Ford, Seed and Karchem then ended the meet by easily outrunning their opponents and improving the Engineers Division III season record to 5-1.
Next week the Engineers go up to Williams College to give everyone one final chance to qualify for the New England Division III Championships only two weeks away. However, with 17 automatic qualifiers already, MIT promises to be in strong contention for the title.