Team outruns their opponents in the NCAA Championships
Between Friday and Saturday, the Brandeis women’s Track and Field team participated in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Massachusetts. This meet marked the Judges’ first relay national title in the distance medley relay. In fact, the team defeated the school record with a time of 11:40.64.
During the meet, Julia Bryson ’19 started the race with the 1,200-meter leg in 3:37.07 minutes before handing off to Devin Hiltunen ’22. Hiltunen then passed off to Doyin Ogundiran ’19, who was a valuable asset to the Judges. She impressively pushed the team from fifth to second place after running a leg in 2:13.75 minutes. Ogundiran passed off to Emily Bryson ’19, who ran 4:50.10 with a 31-second last lap, sending Brandeis to win its first national championship. Last season, the Bryson sisters, Ogundiran and Lisbeth Valdez ’21 finished third in the national championships, so it remains to be seen how the women will end this season.
Emily Bryson qualified for the following days finals in the mile run, entering with her season best 4:45.48, the fourth fastest in Division III history. Also in the mile, Jac Guerra ’22 finished seventh with a time of 5:05.39, making him the only qualifying first year runner in the mile. Julia Bryson and Ogundiran both gained their second career All-America honor.
On Saturday, Emily Bryson had an exceptional finish in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship. She won her second national championship of the meet for the mile and the third of her career. Additionally, Bryson won the 3,000-meter run and ran the eighth-fastest time in preliminaries. For the first six laps, she remained among the top three runners. In the third lap, Bryson pulled ahead and completed her final lap in 32.83 seconds. Bryson’s time of 4:45.80 is the fifth fastest mile in Division III history.
Emily Bryson became only the second Brandeis student to win two NCAA titles in one meet and is the first to win a national title in three events. Her eight All-American honors tie her with Mariko Tansey Holbrook ’03 for fourth on the University's all-time list.
The next meet the team is set to compete in is the Snowflake Classic on March 30 at Tufts University followed by the Amherst Invitational on April 6.
In an interview with the Justice, Jac Guerra explained, “The goals of the season centered around performing to our potential. I was lucky enough to come into a program that had already established themselves through previous NCAA national performances by Julia and Emily Bryson, Leini and Lisbeth Valdez and Doyin Ogundiran. Coach Sinead focuses on training us so that we are prepared to peak at the end of the season, so we all just wanted to stay as fit and healthy as possible. Obviously, we wanted to get as many people as high-scoring as possible at nationals, and both the DMR and Emily Bryson are now champs, so I'd say that goal was more than fulfilled.”
This year the team was led by Head Coach Sinead Delahunty and Assistant Coaches Steve Flanagan and Jason Sliwoski.
Coach Delahunty has coached the Judges since December 2013, making this her fifth season as a Judge. Through her time with the Judges, Delahunty has coached 11 different athletes qualifying for NCAA Championships. Delahunty graduated from Providence College in 1993 where she was a six-time All American athlete.
Assistant coaches Flanagan and Sliwoski also have histories in the world of track and field. Flanagan graduated from Fairfield University in 2012, where he was named captain his sophomore year and helped his team recieve its best time finish in IC4A Championships. Sliwoski was an athlete at Worchester State University, where he achieved the school record and and was a recipient of an NCAA National Qualifier in the Decathlon.