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Women’s Track Breaks Records

By Alisha Schor

SPORTS COLUMNIST

The season may have changed, but the MIT women’s track team has not deviated from their record-setting ways. Continuing a trend that started during the indoor season, the lady Engineers have continued to update school bests.

With three meets of the season behind them, three records have been posted, all in field events. Nalini Gupta ’05 leaped 17' 8" at MIT’s only home meet of the season a week ago, and last Saturday, Chinwe P. Nyenke ’04 and Catherine A. Tweedie ’04 took down the triple jump and pole vault records, respectively. Additionally, Nyenke’s jump of 37' 7.75" and Tweedie’s 11' 10.5" vault made them provisional qualifiers for the NCAA Division III championship meet.

“It feels really good [to qualify]. I’ve been lifting a lot and practicing my short approach on the triple jump, and it’s working,” Nyenke said.

While the NCAA meet is not within reach for many of the Tech athletes, qualifying for various post-season meets is still prominent on many minds. The outdoor season is a relatively short one, with only four meets prior to the postseason.

“I think meets get me in the best shape, so it’s hard to not have many races,” Andrea Staid ’07 said.

Just starting to get into full swing, MIT traveled to Springfield for an unscored meet last Saturday. Although there was no official team tally, the day boasted a slew of personal bests as well as offering the Engineers some preview of what competition they will face next weekend at the NEWMAC conference championships.

“It was pretty exciting to see how well we did against Springfield. We got to sort of measure ourselves,” Co-captain Meredith N. Silberstein ’05 said. MIT showed off depth in the field event areas by taking places two through five in the long jump, as well as claiming second and third in the triple jump. The 4x400 meter relay team had an excellent showing, bringing the baton around in 4:18. Rachel M. Niehuus ’07 led off the event with a 61 second split.

“The 4x4 did great. It’s the fastest time our team has run in recent years, definitely since I’ve been here,” Silberstein said.

Individual performances of interest, other than the two NCAA provisional qualifiers, came from a duo of rookies. Kay D. Furman ’07 continued to close in on the rookie record for the hammer throw, slinging the weight 111' 3". A toss of 118 feet and change would have bettered the record had it not been deemed a foul by the official.

Coming off a stress fracture during the indoor season, Karen L. Condon ’07 turned in a stellar performance in the 5000 meters, taking the win in 19:06.6. Like Furman, Condon is chasing down numbers, just missing the ECAC qualifying mark of 19:05.24.

This smorgasbord of varying events that constitutes track and field may lead spectators to conclude falsely that meets are a display of solo talent. Next Saturday’s NEWMAC championships will dispel this myth as MIT strives for the team crown. With a legitimate chance at second place and a hope for the title, MIT will run its top four athletes in each event, trying to collect as many points as possible with each competition.

“I think we can place four in the long jump. Our sprints and distances are looking decent. We’ve got Kay [Furman] in the hammer throw, so hopefully we can get some throws points,” Silberstein said.

The NEWMAC championships will take place at Springfield College, and following that meet, individual qualifiers will return there for New England Division III’s.