Season comes to a close for the Judges
The Brandeis women’s cross country team had a historic performance at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. With a total of 277 points, the team finished an astounding sixth place overall, led, as usual, by senior Emily Bryson ’19 with a fifth-place finish in the race. Bryson was in fifth place throughout the entire race, running the six-kilometer course with a time of 21:08.3. This time was two seconds faster than her personal record at the NCAA nationals meet and the second fastest of her decorated NCAA career. Her finish was also a fifteen-place improvement from her previous best nationals finish, which came just last year.
Additionally, it was also the second highest finish at a nationals meet in the history of the Brandeis cross country program, behind only Mariko Tansey Holbrook Neveu ’03 in the 2002 meet. Bryson received an All-American honor for her finish, making her Brandeis’ first four-time All-American in cross country. She is also only the 14th women in Division III history to earn that honor during all four academic years. Overall, this is Bryson’s sixth career All-American honor.
Julia Bryson ’19 came in second place for the Judges with a time of 22:17.2. This was the fourth fastest time of Bryson’s career — just 17 seconds slower than the qualifying time for All-American honors. Between the third and fifth kilometers of the race, Bryson improved by 50 spots. Danielle Bertaux ’20 followed closely in her tracks, placing 67th overall with a time of 22:19.3. In the final kilometer of the race, Bertaux was able to improve by 23 spots. For Bertaux, this time was a personal best by 28 seconds. He was the team's third finisher for the third time this season.
Niamh Kenney ’21 finished in 81st place overall with a time of 22:25.2, good enough to be the Judge's fourth finisher. She improved 12 places in the last kilometer of the race. This was also a personal best for Kenney. Jac Guerra ’22 was the final scorer for the Judges, placing 164th overall and 17th among first-year runners with a time of 23:00.2. This was Guerra’s second fastest time of the season. The final two runners for the Judges were Meaghan Barry ’19, who was placed 214th with a time of 23:24.5 and Doyin Ogundiran ’20 who finished 258th place with a time of 24:06.3.
The 277 points for the Judges mark the third lowest team score at the NCAA championships in program history and ties the best team placement. The SUNY-Geneseo Knights had an identical score but were granted fifth place due to better placement in races that featured runners from the two schools.
Brandeis finished five places better than the pre-meet poll ranking of 11th, and he Judges trailed only Massachusetts Institute of Technology in scoring by New England area schools. They also trailed only Washington University in St. Louis, the winner of the meet, for scoring among University Athletic Association Schools. WashU took down two-time defending champion Johns Hopkins University.
As stated by the Brandeis Athletics Website, head coach Sinead Evans had this to say when asked about the 2018 cross country season as a whole: "This year was a testament to the team's hard work. I told them at the end of last year that we had a chance to have a special year this year. Everyone trained hard over the summer and came back in great shape, and I knew it was going to be a terrific season."
The team was led by coach Sinead Delahunty Ecans and by assistant coach Steve Flanagan. The seniors on the team, Meaghan Barry, Maya Bliss, Emily Bryson, Julia Bryson, Christine Minor, Rose Monahan, and Doy Ogundiran for the women, led the the rest of the team to much sucesses and will be missed. In total, the team had much sucess this season.