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Track Women Stellar At NE Championships

By Martha Buckley

TEAM CO-CAPTAIN

After their strong third place finish at NEWMACs, the MIT women showed that they still have more to prove, becoming a force to be reckoned with at post-season championships. At the New England Division III Championships on May 3, stellar performances in distance races and field events kept MIT in the top six teams for much of the meet. The lack of relays hurt MIT in the end and the women finished a close ninth overall with 32 points, only six points less than Bowdoin, the fifth place team.

Scoring led by individuals

The top scorer of the meet was Catherine A. Tweedie ’04, who vaulted a solid 10’ 11.75” to win the event. The MIT distance crew pulled in two silver medals. Julia C. Espel ’05 ran a 11:09.35 to place second in the 3000m steeplechase, both a personal record (PR) and a new varsity record. Espel’s time in the steeplechase currently ranks her 10th in the nation. Martha W. Buckley ’04 ran her first 10,000m ever, placing second with a time of 37:27.84 and smashing the previous varsity record in the event by over two minutes. Buckley’s time in the 10K is currently 19th in the nation. Triple jumper Chinwe P. Nyenke ’04 rounded out the MIT scoring with her third place finish, a jump of 35’ 9.25”. At her first New England Division III Championship ever, Nancy J. Benedetti ’05 was undaunted by the tough competition. She ran an amazingly even race in the 10K, finishing with a time of 42:34.87, a PR by over 40 seconds.

Success at All-New England’s

At All-New England’s this past weekend, the MIT women broke into the Division I competition to place in several events. Espel was the top scorer of the meet. Despite the heat, Espel ran a strong race in the 3000m steeplechase to finish second with a time of 11:11.34. Buckley placed sixth in the 5000 m with a 17:39.42, which is both a personal record and a school record by over 20 seconds. Running her third 10,000m in a row, Benedetti demonstrated that it is possible to PR every meet. Benedetti ran a 6:40 last mile to smash the 42 minute barrier, finishing with a final time of 41:40.43. Benedetti’s time qualifies her to run yet another 10K at the ECAC Championships.

The next meet for the MIT women is the ECAC Championships to be held this Thursday and Friday at MIT. At the ECAC’s the MIT women will be trying to improve their times and marks for nationals, hoping to join Tweedie at Nationals. Tweedie is currently ranked seventh in the nation in the pole vault.