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Women’s Track Runs Through Div. III Championships

By Alisha Schor

It is a well-known fact among track coaches and experienced runners that racing has a huge learning curve associated with it. A beginning runner will improve in leaps and bounds as fitness plays catch-up with ability, until that athlete has reached his or her level of base talent. It must be, then, that this rule applies to infant track teams as a whole.

In only its sixth season, with a host of newly-hired event coaches and a three-year-old facility, the women’s indoor track team has produced six new varsity records and three new rookie records. This does not take into account the number of times a varsity record has been rewritten within this season and also does not applaud the countless top ten all-time performances that have been recorded. “If you look at the record board, the oldest one is from 1999. The records are going to keep getting broken,” co-captain Martha W. Buckley ’04 said.

A large part of the huge improvements are due to a growing roster as well as a growing commitment to the sport. “Physically and as a team, we are definitely much stronger than last year. I think we are finally moving out of the ‘young, growing team’ stage. Besides strong leadership by our seniors, we have a dedicated junior class who [has] been out there every day for the past three years,” Elizabeth R. Walker ’06 said.

Last Saturday’s New England Division III championships (hosted by MIT) produced two new varsity records, courtesy of the freshman-senior duo that has repeatedly attacked the performance lists all season. Buckley’s 17:35.93 in the five kilometer race was also a personal record, both indoor and outdoor, and Andrea Staid ’07 redefined the 600 meter record she achieved last week, running a 1:40.89. Both Staid and Buckley’s performances garnered them third place standings at the meet.

Athletes from the field events also contributing to the Engineers’ point total on Saturday. Co-captain Catherine A. Tweedie G took victory in the pole vault with a height of eleven feet while a pair of horizontal jumpers broke into the top eight in their respective events as well. Chinwe P. Nyenke ’04 took fifth in the triple jump (35’ .25”), and Nalini Gupta ’05 leaped to seventh place with 16’ 8”. These performances contributed to Tech Track’s 31 point total, enough to give them the tenth place finish that was predicted for them on paper. “Before the meet, we estimated 31 points from the rankings and we scored exactly 31, so we matched our seed,” Head Coach Paul Slovenski said.

Several non-MIT performances highlighted the meet as well. Carter Hamill of Amherst College earned a new meet record in the 5k, finishing nearly 40 seconds ahead of the second place finisher in 16:40.58. Hamill is currently the NCAA Division III leader in that event, having run a 16:32 earlier in the season.

Jessica Trombley of Tufts won two thrilling battles during the meet, first squeaking out a 0.12 second win in the 800 meters (2:15.58, a meet record), and later anchoring Tufts’s 4x400 meter relay to a 3:59.56, bettering Amherst’s second place time of 4:01.33. Both performances were among the 15 Johnson Athletic Center records set on Saturday of 20 events contested.

Next Saturday, individuals and relays that have made the qualifying standards will compete at Boston University for the All-New England Championships.