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Cross Country is underway

By jr00576

Section: Sports

September 7, 2007

After a long preseason and a summer of preparation, the Men's and Women's Cross Country teams raced Bentley this Friday in what the athletes unofficially call the Waltham Championships. The Men's team was able to narrowly claim victory with a 31-28 final score, even though its top four runners were not competing at the meet.

The squad has also been recently ranked the third best team in New England. This Div. III ranking means a lot to the Judges, and their performance on Friday was a reflection of this accolade. The Womens team, however, was not able to claim victory. It fell just one point shy of its competitors, losing 27-28. The race was held at Weston high school, and the competition marked the debut of many first-year runners.

The Men's team had mixed results on Friday as it defeated Bentley on the 6 kilometer course. Despite the absence of upperclassmen teammates, numerous first-years were able to place high in the standings. First-year Paul Norton was able to claim second place with a time of 20 minutes and 15 seconds. The second Brandeis runner to cross the tape was Zachary Schwartz '11. He crossed the line at just over 20 minutes and 30 seconds, putting him in fifth place overall. The next to finish was Ketih Thibault '10, who finished the race in 20 minutes and 52 seconds. To round-out the Brandeis top scorers, Mekonen Gendebo '11, Kerwin Vega '11 and Devon Holgate '11 all finished at around 21 minutes in their first meet at Brandeis.

After a hard-fought race, the Women's team narrowly lost its competition against Bentley. Many on the team still had good races, and individuals stood out for their times. Ally Connolly '10 was the first Brandeis runner to complete the 4 kilometer run with a time of 16 minutes and 17 seconds. This was good enough to place her 3rd overall. Emily Terrin '08, Hannah Lindholm '11, and Maria Lemay '11 were all able to finish the course in 16 minutes and 25 seconds, earning the Judges 4th, 5th and 6th places as well. Emily Owen '11 and Beth Pisarik '10 were able to finish at around 17 minutes and 25 seconds, rounding out the Brandeis top scorers.

Many of the first-year teammates were excited about the competition against Bentley. For them, this was the first time that they have put on the blue and white striped uniform and raced for Brandeis.

Finally towing the line with guys of the same uniform puts things into perspective, commented Norton. I think I established myself as someone who can contribute on the Varsity level. I'm really excited for the season to get rolling.

Teammate and fellow first-year Zach Schwartz had similar sentiments about the recent meet.

It's really cool to be running for Brandeis, stated Schwartz. I definitely surprised myself by coming in second for the team. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the team stacks up when we race in two weeks.

Both teams will be competing at UMASS Dartmouth in two weeks in a much bigger meet than the one in which they participated this Friday. The four members of the Men's team who didn't race against Bentley are all geared up to compete at that event, as is the entire women's team. The Cross Country squads then have other meets later in the season, finally culminating in the UAA Cross Country Championships, which will be hosted by Brandeis. This opening dual-meet against Bentley, for the Judges, is just one stepping stone on the path to a larger season ahead.

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