MIT edges women’s track at Div. IIIs

Div. III New England Championship held at Bowdoin this past weekend with a score of 118 points. They fell short of MIT’s achievement of 134 points, but edged out closest NESCAC rivals Tufts and Bowdoin. Several athletes beat provisional qualifications for nationals, among them co-captain Lauren Philbrook ’09.

Despite bus trouble on the way to the meet, the Ephs began the meet Friday in good spirits as Karyn Moss ’12 took fifth in the pentathlon. She scored second in both the high jump and the long jump events.

On Saturday, Hillary Higgs ’12 put on impressive performances in the championship’s first three events, tallying 20 points overall. Higgs placed seventh in the 55 meter dash, second in the 200 and first in the 400, and her time of 58.54 qualified her for nationals.

Sara Wild ’11 continued the team’s dominant trend by placing second in the 600. Elizabeth Danhakl ’11 and Nora Mitchell ’10 placed third and fifth, respectively, in the 800. Danhakl qualified for nationals in the 800 with a time of 2:16:38. Mitchell, who was also a key factor in the 4 by 800 and 4 by 200 relay, scored 20 points in the meet for the Ephs. “Quite a few of the girls qualified for nationals and won their races, and we were in really good spirits,” Assistant Coach Erica Clausen said.

Jessica Clarke ’10 and Olga Kondratjeva ’10 took third and fourth in the 1000 meter for the Ephs. Karin Knudson ’09 came in seventh in the mile. Next, Meghan Shea ’11 and Philbrook claimed fourth and fifth respectively for the Ephs in the 3000. Philbrook pulled off an impressive first place finish in the next event, the 5000 meters, with a time of 17:06.61 that automatically qualified her for nationals.

“It’s nice to not have the stress of having a provisional time and wondering if it will make it nationals, which is something I was a little worried about before,” Philbrook said.

Elise Johnson ’10 and Katie DuPre ’10 scored in the 55 meter hurdles, placing third and eighth respectively. Johnson qualified for nationals with a time of 8.53.

The Williams 4 by 200 meter relay team, composed of Johnson, Anne Kerth ’11, Emily Heaslip ’10 and Mitchell took second, edging out the next Tufts finisher by little over a second. The 4 by 400 meter relay team comprised of Wild, Kerth, Maya Harakawa ’12 and Heaslip crossed the finish line in fourth.

Clarke, Robin Kuntz ’09, Mitchell and Ariel Williams ’10 closed out the track events strongly and clinched first in the 4 by 800 for the women, edging out Bowdoin in a breathtaking finish. “It came down to relays in the end, really between us and Tufts. It was really close, really exciting to watch those relays,” Clausen said.

Indeed, the women’s distance medley relay helped realize the team’s accomplishment by earning second place. However, the Ephs faced a rough time in the field events: they did not score in the high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, shot put or weight throw.

The team will travel to BU on Friday and Saturday for the NEICAAA Div. I Championships.