CAMBRIDGE, MA- Amidst the stress of finals, a group of Ephs took a break from Sawyer Library and traveled to Cambridge for the MIT Final Qualifier. All marks in contention for nationals qualification are due tonight, making this the last chance for athletes on the bubble to solidify their position in the top 22 in NCAA Division III and punch their ticket to the National Championship in La Crosse, Wisconsin on May 24-26.
Starting the day off for the Ephs, first-year Izabelle Ith raced to a 3rd place finish in the 100 meter hurdles. She ran a time of 15.04 seconds in the preliminary round and bettered that time with a speedy 14.94 seconds in the final. She currently sits in 22nd place on the national performance list and must await the rest of the results to trickle in from across the country to know whether her spot is secure. She is in the same position in the long jump. This evening, she jumped 5.59 meters for 3rd place. This mark approached her early-season outdoor best jump of 5.67 meters, with which she is currently ranked 24th. After declarations come out, the first-year will know whether she will be heading to La Crosse next week. Either way, she has had an incredible first year competing in the Williams singlet and looks forward to 3 more.
Junior Kennedy Green won the preliminary heats in the 100 meter dash, running 12.27 seconds into a headwind to advance to the final. She placed 2nd there, crossing the line in 12.30 seconds. Green also must play the waiting game, tied for 20th. She has raced to personal best after personal best this season and hopes to continue that trend in La Crosse.
Sophomore Anna Passannante had an outdoor personal best in the 800 meter run. The sophomore faced strong competition from MIT and Brandeis athletes and crossed the line in 3rd place. Her 2:12.32 sits in 17th on the national performance list. Senior Kate Kennedy also had a personal best, cutting half of a second off her previous time of 1:01.65. This evening, Kennedy was alone out in front, sprinting to a 1:01.15 in the 400 hurdles. That mark ranks her 7th in Division III. She is approaching the school record of 1:00.76 set in 1989 and hopes to hit that time in La Crosse.
Senior Emily Sundquist also won her event, crossing the line in 11:16.83 in the 3000 meter steeplechase. Sundquist is in a similar position to Green's and Ith's, ranked 21st on the national performance list. The senior has battled back from injury and adversity and has been a major asset to the Ephs on and off the track for the last 4 years. Hopefully, she will get another race as an Eph next Thursday. Junior Emily Harris placed 3rd with a stellar time of 11:24.29, cutting 8 seconds off her personal best. Harris has been steadily chipping away at her time all year, surpassing her personal record from last year by about 20 seconds, a ridiculous margin in a year's span.
Brianna Bourne is back. After facing sickness and injury earlier this year, the first-year came roaring back at the NEICAAA Championships last weekend, running 4:35.37 for a huge 3.5 second personal best. Bourne dropped another 3.5 seconds tonight, crossing the line in a superb 4:31.71. She vaulted from 31st to 12th on the national performance list and will most likely be heading to nationals. Senior Anna Harleen also achieving an astounding feat this evening. Working her way back from injury, the stalwart Harleen ran a gutsy race and crossed the line 20 seconds faster than she did last weekend. Her time of 4:42.22 is a testament to her hard work and dedication to her sport. This was the last race of her illustrious career, and the Ephs will surely miss Harleen next fall.
Summer-Solstice Thomas jumped for her life today—and enjoyed every moment of it. The sophomore has been battling with injury for the entirety of outdoor season. In fact, she has only jumped 3 times this season. Over the last two weeks, she jumped 1.59 meters and 1.60 meters. She knew she would need to jump about 7 centimeters higher to punch her ticket to La Crosse. It only took her one attempt to clear 1.67 meters, and the sophomore was not done. On her third attempt, she soared over 1.70 meters, securing her spot at the National Championship Meet next weekend. That leap ties her for 4th in the nation, just behind teammates Helene Hall '18 and Emma Egan '20.
The Ephs will wait for the declaration sheets to come out and hope their athletes on the bubble earn bids to La Crosse. That championship will take place from the 24th to the 26th.