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Women’s Indoor Track Finishes Successful Season

By Elaine Chen and Lila French

The women’s track team ended the indoor season with a surprising performance at the East Coast Athletic Conference Meet held on Mar. 6 at Boston University. MIT scored 34 points to finish fifth out of 44 teams, an astonishing feat for a first-year program. The team just edged out Bowdoin (33 points), whose squad had defeated the Engineers throughout the season. Wheaton College, who went on to become the national champion, easily won the meet with 106.5 points.

The powerhouse pole-vaulting squad led the Engineers in points. Lila French ’99 was the event’s champion, setting a meet record with 10’6”, while Stephanie Norris ’02 took second with 10’0”. Their primary competition from Wheaton opened at 10’ and no-heighted. Not to be outdone, Vanessa Li ’02 came out of nowhere to set a one-foot season best. Her 9’6.25” jump earned her third place, completing the unprecedented one-two-three vault sweep. Tech’s vaulters alone scored 24 of the team’s 34 points.

Elaine Chen ’99, who was seeded tenth in the 200m dash, finished fourth with a huge personal record. Her 26.69 performance broke the school record she set one week earlier by almost half a second.

In the shot put, Princess Imoukhuede ’02 took fifth place with an amazing 7 inch personal record of 38’10.50”. In the weight throw, she set a 6 inch personal record of 41’06”. Both performances broke Imoukhuede’s own school records.

Alyssa Thorvaldsen ’00 was looking to improve her NCAA provisional mark in the 55m hurdles. She ran respectable times of 9.02 and 9.12 in the trials and semifinals, respectively, but was unable to secure her place at Nationals.

Coming into the meet with the previous week’s disqualification in the back of their minds, the 4x200m relay team hoped to redeem itself by taking advantage of the particularly fast, banked BU track. Chen, Kay Sullivan ’02, French, and Adeline Kuo ’02 all ran personal best times to finish in 1:49.33, earning them an unexpected fourth place finish and beating the school record by almost 5 seconds.

MIT’s two other relay teams both broke the school records. The 4x400m of Chen, French, Kuo, and Sullivan ran a 4:12.53, while the 4x800m team of Chi-An Wang ’01, Milena Yamaykina ’02, Melanie Harris ’01, and Debbie Won ’00 finished in 10:04.66, led by Yamaykina’s key 2:27 leg.

The team will spend spring break training and competing in Atlanta in preparation for the outdoor season. Their first meet will be the Engineer’s Cup on April 3 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.