MIT Women’s Track Shocks Competition
Team Performs Well At ChampionshipsBy Deborah S. Won
At the New England Division III Championships, MIT surprised the competition. The Engineers were seeded to score zero points in the relays, but they awed opponents on the track with a victory in the 4x200 meter relay. Along with a relay victory and superb individual finishes, MIT took fifth place out of 30 New England schools.
Both the 1600 meter and distance medley relays contributed significantly to the whopping seventeen points MIT gained from sprint relays. The distance medley team came within a second of qualifying provisionally for the Div III NCAA’s.
Meanwhile, the 4x200m relay handed the other teams one of the biggest upsets of the day. Seeded at 10th place, Regina Sam ’02, Afua Banful ’03, Chi-An Wang ’03, and Alyssa Thorvaldsen ’01 had to run in the 2nd slowest heat. MIT not only won their heat but ran a fast enough time to have placed 3rd overall. However, the top two finishers (Tufts and Wheaton) were disqualified, thus giving Tech an amazing victory.
The delightful surprises and incredible Tech performances did not end there. In the 400m, Sam moved up from her 9th place seed to a scoring 5th place by again improving her personal record and setting a daunting school record. Robin Evans won the 1st heat of the 1000m with a time that beat several competitors in the 2nd heat. She scored points and broke the school record. Chi-An Wang also broke her own school record in and qualified for ECAC’s in the 600m.
Princess Imoukhuede’s final weight throw attempt hurled her from 7th place into the lead until Bates’ top thrower bumped her to 2nd place. Tech’s vaulters, Stephanie Norris ’02 and Vanessa Li ’02, took 1st and 2nd places, respectively, with 10 foot jumps.
The team feared Alyssa Thorvaldsen might not make it to the meet after her flight from New Jersey to Boston was cancelled on Friday evening. After a long, dreadful night of finding her way from New Jersey, she arrived via Coach-turned-chauffeur-for-the-night Sean Garrett’s truck to her teammates on Saturday just at the start of the meet. Already a hero in the eyes of her teammates, Thorvaldsen showed her heroism again, still performing well in her individual events and again ruthlessly reeling in opponents during the anchor legs of the 800m and 1600m relays.
The meet remained exciting down to the last second -- Theresa Burianek finished off the team’s successes as she toughed out the pentathlon 800m to hold on to 8th place in the pentathlon, edging out a Colby competitor from scoring and taking away Colby’s opportunity to tie for 5th overall.
MIT is extremely proud to see their young program continue improving, moving up four places from last year’s finish. Tech is right in the thick of things with other high-caliber N.E. Div III teams. Says Coach Paul Slovenski, “You know what I’d change about that meet? -- Nothing.”