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Men’s Track and Field Wins First NEWMAC Title

By Susan Buchman

The men’s outdoor track and field team capped off an undefeated regular season by winning the inaugural New England Women and Men’s Athletic Conference championship, placing second in a field of twenty-nine at the New England Division III championships, and sending four athletes to the NCAA Division III national meet.

The team’s post-season accomplishments are no surprise in light of its undefeated regular season.

“Our outlook coming into this season was one of optimism. We thought we could be undefeated but that is so difficult in track and field as there are nineteen different events in each meet and anything can go wrong,” said head coach Halston W. Taylor.

The first meet of the season was the Engineer’s Cup on April 3, with MIT, Rochester Polytechnic Institute and Worcester Polytechnic Institute competing. Despite the many injuries plaguing the team, MIT won every running event except the 100 and the 200 and took the meet with a score of 110.5, more than doubling RPI’s 55. WPI placed last with 37.5 points.

MIT’s victory was sweetened when Nicholoas Michalakis ’01 qualified for NCAA Division III nationals in the javelin by throwing a 193-5.

Injuries were an even bigger concern at a quad meet in Bowdoin College on April 10; in fact, they forced MIT to rethink its strategy for the meet. The team focused on ensuring its strength in the distance events, which paid off, giving MIT 37 of a possible 44 points in those events.

The team “abandon[ed] the notion of having a meet where individuals could focus on going all out in their primary event...[and] set to work on how they could return to Cambridge still undefeated,” Taylor said.

The final regular meet of the season was a close home dual meet against Tufts University on April 17. The relatively healthy MIT squad defeated Tufts 156 to 128. In the long jump, Ravi V. Sastry G not only defeated the Tufts jumper but he qualified for NCAA Division III nationals as well.

MIT wins first NEWMAC tourney

MIT went into the NEWMAC championship meet on April 24 hopeful but not overconfident.

“We hoped to win the inaugural NEWMAC meet, but we knew Wheaton was a nationally competitive sprints a jumps squad, so our task would be difficult,” Taylor said.

In track and field, it is not the team as a whole which qualifies for the championship but its individual members.

“Individuals have to qualify by performing better than a standard set for that particular championship. How the qualified individuals do at the championship determines the team’s points and place,” Taylor said.

MIT won the meet with a score of 189, followed by Wheaton College (153), Springfield College (132), US Coast Guard Academy (96), and WPI (48).

“Given the scoring system, the final standings of 189 to 153 were pretty close. A 36 point difference in track and field can actually only be an 18 point swing,” Taylor said.

There were six event champions at NEWMACs: Christopher S. McGuire ’00, 10,000 meter run; Michalakis, javelin; Sean J. Montgomery ’01, 1500 meter run; Michael A. Parkins ’99, 3000 steeplechase; Leif Seed ’99, 400 intermediate hurdles; and Yuval Mazor ’02, Todd A. Rosenfield ’01, Neal P. Karchem ’99, and Seed, 1600 meter relay.

Honors continue past NEWMACs

Post-season success followed the team beyond its NEWMAC championship. The team placed second at the New England Division III championships, and Michalakis, Montgomery, Sastry, and Seed competed at NCAA Division III nationals, held the weekend of May 20 in Berea, Ohio.

Michalakis placed fifth in the javelin, Montgomery finished tenth in the 1500 meter run, Sastry finished fifteenth in the long jump, and Seed finished third in the 800 meter run. Seed and Michalakis earned All-American status with their finishes.

“We hoped to get some people to Nationals, but thought it might primarily be distance runners. The fact that we had a Javelin Thrower, Long Jumper, 800 runner, and 1500 runner make it was quite surprising,” Taylor said.

Daniel R. Feldman ’02, McGuire, and Parkins also qualified but were not accepted into the meet.

The following athletes made All-Conference in the New England Division III by finishing in the top three: Peter J. Bluvas ’01, decathlon; Sastry, long jump and 110 high hurdles; Montgomery, 1500 meter run; Feldman, 5000 meter run; Jordan M. Alperin ’02, high jump; Kalpak D. Kothari ’01, triple jump; and Yuval Mazor ’02, Todd A. Rosenfield ’01, Neal P. Karchem ’99, and Seed, 1600 meter relay.

Team has positive outlook for ’00

Although the team faced heavy losses due to graduation, a successful recruiting effort keeps Taylor positive about the team’s future.

“We have the best recruiting class we have ever had. We will still be weak in the sprints and in all throws except for the javelin, but we will probably be as strong as ever in the running events, and most definitely stronger in the jumping events. Overall, we should be a better team in 2000,” Taylor said.