Men’s Track Victorious At N.E. ChampionshipsBy Chris S. McGuire
Friday and Saturday, the men’s track team placed first in the New England Championships taking their first championship since 1990. Bates College hosted the meet along with Bowdoin College. The final score of the meet was MIT 112 to Bowdoin 86 and Bates 83 points.
The meet started Friday with the pentathlon, the indoor equivalent of the more famous outdoor decathlon. The five events contested were the 55 meter high hurdles, long jump, shotput, high jump, and 1,000 meter run. MIT’s four athletes, Craig Meilcarz ’03, Rick Rajter ’03, Peter Bluvas, ’01, and Tony Pelosi ’01, had solid performances in all the events.
Notable performances were had by Mielcarz who showed his National Qualifying form by winning the high jump with a 6’6” jump; Bluvas won the shot put. Rajter showed what a tough guy he is by competing with a painful foot injury that would have kept most other athletes on the sidelines. Pelosi had a great 1,000 meter run, winning with a time of 2 minutes 42 seconds.When the final scores were tallied, Mielcarz won with 3,414 points, Rajter was second with 3,377 points, Bluvas was third with 3,239 points. The 1,000 meter performance by Pelosi moved him into a tie for sixth place. Mielcarz effort earned him MIT’s freshman record, and was only 31 points off of the meet record. When the points were tallied up, MIT was leading 24.5 to 2.5 for Bates and 0 for Bowdoin.
MIT competitors had some excellent performances on Saturday. All the track stars knew it was going to be a wild rumpus for the title all day Saturday. The meet began with the long jump, and Robbie Gray ’02 performed well with a 21’ 2” effort to place third. Next up was the first running events on the track, the 400 meter and 600 meter trials. MIT’’s excellent combo of long sprinters Yuval Mazor ’02 and Todd Rosenfield ’01 easily advanced into the finals.
Junius Ho ’01 has had a great year in the 55m hurdles, and hoped to cap it off with some points at the meet. However, a competitor failed to check in, which delayed the start of his race for over ten minutes, and this might have affected his performance. Junius still managed to run a respectable 8:24, but did not make the finals in his event.
The high jump went well for MIT, with Mielcarz and Brian Hoying ’03 scoring first and third respectively. That added another 16 points to Tech’s score.
The next event on the track was the 1,500 meter race. This featured National Qualifier Sean Montgomery ’01 and MIT’s Cross Country MVP Dan Feldman ’02. Both athletes were not seeded to score, but both managed strong performances, Montgomery came in 3rd with a national qualifying time of 3:56.30 and Feldman raced hard for sixth place with a time of 3:58.70, giving him the ninth fasted MIT time ever.
Following the 1,500 was the 400 meter and 600 meter finals. Both Mazor and Rosenfield took care of business, with Rosenfield coming in 4th with 50.30 second race, only seven-tenths of a second away from qualifying for nationals. Mazor ran an excellent 600m, coming in third to get six more points for MIT. His time of 1:23.79 was a personal best.
Sean Montgomery showed that he is one of the premier milers in New England by coming back from a fast 1,500 meters to take second in the 1,000 meters. In the pole vault, Dan Kwon ’02 tied for sixth place with a 13’ vault. Two other MIT pole vaulters, Dan Opila ’02 and Captain Matt Potts ’00, were right behind Kwon.
In the triple jump, New England Outdoor Champ Kalpak Kothari ’01 and freshman sensation Rajter added 12 more points to MIT’s score. Kothari came from way behind with a dramatic final jump of 44’2” to earn second place. Rajter was jumping with a badly injured ankle, and still managed to jump 43’10” for fourth.
The final two individual races on the track were the distance races: 3,000m and 5,000m. The 3,000m featured Feldman pumped from his fast 1,500m. Feldman ran a well paced race, once again showing his fierce final kick by running a 30 second last 200m for third place overall. The 5,000m featured freshman distance star Sean Nolan and Captain Chris McGuire ’00. McGuire ran one of his second best indoor time of his career has he came in second. Nolan did not score, but he will try for the freshman record in the 3,000m later this season.
MIT entered two relay teams in the meet, The first was the 4x400m relay consisting of Rosenfield, freshman Matt Lehman, Mazor, and Montgomery. Rosenfield ran a good first leg, giving Lehman the baton in 3rd place. Lehman advanced a place with a 50.9 second leg. Mazor had one of the most inspiring moments of the day as he passed the first place runner on the inside of the final curve. Monty was tired after his 1,500 and 1,000 races but still managed to hold on to the lead, and MIT won the race.
The second relay was the 3,200m relay. MIT showed its depth in this event by entering four fresh athletes. The lead off leg was George Hanson ’03, who finished off an excellent first year by running a 2:02.7 effort. Phil Loiselle ’01 held with the leaders in a 2:00.7 effort. John Biesiadecki ’01 went out hard to try to win the race, but faded a bit at the end for an overall fourth place finish.
The team loses only a few seniors, so the prospects for the future look bright.