On Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, the Brandeis University Track and Field team showcased their talents in the 2024 Reggie Poyau Memorial Title by seizing a well-earned victory. In their first and only home meet of the season, the women finished with 129.5 points, with 28 more points than second-place, Bates College, causing the Judges to take home the title. The men finished with 80 points, placing third, behind the notable track and field teams from Bates College, with 206 points, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) University, with 174 points.

Many successes from each team caused specific Brandeis competitors to stand out on both the men’s and women’s sides. More specifically, Hannah Bohbot-Dridi ’25 and TJ Carleo ’26, both reflected and acknowledged what their personal success means to them, as well as how much the team’s energy affects the overall ambiance. Although competing at home can be “more nerve-racking” than competing away, Bohbot-Dridi explains, “the atmosphere at home is honestly the best.”

With this in mind, Bohot-Dridi was able to capture third place in the 600-meter run, with a noteworthy time of 1:43:11. On the men's side, although Carleo noted that there is “always pressure to perform,” when competing at home, the “pressure intensifies.” However, this did not stop second-year Carleo, as he was delighted with his performance. He won in the 1000-meter run, with a final time of 2:34:03. His main goal was to start his season in a “positive way,” and he felt that he accomplished that. 

Bohbot-Dridi commented “though it was our season opener, over 40 people PRd and demonstrated the product of all the months of hard work, waking up every day at 6:45 am and just showing how much track and field means to them. I love this sport and this team and this win reaffirmed that sentiment. I am so eager to see what the rest of the season has in store for me and the team, and I'm excited to keep competing, all whilst surrounded by incredibly hard-working people.” Bohbot-Dridi’s optimism and can-do attitude was shared by Carleo, who noted how the team atmosphere made a world of difference. Additionally, Carleo commented on how much his team’s energy affects him, stating, “the team energy was amazing. We could not have asked for a better start to the season. Both the men’s and women's teams performed really well and the team atmosphere was great.”

The Brandeis Judges Athletes of the Week were Smiley Huynh ’24 and Willem Goff ’24.Huynh dominated the women’s pole vault, with a height of 3.55 meters and the long jump with a distance of 5.05 meters, and Goff succeeded in the 3,000-meter run, earning the win with a time of 9:15:97.

Following the Poyau Memorial Title, at the Tufts University Branwen Smith-King Invitational on Jan. 20, the Judges had several successes, with the women placing 4th with 62.5 points, 14.5 points behind Connecticut College. The men placed 7th with 28 points, three points behind Suffolk University, according to Brandeis Athletics. The women’s 4x200, powered by Olivia Zarzycki ’24, Hannah Bohbodt-Dridi ’25, Shaniece Nugent ’26 and anchor Kirsten Man ’25, squeezed a victory against Tufts by one tenth of a second. 

Several personal records were broken on Saturday in almost all events, including long jump, triple jump, weight throw, 60-meter and the 3k. Both the women’s and men’s team showed off their dedication and hard work, and across all grade levels, you could see the hours of practice pay off.

Head coach Miles Ketchum, in his first year at Brandeis, commented on the significance of the win to him, saying, “Winning the first meet of the year was a great way for the team to start the season, and it was especially meaningful to do it with friends, family and alumni watching. The student-athletes carried themselves well, represented our values, and showed they will be a competitive force. It was a good first step in the right direction.”

The Judges will travel next to Riverhawk, Massachusetts and will compete against Boston University on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024.