CROSS COUNTRY: Runners place near the top at Regionals
This past weekend, the Brandeis men's and women's cross country teams traveled to Gorham, Maine to participate in the 2017 National Collegiate Athletic Association New England Regional Championships, hosted by the University of Southern Maine. It was a massive cross country meet, hosting over 50 schools from the New England area, and both the men’s and women’s teams ran very well, placing sixth and eighth, respectively.
The Judges finished sixth out of 56 schools at the competition, a three-place improvement on last year and the team’s best finish since 2010. As was often the case this season, captain Ryan Stender ’18 led the charge, placing sixth in the 8-kilometer race. This was the best finish by a Brandeisian since 2009. This finish qualified Stender for the chance to represent Brandeis in the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. Stender is riding the momentum of his last two meets and hungry to improve on his 37th place finish at the NCAA championships a year ago. Co-captain Mitchell Hutton ’18 placed 27th overall with a time of 26:05.1. This finish earned Hutton his second career All-Region honor, but was not an improvement on his 23rd-place finish at the event last year. Fellow senior and co-captain Liam Garvey ’18, running in his final cross country race in a Brandeis uniform, had his best race of the season. Garvey showed improvement in every Regionals in his Brandeis career. He placed 138th as a first-year, 78th as a sophomore, 47th last year as a junior and this weekend, he finished 38th with a time of 26:16.1. First-year Luke Ostrander ’21 finished an impressive 43rd at his first regional championship with a time of 26:19.2. This bodes well for Ostrander and the team in the future as he has three more years to improve. Dan Curley ’20 placed 101st with a time of 27:11.6. Max Whitmore ’18 and rookie Mark Murdy ’21 rounded out the top seven for the team, placing 110th and 133rd overall, respectively, with times of 27:17.4 and 27:45.0.
The women's team finished eighth out of 56 schools at the competition, highlighted by the efforts of twin sisters Emily Bryson ’19 and Julia Bryson ’19. Emily Bryson led the charge for the Judges, finishing ninth overall in the 6-kilometer race. This earned her a third career all-New England honor in cross country. This was her best finish after placing 13th as a first-year and 15th at last year's meet. Bryson now looks ahead to Nationals, where she will be competing for a third straight all-American bid after placing 31st and 24th at previous nationals, respectively. Julia Bryson also earned all-New England honors, finishing 24th overall in 22:02.5, her personal record for a 6K. She continues to show improvement in all of her races. First-year Niamh Kenney ’21 had her fastest 6K run of the season with a time of 22:41.7. She was the third Brandeisian to cross the finish line and placed 62nd overall. Meaghan Barry ’19 also ran her best 6K of the season, finishing 77th overall with a time of 23:03.4. The Judges’ fifth runner across the line and final scorer was captain Kyra Shreeve ’18. She placed 120th with a time of 23:39.6 in her final collegiate cross country race. Rounding out the top seven were Doyin Ogundiran ’19 and Danielle Bertaux ’20, who finished with times of 24:02.6 and 24:57.6 and places of 160th and 225th, respectively.
The Judges will be back in action on Saturday in the NCAA Division III championships, where they will look to put their talent to the test on a national scale.
Both the men's and women's teams have performed admirably this season. The squads have established themselves in Division III competition, but it remains to be seen how their runners will fare at the most elite level of competition this weekend in Illinois.
While it has been a great year for both Brandeis cross country teams, this weekend will solidify how their overall seasons are viewed in the long run. With their seasons coming to an end, the runners will look to leave their marks.