Gatowski and Arumugam Lead Engineer's to Victory

September 12, 2009

MIT's women's cross country team led off the intercollegiate season for the Engineers in the appropriately named Engineer's Cup, hosted by RPI at Saratoga Springs State Park. MIT entered the meet with only six of their 21 runners, racing only those who did not race last weekend with the exception of Katy Gordon '11. Nevertheless, the Engineers patiently followed the game plan to win convincingly with a score os 22 to RPI's 40 and WPI's 69.

Marie Ferro, a freshman from RPI, took out the pace pretty hard, leading a trio of MIT runners as well as a few of her teammates through the mile in 6:02. Tania Morimoto '12, went after Ferro, while Alina Gatowski '11, and Gordon, were holding position.

At mile two, Morimoto had taken a slight lead with a 6:05 split while Gatowski had closed the gap to within six seconds and Gordon had fallen back a bit. Chandler Burfield '13 and Alex Westbrook '13 started to close on the RPI trailing runners and were only 20 seconds behind Gordon. Alicia Kaestli '12, trailed her teammates by four seconds.

Gatowski made an incredible surge in the final mile, taking over the lead to win by 18 seconds in a final time of 18:36 for the hilly three mile race. Morimoto held on to outkick Ferro, and Burfield closed in a 6:23 to claim fifth place, just six seconds ahead of Gordon in sixth. Westbrook finished in eighth and Kaestli ninth.

The men took to the wet course next. Also running only those who did not race last weekend, the Tech man nevertheless had a strong group of runners. Not having lost the meet since 1990, Tech was not about to lose now. With a great final two miles the Engineers pulled out a 25 to 39 victory over RPI with WPI coming in with 66 points.

At the mile mark the MIT harriers were a little surprised to be trailing RPI. The first mile was in 5:17 with two RPI runners and Hemu Arumugam '11, Paul Welle '11, and Bill Phipps '10, representing MIT in the lead pack. The next pack of MIT runners were behind a large group of RPI runners, who looked very comfortable with the pace.

Nothing really changed until the third mile when Phipps began to fall back. There was now only one RPI runner doing battle with Arumugam and Welle with one WPI runner closing on Phipps. RPI was winning the race at this point and looked quite strong due to their three through six runners still ahead of MIT's fourth runner.

Mile four saw a surge by Ben Mattocks '12, and Stephen Serene '12 and a recovery by Phipps. Arumugam and Welle were doing battle with the RPI runner with no one able to break the other. At the end of mile four MIT was now up 32 to 36.

Arumugam pulled away at the finish to win in 26:43, a fine time at this time of year on such a challenging course. Welle held onto third place in 27:02 and Phipps finished in fifth place in 27:13. Mattocks continued to move up, claiming seventh place in 27:24 with Serene close behind in ninth at 27:35. Freshman Dawit Zewdie had an excellent final two miles to place 16th in 27:51.

Next week, MIT will run nearly everyone on their team in the UMass Dartmouth Invitational. This should provide the Engineers with a better picture of where they stand in the New England Region as many of the top teams are expected to run in the meet.