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Harrier’s ‘Pack Attack’ Pays Off at NEWMACs

By Deborah S. Won

The women’s cross country team ended its regular season by placing fourth in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference championships last Saturday.

The Beavers’ 90 points put them behind Wellesley College (60), Springfield College (72), and Mt. Holyoke (76). MIT has been in close contention with Wellesley and Mt. Holyoke in several meets throughout the season, and both opponents have often received votes for NE Division III top 10 rankings while Springfield has consistently been ranked in the top 10.

With a delta of 49 seconds between MIT’s second and sixth runners and just over a minute between the second and seventh, MIT made another brilliant showing with their “pack attack” by getting their top seven in before Wellesley and Springfield’s 7th runner and one place behind Mt. Holyoke’s 7th runner. Attack is exactly what all of MIT’s runners did on Mt. Holyoke’s flat out-and-back course.

Unable to keep up with Springfield’s leader’s surge at the 1-mile mark, but still maintaning a close race with the winner, Deborah S. Won ’00 placed 2nd in a time of 17:51. Returning from sickness and a month without racing, Marissa Yates ’03 flew through the 3.1-mile course for a 12th place finish in 19:27. With another sub-20, Patricia M. McAndrew ’03 (21st place) finished in 19:50.

Melanie L. Harris ’01 (26th), who had dealt with injuries earlier in the season, showed no signs of being out of the loop and finished a very evenly-paced race in 20:10. Pushed by Harris coming from behind toward the end of the race, Margaret F. Nervegna ’01 (29th) ran her best race ever for an excellent time of 20:14. Just two seconds behind, Crystal A. Russell ’03 (30th) joined her other freshmen teammates and classmates in running a superb race.

Rounding out MIT’s top seven, Jantrue Ting ’00 finished with a beautiful kick that gained her 20 meters on the opponent in front of her in the home stretch to finish with a time of 20:30.

Not only did their top seven finish in front of two of the opposing teams’ number one runner and in front of two other teams’ 2nd runner, the mighty MIT harriers proved that they can keep up with the pace of the dramatic increase in quality of competition over the past years in their conference as well as throughout New England.

MIT is excited about the youth and depth of this high caliber team for future years, and is looking forward to more outstanding performances at NE Division III Regionals (national qualifiers) in two weeks at UMass-Dartmouth.