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MIT X-Country Takes Fourth at UMass Race, Third at Home Meet

By Martha W. Buckley

TEAM MEMBER

“Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity,” said Michael Johnson of racing. The MIT Women’s Cross-Country team has taken this motto to heart.

After earning their first-ever top ten ranking in the New England Division III coaches’ poll last week as a result of their fourth place finish in the UMass-Dartmouth Cross Country Invitational, the MIT women stood up to the pressure once again this weekend to finish third out of fourteen teams at the MIT Harrier Classic at Franklin Park. The Greater Boston Track Club won the meet with a score of 48 points and NEWMAC conference rival Wheaton College placed second with 74 points. MIT remained in striking distance of Wheaton, finishing with a score of 90 points.

MIT’s finish at the meet was particularly impressive because MIT was missing Alisha R. Schor ’07, who has consistently been MIT’s number three runner. Rather than being discouraged that the team was missing one of its runners, the MIT women all stepped up to the challenge.

Martha W. Buckley ’04 and Julia C. Espel ’05 led the Tech runners, placing fifth (19:03) and 14th (19:40), respectively, out of 155 runners.

Coming back from an IT-band injury, Karen L. Condon ’07 packed it up with Veronica A. Andrews ’05 to finish in 20:26 and 20:30, respectively. Rounding out the top eight were the pack of Karen A. Kinnaman ’06, Jen A. Gaugler ’05, Betsy R. Eames ’06, and Hilary V. Dyer ’07. Condon’s time (20:26) was a 34-second personal record, Gaugler’s time (20:48) was a 24-second personal record, and Dyer’s time (21:05) was a personal record by over one minute. Also setting personal records on the Franklin Park course were Andrea J. Dooley ’06, Elizabeth R. Walker ’06, Katrien Brak ’05, Jessica A. Thompson ’07, Becky L. Idell ’07, Heather M. Philips ’07, and Somin Lee ’07.

As impressive as the race results were, the commitment that the MIT women show off the race course is the most defining aspect of the team. Every Sunday the MIT women go on long runs, ranging from eight miles to Nancy J. Benedetti’s amazing fifteen milers.

Coach Slovenski wrote of the team’s commitment, “Our co-captain Katie Huffman ’04, who has been struggling with a knee injury since the beginning of the season, is a primary example of the MITy [pronounced mighty] commitment of this team. She has been going to physical therapy sessions several times a week and doing pool and elliptical workouts, often by herself, but despite all this, she still stops by practice to see the team every day. Now that is dedication.”

MIT’s goals for the season are to win the NEWMAC championships, which are expected to be hotly contested among MIT, reigning champion Wellesley College, and Wheaton College, and to take a top ten spot at the national qualifiers.

Condon expressed her enthusiasm for the team’s prospects this season, “I’m really excited to see what we can do when we have all of our top seven running. Wheaton and Wellesley better watch out!”

The MIT women’s next meet is the All New England Championships on Friday, Oct. 10, at Franklin Park. At the meet, the MIT women will face Division I, II, and III teams from the entire region.