Teams race to top-five finishes at local meet
The men’s and women’s cross country teams took on regional competition from all three NCAA divisions at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational and capped a solid weekend with a pair of top-five finishes overall and strong individual races.
Both squads sent seven runners to North Dartmouth, Mass. for the meets, where the men placed third out of 34 sides and the women took home a fifth-place finish out of the 38 competing teams.
Seven out of the eight racers for the men placed within the top 50 competitors, and three placed within the top-25—out of 255 overall—and the team averaged a 25 minute, 59.67 second finish in the eight-kilometer race.
“Cross country is an individual sport, but it’s just as much a team sport as well. We ran together; our pack was phenomenal,” said Liam Garvey ’18.
“It comes down to the team in the long run. We had some individuals who did well, but at the end it was the team who did really well.”
The men’s third-place finish was the squad’s best finish since the 2011 campaign when the squad took second overall.
The Brandeis squad was led by Jarret Harrigan ’15, who covered the course in 25:26.66, good for an 11th-place finish, and finished with 105 points, just five behind the second-place runner from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Harrigan was six seconds behind a top-10 finish but only one second off the average mile of the 10th place finisher and finished a full 55 seconds faster than he did at last year’s race.
Harrigan’s 11th place finish was a 10-place improvement on his result from last year.
“Jarret is one of the team’s best leaders,” remarked Garvey. “He leads by example.
“He’s probably our best guy out there and up there with the pack, but in practice he’s giving us pointers, it’s great to have someone like him on the team.”
Quinton Hoey ’17 placed 15th overall with a time of 25:46.72, nearly half a minute faster than he ran last year and a seven-place improvement, while Ryan Stender ’18 closely followed him at the 25:49.85 mark to grab 19th place.
Matt Doran ’17 continued his season with a 27th place finish in 25:58.65, while Grady Ward ’16 took 33rd place in 26:06.44.
Garvey rounded out the Judges in the top-50 with a 47th place finish, stopping the timer at 26:20.90.
Brian Sheppard ’18 crossed the finish line at the 27:08.84 mark, giving him a 78th place finish.
Garvey said he was happy with his race and remarked that the adjustment to the longer eight kilomter race takes time.
“In high school, we race [five kilometer races], and it is a big adjustment because you’re adding almost two miles to the race, but I think as freshmen we’re handling it pretty well,” Garvey explained.
Ward set a personal record in the five-mile run on Saturday, shaving nearly 20 seconds off his previous best time.
Greg Bray ’15 won the men’s sub-varsity race in 26:20.50, more than two seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
The women’s squad raced to a fifth place finish and placed third overall of all competing Division III schools at the meet.
The squad finished the meet with 180 points, 37 points behind third-place Connecticut College and 14 behind College of the Holy Cross, the highest-finishing Division I school at the meet.
Maddie Dolins ’17 improved on her result from last year with a fourth-place finish of 18:03.10. Dolins shaved nearly 30 seconds off her time from last year and jumped one spot from last year’s race.
Kelsey Whitaker ’16 placed 23rd overall out of the 272 competitors with a time of 18:52.42.
Both Whitaker and Dolins set course personal records with their sub-19 minute finishes.
Lydia McCaleb ’17 set a personal record in the five-kilometer race with a finish of 19:18.49, good for 37th place.
Ashley Piccirillo-Horan ’17 ran a 19:36.47 for a 53rd place finish, and Kyra Shreeve ’18 rounded out the sub-20 minute racers with a 63rd-place finish in 19:41.85.
Molly Paris ’16 and Maggie Hensel ’16 rounded out the Judges’ competitors with 110th and 138th places, respectively.
“I think I speak for the team as a whole when I say we are excited [from] the performance [on Saturday],” Garvey said.
“We ran really well and we are excited for the rest of the season to come,” he continued.
Garvey said he thinks the weekend's performance bodes well for the rest of the season.
“I think that we’re cautiously optimistic for the rest of the season,” Garvey said.
“Getting in the top-10 in New England is a possibility, it is a very competitive region—arguably the best in the country—but I think we have a shot.”
Both squads return to action on Oct. 4, traveling to the Keene State Invitational in Keene, NH.