Won Earns Berth to Championship RaceBy Robin Evans
The women's cross country team ran their last race of the season at the New England Division III Championships held at Babson College Saturday. The Engineers competed on the wooded trails for an 18th place finish. The squad positioned only six runners on the starting line instead of the maximum seven, because several top runners, including Melanie Harris '01, Margaret Nervegna '00 and Robin Evans '99, were injured.
The first runner to finish for MIT was New England superstar Debbie Won '99. Won fought a gutsy battle with the front runners for the entire 3.1 mile race, and finished fifth with a time of 18:17. Her race earned her an individual berth to the National Championships. Won is only the second woman in the 16 year history of MIT women's cross country to qualify for Nationals.
Rose Radin '02 and Jantrue Ting '00 followed Won with personal bests of 20:05 and 20:33 respectively. Radin has cut four minutes off her times over the season and Ting ran a near-perfect race with mile splits of 6:21, 6:33 and 7:00.
Leah Nichols '00 finished fourth for the team at 21:02. Nichols, who has been suffering from exhaustion this season and collapsed after a race a few weeks earlier, pulled together a season's best time for this meet. Struggling a bit from staying up all night on Thursday, Patricia Diaz '00 came in at 21:17. Chi-An Wang '01 rounded out the squad with another personal best. Wang finished in 21:58, achieving her goal of breaking 22:00.
Won will be taking on the top Division III runners in the country this weekend at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Her race will complete the team's first season under Coach Halston Taylor. The entire squad who competed in the Championships will be returning next year.