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Engineers Place Ninth At Division III

By Lila French

On Saturday, Feb. 27, the women’s track team made its first appearance at the Indoor New England Division III Championships at Smith College. There were more athletes competing in this event than at any outdoor Division III event. The team finished ninth out of 27 teams, higher than any of MIT’s outdoor finishes. The versatility of this year’s squad definitely shined at the meet as the team managed to score points in every track and field discipline.

55m hurdler Alyssa Thorvaldsen ’00, whose performance has dramatically improved all season long, ran an excellent 8.88 in the trials. Thorvaldsen then followed it up with amazing personal bests of 8.71 and 8.60 in the semi-finals and finals, respectively which earned her a third place finish. Her time in the finals not only qualifies her provisionally for Nationals, it also ranks her ninth in the nation.

In the pole vault, Lila French ’99 and Stephanie Norris ’02 continued to outscore the opposing teams. French took second on misses with a vault of 10’9”, a personal best as well as a new meet and Smith facility record. Freshman sensation Norris took third with a personal best of 10’6”.

Elaine Chen ’99, who led the team in individual point-scoring during the regular season, continued her contributions at the competition. Chen took fourth in the high jump with a mark of 5’01”. She also placed sixth in the 200m with a time of 27.15, a personal best by almost half a second. Chen was just out of the scoring in the 55m dash, taking ninth with a personal record of 7.59.

Princess Imoukhuede ’02 set yet another personal record this season in the shot put. Her 38 ’03.50” heave earned her eighth place.

In the first multi-event competition of the season, the pentathlon, Theresa Burianek ’99 achieved something truly rare -- five personal bests in each of the five events. She started the day with an excellent 9.5 in the hurdles, followed with 15’02.75” in the long jump, 28’ in the shot put and 4’04.75” in the high jump, and ended with a personal record of 2:49.65 in the 800. Burianek finished ninth, well above her 13th seed, with a score of 2417.

In the distance events, Patry Diaz ’00 set personal bests in both the 3000m and the 5000m race, finishing both races with her usual excellent kick. Rose Radin ’02, Melanie Harris ’01, and Milena Yamaykina ’02, who competed in the 3000m, 1000m, and 600m, respectively, each ran well but just short of their personal bests.

Debbie Won ’00, who has already qualified for Nationals in the 5000m, was looking to improve her provisional mark. However, running with the flu, she ran a disappointing race and finished behind her seed.

The 4x200m relay of Chen, Kay Sullivan ’02, French, and Adeline Kuo ’02 were on t heir way to a new school record and a top five finish at Division III’s, as Chen, Sullivan, and French all ran personal bests. However, a hand-off from French to anchor leg Kuo out of the zone led to the team’s disqualification.

The same four women from the 4x200m came back in the 4x400m relay, running a school record time of 4:17.60. Sullivan anchored the relay, running an excellent 63.3 leg. The 4x400m team placed seventh, well above their tenth place seed.