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The MIT men’s and women’s cross country teams finished 12th and sixth, respectively, in the All-New England Championships this past Saturday. The less-than-ideal hot, humid, and dusty race conditions led to slower times than usual, but both teams posted solid performances on their home course at Franklin Park. In particular, the Tech women recorded the Institute’s highest-ever finish at this championship amid a field of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I, II, and III teams.

The women raced first, placing sixth overall even without a contribution from Kathryn A. Gordon ’11, who pulled out of the race with an injury. Led by Maria J. Monks ’10, who placed 23rd in the five-kilometer race with a time of 18:56, the women beat the nationally-ranked Bowdoin College, Middlebury College, and Keene State College teams. Amherst College and Williams College — both ranked in the top five in the country — were the only Division III teams to finish ahead of Tech.

Coming in 23 seconds and 27 places after Monks was Jacqueline M. Wentz ’10, closely followed by Jennifer A. Doyle ’09, with times of 19:23 and 19:24, respectively. Elizabeth M. Finn ’09 was right behind, placing 64th with a time of 19 minutes and 35 seconds. Rounding out the scoring for women’s varsity was Elizabeth L. Labuz ’09 with a time of 20:02, good for 101st place.

The men took to the course next for their eight-kilometer race. The men’s team also suffered some casualties during the race: top runner Jacob J. Ruzevick ’09 pulled out of the race because of illness. With Ruzevick out, Jeremiah R. Cohen ’09 stepped up to lead the team with a time of 26 minutes even, good enough for a 35th place finish. After Cohen, M. Brian Jacokes ’08, Joseph D. Roy-Mayhew ’08, and Christopher M. Bruce ’08 all finished within nine seconds of each other in 80th, 83rd, and 95th place, respectively. Trevor B. Rundell ’09 was the final scorer for the men in 118th place, with a time of 27:07. The men ended up in 12th place overall and fourth place among Division III teams.

On another encouraging note, MIT’s runners finished third in the sub-varsity race. Gihan S. Amarasiriwardena ’11 led the team with an eighth-place finish in 26:12, which was the second-fastest MIT time of the day. He was followed by Jack H. Bourbonnais ’10 and Kevin G. Kleinguetl ’11, who also ran great times of 26:33 and 26:43.

Given these results, both teams will be in the running for the top places at the NCAA New England Regional Championship in five weeks. They will also contend for bids to the National Championship. The MIT harriers will travel to Williams College on Saturday to race in the Plansky Invitational, a short tune-up race leading into the upcoming New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference and NCAA Regional Championships.