Men’s track and field team captures 11th straight title Competes in NCAA Division III National Championships, takes second place in New England

The MIT men’s and women’s track teams competed at the NCAA Division III National Championships in Delaware, Ohio two weekends ago. The men’s team, which captured its 11th straight conference title and finished second in New England, had three representatives: Kenneth B. Cooper ’13, Paul D. Welle ’11, and Vladimir Sobes ’11. Cooper was the first competitor for MIT in the hammer throw. Mother nature was not cooperative, however, as a lightning delay postponed the meet during Cooper’s flight. After returning to action, Cooper fouled on two of his attempts, and his third was not enough to qualify for the final. He finished in 17th place with a throw of 176-00 feet.

Welle was next up, running in the steeplechase. Welle, who came into the meet as the 16th seed in the event, finished in 10th place with a time of 9 minutes, 17.38 seconds, missing out on All-America honors by just under 11 seconds.

Sobes finished for the team on javelin. He failed to repeat his All-American showing from last year’s championship: after fouls on two of his attempts, Sobes finally came up with a 192-08 foot effort, good enough for 11th place.

The women’s team, seeking to add to their most successful year in program history, earned a fourth-place finish, their third straight top-four finish at nationals. The Cardinal and Gray collected 14 All-America nods and finished with 45 team points. They also won the Deb Vercauteren National Program of the Year award, given to the team that registers the best combined finishes at the NCAA Cross Countr and, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Portia M. Jones ’12 led the way for Tech, landing on the All-America podium four times and accounting for 16.5 points for the team during the championship. Jones was the national runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles after running the fastest time in the qualifying heats. Amy R. Magnuson G joined Jones on the awards stand, taking fourth place in the event with time of 14.64.

Jones also finished third in the 200 meters with a time of 24.91, just five-hundredths of a second behind second place. The junior competed in the 100-meter dash as well, but was unable to qualify for the final after running a 12.45 in the preliminary rounds.

Jamie L. Simmons ’12 earned All-America honors in the 400 intermediate hurdles for the second year in a row. Simmons’ time of 1:00.65 was good for fourth overall. Simmons was also entered in the 400 but did not advance to the final.

Tech picked up two more All-America nods in the pole vault, as Karin E. Fisher ’11 and Lauren B. Kuntz ’13 placed third and fourth, respectively. Fisher was one of just three vaulters in the country to clear 13 feet, as her final vault of 13-3.00 feet was enough to place third. Kuntz went over the bar at 12-7.25 feet to pick up five points for the Engineers. Hazel L. Briner ’11 just missed out on the All-America level, placing in a tie for 10th.

MIT also had strong entries in the two relay events, particularly its 4x400 group, which came into the meet with the second-fastest time in Division III. After beating the top squad from Wartburg in the prelims, Jones, Simmons, Jacqueline A. Brew ’14, and Martha M. Gross ’12 were unable to improve their time in the finals, settling for third place with a time of 3:45.93.

The 4x100 relay was able to significantly improve its standing, as the group wound up in fifth place after coming into the meet as the 13th seed overall. Brew, Gross, and Simmons completed the first three legs before handing off to Jones, who brought the team home in 47.12 seconds.

Also competing for the Cardinal and Gray in a pair of distance events was Anna M. Holt-Gosselin ’11. The senior was 19th in the 5000 (18:22.66) and took 18th in the 10 kilometers.

MIT combined this week’s fourth-place finish with third-place results during the cross country and indoor seasons.