The MIT women's cross country team came into Saturday's NCAA Division III New England Regional Championship ranked number four in the nation and tops in the region. Thanks to an impressive performance led by individual champion Jacqueline M. Wentz ’10 and third-place finisher, Maria J. Monks ’10, the Engineers justified those rankings and took home the Team Championship for the first time in program history. MIT and defending National Champion Middlebury finished with the same number of team points, 63, with their top five runners, but Brooke C. Johnson ’13 came through the chute just 2.1 seconds faster than Middlebury's number six, giving Tech the tiebreaker and the New England Championship.
Wentz was the first to complete the six-kilometer course, breaking the tape in 21:35.7. The senior easily eclipsed Debbie Won ’00’s Institute-best fifth-place finish at this Championship in 1998. Two weeks after earning NEWMAC Runner of the Year honors, Monks finished in third place with a time of 21:44.9. Alina E. Gatowski ’11 gave MIT a third harrier in the top 10, turning in a time of 22:05.4 to finish eighth. Katherine J. Eve ’12 (22:32.5) and Tania K. Morimoto ’12 (22:38.2) picked up key points with 24th and 27th place showings, respectively. But, it was Johnson's strong finish to beat out Erin Toner of Middlebury that wound up clinching the Championship for the Cardinal and Grey.
The Engineers automatically qualify for the NCAA Division III Championship, held next Saturday at Baldwin-Wallace College in Cleveland, Ohio. The women's Championship race begins at 11:00 a.m.