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Women's Track Raises the Roof At MIT Coed Track Invitational

By Deborah S. Won
Team member

At MIT's first coed indoor track invitational, with opponents from Williams, Coast Guard, Plattsburgh, and Bates, MIT's Lady Engineers took advantage of the nonscoring meet to qualify for post-regular season championships, set personal records, and give excellent individual performances on Saturday.

Lila French's '99 "roof-raising" pole vault of 10'6" is a prime example of the kinds of great feats that were accomplished. Accustomed to expending her energy in an overwhelming number of events from the long jump to the 1600m relay in order to score points for the team, French finally got her chance to concentrate more on her favorite event, undoubtedly aiding in vaulting her personal best as well as the all-time highest vault by a female MIT athlete. Indeed, much higher and she will be not only be "raising the roof," she'll be going through the roof!

Stephanie Norris '02 also had a spectacular vault of 10'3", setting MIT's rookie record. Norris has also been a consistent power-house in the pole vault. French and Norris now rank second and third in the division.

Alyssa Thorvaldsen '00 also does not cease to amaze teammates, competitors, and fans with her tremendous hurdling talent. She had no one to push her in the 55m to her 8.85s personal record as well as school varsity record, but using her impeccable form and technique and years of experience in the event, she dropped 0.17s off her former personal best, putting the NCAA provisional standard of 8.70s within reach and placing her fifth in the rankings

French surprised herself in the event with a very impressive race and time of 9.47s. Theresa Burianek '99 and Vanessa Li '02 ran strong in the hurdles with respective times of 9.88 and 10.19 seconds.

The 200m was loaded with season best performances. Elaine Chen '99 not only ran her fastest time this season, she set the varsity record at 27.92s, qualifying for the divisional championships. As usual, she had that deceptive appearance of ease in her powerful stride and with her arms forcefully pumping her to the finish line, Chen ran the excellent race she was aiming for.

Another one of Tech's stellar sprinters, Adeline Kuo '02, set the rookie record with another superb time of 28.01s. Deepa Patel '01 was only .07s off from breaking the 30 second mark, while Stephanie Hong G ran a 30.78 and Tanisha Lloyd '99, in only her second performance of the season, came through at 31.54s. Mealani Nakamura '00 stayed strong throughout the race and got her ti me down to 31.70.

In the 400m, Kay Sullivan '02 not only comfortably met qualifying standards with a 63.77 and breaking the rookie record, she won the race with a sizeable margin, ruthlessly leaving the Williams contender in her wake. Despite the lack of competition in her heat, Hong pushed herself to a solid 400m time of 69.04s.

There was no stopping Milena Yamaykin this time from breaking the 1:47.74 qualifying standard in the 600m. With fierce determination from the start, she cranked out a 34.0s for the first 200m and kept the quick pace consistent for the middle lap. Gutting out the last third of the race, she finished in second place in 1:47.04. Lisa Scoppettuolo '02 had a solid race and knocked off a whopping 12 seconds off her former personal best, giving her a new personal best of 2:03.7.

Rose Radin '02 paced a nicely run 3000m, leading teammate Patricia Diaz '00 in her first attempt this season in the event. The pair worked together to fight off Williams' second runner for most of the race. Diaz showed the Williams runner who was boss by dramtically outkicking her in the last 200m to place second in a time of 11:32.98. Radin finished strongly in with a time 11:42.21. Diaz now has the experience and confidence of running the event to cut the mere three seconds needed to qualify for the divisional championships.

The 800m race was somewhat disappointing for Chi-An Wang '01, one of Tech's strongest 800m and mid-distance runners. The looks of her performance during training recently indicated she would have no problem qualifying for championships. However, the quick start of the race and stiffness from a recent tough workout both played a role in the fatigue in her legs in the second half of the race. Yet, she ran strong and finished in 2:34.80. Mia Heavener '00 persevered tofinish her first 800m race in a time of 3:16.11.

Melanie Harris '01 broke her own varsity record yet again in the 1000m. Although the race started out at a fast pace, Harris proved her toughness by holding on strong even in the last 400m of the race to come through the finish at 3:14.46. Diaz also started much faster than her desired pace, but still ran very well for her first attempt at the event, finishing not far from regional qualification with a time of 3:24.62.

Although focusing primarily on the 200m, Chen broke her own varsity record in the 55m dash with a time of 7.72s. Kuo sped through just behind Chen, falling just 0.01s shy of the regional qualification with a time of 7.75s. Thorvaldsen also ran remarkably fast, completing the dash in 7.92s. Yety Oke '02, in her MIT track and field debut, certainly did not run like a first-timer and ran an 8.51. Lloyd, Nakamura, and Eva Palmerton '99 ran respective times of 8.63, 8.65, and 11.11. Palmerton is back in action after almost a year of treatment and rehabilitation of a serious leg injury.

The Tech jumpers continue to show their strength as they leap and bound across great distances. Burianek came within less than two inches of the long jump varsity record by leaping to a mark of 15'1.75". Li, consistently a big force for Tech in the field, jumped 14'0.5" while Heavener and Lloyd had respective jumps of 13'1.5" and 12'10.5".

Nakamura had an exceptional day in her jumps. As Nakamura continues to improve and to dazzle teammates with her work ethic, she has demonstrated the fruitful results of dedication and practice. She cleared a height in the high jump for the first time and bounded a personal best in the triple. In her first track season ever, she is up to 3'8" in the high jump, and out to 28'2.5" in the triple jump as of Saturday.

Burianek continued to have a great day full of great performances, as she triple jumped 30'11", a mere inch short of qualifying for divisionals. Lee, another one of Tech's very valuable jumpers, triple jumped 29'8.75" and high jumped 4'8". French and Heavener jumped 29'4.75" and 27'5", respectively, in the triple.

Sullivan once again jumped higher than any one else for the day by clearing 4'10".

Princess Imoukhuede '02 set another school record in the weight throw with a spectacular mark of 41'0.75". Melissa Dullea '00 continues to improve significantly and on Saturday threw the 20 lb. weight a distance of of 32'2.5". Janine Buseman-Williams '01, Palmerton, and Rebecca Mays '02 had respective marks of 28'7.75", 26'4.0", and 25'04.0".

The five throwers again demonstrated their muscle power in the shot put. Imoukhuede hurled the shot out 36'3.0" while Buseman-Williams, Dullea, Mays and Palmerton also put the shot where it belonged, far from the circle 27'4.5", 26'8.25", 23'8.5", and 23'7.5" from the circle, to be exact. Heavener gave her debut in the event with a mark of 21'4.25".

MIT put together their first indoor distance medley relay team ever, setting a new record of 15:03.67. Diaz, in her third distance event of the day, started the relay with six laps around the track, handing off to Hong, who ran the 400m leg. Scoppettuolo then carried the baton for 800m, and Radin finished off the relay with 1600m and pressed on to the finish despite side cramps.

Even without Tech's fastest 400m runner, the 4x400m relay team came just 0.14s off the school record. Chen, French, Kuo, and Sullivan each sped around the track twice in a total time of 4:20.94.

The 3200m relay team carried the torch and ended the meet on a high note. Without any opposing team to push them, they accomplished the goal they set out for by qualifying for regionals. One after the other, Wang, Yamaykin, Harris, and Won put their hearts into breaking the 10:10 mark, and set the varsity record at 10:09.53.

MIT's indoor track and field women continue to show proof of their excellent and dedicated coaching staff and of their hard work and determination. They will have one more opportunity this Saturday at the Smith College Invitational to compete and qualify before the divisional championships.