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Women’s Track Finishes Regular Season Undefeated

By Elaine Chen and Lila French
TEAM CO-CAPTAINs

After an undeafeated regular season, the MIT Women’s Track and Field team began its post-season by competing in the New England Division III Championships at Springfield College. With almost all of Tech’s athletes beating their seeds, MIT tallied 49 points to finish 7th out of 32, well ahead of its 10th place seed. Leading the way were Tech’s pole vaulters. Lila S. French ‘99 cleared 10’6” to take 2nd place in the vault. Stephanie A. Norris ‘02 took 3rd with 10’, and Vanessa Li ‘02 took 5th.

Elaine Y. Chen ‘99 took a pair of 3rd places in the 100m and 200m, while Alyssa S. Thorvaldsen ‘00 scored in both hurdling events, placing 4th in the 100H and 6th in the 400H.

Theresa K. Burianek ‘99, Jantrue Ting ‘00, and Deborah S. Won ‘00 all beat their seeds to each pick up an 8th place. Burianek finished with 3032 points in the heptathlon. Ting completed the 10,000m in 42:45.45, while Won ran a 10:29.83 in the 3,000m.

Princess Imoukuede ‘02 also beat her seed by throwing a season best 35’8.5” in the shot put. Regina Sam ‘02 had a season best in the 400m, covering the distance in 61.56.

Both of MIT’s relays ran school record-breaking times to place. Adeline L. Kuo ‘02, Thorvaldsen, French, and Chen formed the 4x100m team which finished 4th in 50.74. The 4x400m team of Chen, Kay Sullivan ‘02, Sam, and Thorvaldsen put together a school record-breaking 4:05.63 to place 6th.

MIT Finishes 5th at ECAC’s

The East Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships were held the following week at Williams College. Despite the intermittent downpours and gusty winds, MIT put together some very strong performances to finish 5th out of 47 teams, garnering 55 points after being seeded to finish 7th with 37 points.

On the track, Thorvaldsen ran a 15.34 to take 2nd place in the 100m hurdles. In the 100m dash, Chen was able to just barely lean for 4th with a school record time of 12.69. The 4x100m relay, which had come in seeded 8th, placed 3rd with a new school record of 50.26.

The big story of the day was in Tech’s premiere event: the pole vault. With three athletes seeded to place, MIT was expecting to score a lot of points in the event, and score they did, with MIT capturing 2nd, 3rd, and 4th for 19 team points. Norris vaulted a disappointing 9’6” but still secured 4th place. Li vaulted 10’6” for 3rd, setting a 1 foot season personal record (PR) and a new rookie record. On her 3rd attempt at 11’, French cleared for an all-time PR and a new school record.

French had another excellent performance in the heptathlon, breaking the school record with 3679 points. She placed 5th, well ahead of her 11th place seed. Burianek also set a PR, finishing with 3140 points.

Thorvaldsen took 7th place in the 400 hurdles, while Chen was able to hold onto 3rd in the 200m with a 26.10. Despite a strong 3000m field, Won was still able to take 8th with a 10:37.85. The 4x400 ran a 4:05.88 to place 5th.

All-New England

The team ended the season at the All-New England Championship meet at Tufts University.

French was the team’s sole point scorer, placing 4th in the pole vault with a height of 10’6”. Tying for 7th in the vault was Norris with 10’, while Li cleared 9’6”.

Won ran a solid 18:24.71 in the 5000m. The 4x100m relay ran a 50.39, missing sub-50 because of a delayed handoff during the last exchange. Thorvaldsen performed well in both hurdling events, running a 15.39 in the 100H and breaking the school record in the 400H with a 65.42.

Sprinter Chen ‘99 entered the meet with what ended up being a modest goal of breaking 26 seconds in the 200. Chen ran an excellent race, setting huge a 0.6 second PR to finish in 25.46. Her performance broke the school record and provisionally qualified her for the NCAA Division III National Championships, however due to a technicality in the NCAA rules, Chen was the only provisional qualifier denied entry into the meet, despite two other qualifiers having the same mark. Even though Chen was unable to compete at the meet, she was the first in the outdoor team’s history to qualify for Division III Nationals.