CANTON, N.Y. -- MIT junior Cimran Virdi highlighted the opening day of the 2015 Division III championship at St. Lawrence by capturing the pole vault – her first outdoor individual championship. Virdi's strong effort helped the fifth-ranked Engineers conclude the initial day of competition in first place with 15 points.

For the second time in two months, Virdi and Westminster junior Marissa Kalsey competed for the pole vault crown -- the most recent time they met was during the indoor national championship in March. Both student-athletes kept pace with one another throughout the early progressions before Virdi secured the crown by recording a clear of 13-07.25, roughly three-to-four inches higher than Kalsey's second-place clear.

With Thursday's inidvidual championship victory, Virdi has now capture a trio of pole vault crowns, inclduing a pair in back-to-back indoor seasons. Her first indoor pole vault championship occured during the 2013-14 season. Virdi won the crown this past winter and established a Division III record in the event when she recorded a clear of 14-0 during the New England Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championship in April. 

Senior Abigail Klein recorded an 11th-place performance in the pole vault with a clear of 12-01.50. Klein's clear matched her career- and season-best performance from the Sean Collier Invitational in April.

Sophomore Maryann Gong clinched a spot in the 1,500m finals on Saturday by finishing second in the preliminaries with a time of 4 minutes, 36.87 seconds. Gong, who won her heat, secured a spot in the championship race by clocking a final leg of 1:07.124.

Senior Elaine McVay recorded a fourth-place performance in the 10,000m final with a season-best time of 36:00.69, while junior Nicole Zeinstra finished 16th with a time of 37:17.96. Senior Veronica Szklarzewski competed in the long jump and placed 16th with a leap of 17-06.00.

Next up, senior Ashley Wheeler and sophomore Jackie Vahey will represent MIT in the hammer throw on 3 p.m. Friday.