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men’s, women’s tennis ranked highest ever nationally

By Roger Crosley


The men’s and women’s tennis teams achieved unprecedented success in the spring as each team achieved its highest national ranking ever. Each team qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament with the men’s squad advancing to the quarterfinals and the women’s team losing in the first round of the regionals. The men’s team finished sixth in the nation in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III rankings while the women earned the 18th spot.

Eric Chen ’00 led the men’s squad, advancing to the quarterfinals of the individual singles championships to earn All-America status. Additionally, Chen was named the national winner of the Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award given by the ITA. Later in the summer, Chen was named the recipient of a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

The women were led by Mealani Nakamura ’00. Nakamura qualified for the NCAA Division III championship singles and doubles tournament. In the singles tournament Nakamura dropped a decision to the eventual national champion, and in the doubles, Nakamura and partner Kelly Koskelin ’02 were eliminated by the eventual national titlists. Nakamura was named the East Region Senior Player of the Year and was also selected as the East Region recipient of the Ashe Award for women. Nakamura’s ranking of number 18 in Division III singles earned her All-America honors from the ITA.

Tennis wasn’t the only sport in which MIT athletes achieved success in the spring. The track and field teams each fielded All-America performers, as did the sailing teams. Alyssa Thorvaldsen ’00 became MIT’s first All-America performer in women’s track and field when she placed sixth in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA championships. On the men’s side, Chris McGuire ’00 ran to a fifth place finish in the 10,000 meters at the Division III championships. The native of Golden, Co., covered the distance in 30:41.98.

All-Americans aplenty for sailing

In sailing, four MIT students achieved All-America status. On the women’s side, Jessica Lackey ’00 was a selection for the second consecutive year. The co-ed varsity team produced three All-Americas. Sean Fabre ’00, Madhulika Jain ’00, and Alan Sun ’00 were each honored by the Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Association. Jain was honored for her contributions as a crew member.

Three MIT spring sports athletes were named to the GTE College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America teams. In addition to Chen, baseball player Kevin McKenney ’00 was a second team choice for his sport, and lacrosse goalie Justin Verdirame ’00 was a second team selection in the spring At-Large team.

Football player Nikolas Kozy ’00 of Pittsburgh, Pa, was recently named the recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Baseball player Jason Szuminski ’00 was drafted in the 27th round of the recent Major League Baseball draft by the Chicago Cubs. Szuminski was the 793rd pick and is currently pitching for the Cubs team in Mesa, of the Arizona Rookie League. Through games of August 21st, Szuminski leads the team in innings pitched with 41 with an earned run average of 2.43. He has given up 39 hits, struck out 31 and walked only 13. Szuminski is only the second player in MIT baseball history to be drafted.

The men’s gymnastics team finished fourth in the nation in overall grade point average. The Engineers’ 3.356/4.000 ranked only behind those of Iowa, William & Mary, and the University of Massachusetts in rankings by the College Gymnastics Association.

Men’s lacrosse Coach Walter Alessi has been named Coach of the Year by both the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference and the Pilgrim Lacrosse League. Alessi led the Engineers to an 8-4 record. It is his sixth Coach of the Year honor in the Pilgrim league in the past 12 years.