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Women’s XC Places Well at Dartmouth

By Deborah S. Won

TESTThe women’s cross country team continued its early season success by placing 7th out of 35 teams, 21 of which fielded a full scoring team, at the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational last Saturday. Each team was allowed up to 8 entries in the varsity race, and all other entrants competed in the open race, in which six Engineers represented MIT.

MIT’s varsity competitors lined up at the start for a very competitive race against many strong cross-country teams, including top New England Division III schools Colby College, Springfield College, and Wellesley College, as well as some Division II schools.

With the excitement of a large, competitive field, as well as the anticipation of a quickly narrowing path at the start, the race began with a sprint for the first 100 meters. MIT’s pack got caught slightly farther back in the crowd of runners than expected, but their first mile split was right where they wanted it to be. They fearlessly pressed on to pick off opponents for the remainder of the race-most notably moving up in place was Crystal A. Russell ’03, who passed over 20 runners after the first mile. The others in this powerful group include Marissa L. Yates ’03, Margaret F. Nervegna ’01, Jantrue Ting ’00, and Aimee R. Ginley ’03. Meanwhile, Deborah S. Won ’00 stayed with the lead group for the first mile and broke away during mile 2 to keep up with a Springfield rival. However, she was unable to catch her opponent and finished 7 seconds behind the winner for a 2nd place finish with a new personal record of 17:39.

Runners finish together

The Engineers took advantage of the very flat course and great competition to run fast races, and for some, the fastest races of their lives. Yates not only finished as the first freshman among the 158 finishers, she cut an amazing 45 seconds of her previous personal record to run a 19:22 and finish 15th overall. Tech runners once again finished with a formidable pack which included Russell, Nervegna, Ting, and Ginley all finishing within 21 seconds of each other at 20:15, 20:18, 20:35, and 20:36, respectively. The 20:18 mark was a hard-fought and well-deserved personal record for Nervegna.

But even all these beautiful performances did not conclude all the excitement for MIT that day. Molly Jones annihilated her goal of sub-24 to run a 22:32, well over a minute off her previous personal record.

The team’s total score of 139 put MIT just 8 points behind Wellesley, although their average time was a second faster, despite not having one of its top runners, Patricia M. McAndrew ’03, due to injury. To have their top 6 runners, not including a few currently injured runners, all in the mid-20s or faster is an indication of a very strong team. The hard training and dedication of the Tech harriers is already paying off and is not about to stop.

Junior varsity team performs well

Even with some setbacks in the past few weeks due to back spasms, Leah G. Nichols ’00 led MIT’s JV team with a time of 21:57, while Kimberly J. Seluga ’02 came in at 22:47. Chi-An Wang ’01 and Alison R. Wood ’01 worked nicely together throughout the race to finish in 23:41 and 23:43, respectively. Showing great determination, especially in the last mile, Farheen Quadir G completed her first race of the season in 24:57. In her first cross-country meet ever, Jean M. Barnwell ’03 crossed the line at 26:48.

They will be competing at the Codfish Bowl at Tufts University on Saturday.