Following their outstanding performances on the track and on the fencing strip, TJ Carleo ’26 and Calla Lee ’25 were honored as Judges of the Week. The title is bestowed on various student-athletes at the University for notable accomplishments in their respective sports. 

TJ Carleo ’26 


For some, ball is life. For others — including TJ Carleo ’26 — it’s distance running. He has no time for other extracurriculars; being part of a sports team is a “massive commitment” on top of his academics. His passion and talent is evident in the sheer number of accomplishments he has racked up this season thus far. His academic accolades include a UAA All-Academic recognition and a USTFCCCA All-Academic Athlete — not a small feat.

While Carleo has not officially selected a major, what is not undeclared is the recognition he has attracted these past two seasons. His most recent feat took place at the Boston University Valentine Invitational on Feb. 9. Out of nearly 300 runners from all three divisions, Carleo placed 52nd with a time of 1:51.58. This was only 1.37 seconds off his personal record, 1:20.21, which he ran in the previous outdoor season, and 2.51 seconds under his indoor personal record. This accomplishment placed him as ninth in all of Division III. This time was also a mere 0.51 seconds off the indoor school record, which was achieved by Geoff Getz ’99 with a time of 1:51.04. He was named the 2023 Outdoor UAA 800-meter champion, at the University of Chicago, and placed 18th in the 800-meter at the 2023 Outdoor DIII NCAAs held in Rochester, NY. Carleo also currently holds the track and field team’s season’s best for the 800, 1000, mile and part of the 4x400. He has also been named a UAA track athlete of the week multiple times.

Carleo made an impact in his first season as one of the seven runners sent to cross country’s UAAs hosted by Emory University in the 2022 season. During his first indoor season, he scored 8 points in three separate events at the indoor UAA held at Case Western Reserve University. Now, in his second cross country season, he was Brandeis’ fastest cross-country runner at the NCAA Division III East Region Cross Country Championships, held in Hopkinton, NH, and placed 40th out of 229 total runners.

With great speed comes a great risk of injury, something which Carleo wants to avoid. His biggest challenge thus far is keeping track of his health. “It’s really important to ensure that your body is recovering, and this can be challenging to do every day,” he explained. 

That being said, achievements and titles are not all that matter. Carleo’s favorite memory from this season is when he ran the 4x400 with his teammates. “I really enjoy relays, and it’s great that I can compete with my friends,” he told The Justice. Carleo is also looking forward to traveling to New York City with his teammates for the upcoming UAAs at the end of February break.

— Editor’s Note: Justice Managing editor Smiley Huynh ’24 and Justice News editorial assistant Lin Lin Hutchinson ’25 are members of the track and field team and did not edit nor contribute to this story.

Calla Lee ’25 

Calla Lee.jpeg

While you were working, Calla Lee ’25 was studying the blade. Epeeist, saberist and Judge of the Week, Lee is a star on the strip — and her prowess has grown since she began at Brandeis. Hailing from Duluth, Georgia, the Lambert High School alumna started off as an epeeist and was a Big One Tournament Quarterfinalist in the 2021-22 season. Lee did not try out sabre until her sophomore year, but she put in the work and was eventually able to compete in sabre as well as epee. Venturing to try a new weapon is one of her favorite fencing memories she has made at Brandeis. 

Sabre and epee are two of the three disciplines of fencing along with foil. The names of the disciplines refer to the three different weapons used in fencing. Sabrists cut and thrust with the cutting edge of their blade, and the discipline is characterized by its slashing technique. Points are scored when a fencer hits their opponent with the blade’s front edge, tip, or the last one-third of its back edge. The epee is similar to foil — in both disciplines, points are scored by hits made with the blade’s tip only — but with epee, the entire body is a target.

This season has already proved itself important in Lee’s career as both a fencer and a Brandeis student. She’s proven more than proficient at both blades; she fenced sabre at the Brandeis Invitational on Dec. 3, where she went 5-0 in sabre and earned three wins in epee for a total of eight wins overall. This semester, she impressed the Jury by delivering a 5-4 victory over Wellesley University’s Alisha Li — the school’s winningest fencer this season — to earn the Judges a win, doing so coming off the bench for an injury. In the meantime, Lee is focusing on studying for her biology major. 

Balancing epee and sabre is a challenge in and of itself. The differences between the two disciplines mean Lee has to switch mindsets depending on which weapon she is fencing with, but the challenge is worth it — Lee says that overall, fencing with both weapons has been “very fun.” 

The season is far from over, and Lee hopes to take advantage of the remaining time. She hopes to get stronger and break her old records for “vertical/long jump at the weight room.” Aside from athletic feats, Lee looks forward to spending time with the rest of the fencing team.