The Brandeis men’s and women’s cross country teams both competed on Saturday in the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Cross Country Invitational. This was the team's second meet of the young season, and the meet offered a much more complete picture of how the team stacks up against its competition. The Wellesley invitational had the Judges competing against only Wellesley College, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Regis College. The UMass Dartmouth Invitational however, saw the Judges in a 41 team field that was a lot more diverse in skill and strategy. Each team had varying degrees of success as well as their own individual stand-out performances. Here is how both teams fared against their competition.

The women’s team came into the meet ranked 25th nationally and ready to prove their might. It did not take much for the team to do just that, as the women won the competition for the third time in four years. This victory was headlined by Emily Bryson’s ’19 first place finish in the 5k race. In her previous three UMass Dartmouth invitationals, Bryson had placed fourth, third and second, consecutively, so it was only fitting in her last one she would win. She finished with a time of 17:54.6. 

Jac Guerra ’22 came in fourth place, with a time of 18:21.4, a 28-second improvement from her collegiate debut. Julia Bryson ’19 placed 12th in the race, with a time of 18:58.8, her first finish outside of the top 10 since her first year. Danielle Bertaux ’20 was just three places and eight seconds off of her career-best finish at UMass Dartmouth, placing 16th overall in 19:05.7. 

Rounding out the top five was Niamh Kenney ’21, who ran the race for the first time and placed 23rd with a time of 19:10.2. Meaghan Barry ’19 improved her time by two seconds, but was two spots lower in the finishing standings. A testament to the team's overall improvement, Barry was the fourth finisher last year. Erin Magill ’22 rounded out the top seven in 36th place, with a time of 19:34.8.

The men’s team did not share the success of their counterparts, finishing 13th overall at the meet. However, the Judges still had a few top finishers in the 8k race. 

Josh Lombardo ’21 and Matthew Driben ’22 came in back-to-back, placing 44th and 45th respectively, with times of 26:25.9 and 26:27.3. Lombardo improved his rookie time by 30 seconds, jumping 14 places from last year’s race as a result. The second place team finish from Driben is impressive for a rookie running in his first UMass Dartmouth Invitational.

 Dan Curley ’20 placed 87th in his first varsity run at UMass Dartmouth with a time of 27:20.7. Rookie Simon Powley ’22 posted a time of 27:57.1 in his first-ever collegiate 8k race, making 119th place. Rounding out the Judges’ top finishers was Jacob Judd ’20 who ran the race in 28:02.9, good for 125th place. This was a personal best for Judd, beating his previous record by 13 seconds in his first varsity race at UMass Dartmouth.

The Judges will travel to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine for the Bowdoin College invitational on September 29th. The teams will make a point to learn the course back and forth as this will also be the sight of the NCAA Division III regionals meet for New England on November 10. After Bowdoin, the team will travel to Conn. College to take part in the Conn. College Invitational. The next week begins the championship meets. 

After two meets, both teams are confident in their abilities going forward and look to continue to make noise at every race in which they participate. 

As we make our way through the last cross country season with the Bryson twins leading the charge for Brandeis, new runners will have to step up to lead the team and fill that hole. Both teams are loaded with plenty of young and eager talent to help secure the programs future.