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Men and women’s cross country open season with fifth place finishes

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

September 21, 2012

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams returned to action this past weekend at the Dartmouth Shriner’s Invitational after a long offseason. The men placed fifth out of 39 teams while the women placed fifth out of 38 teams.

The men began the season without recently graduated All-American Chris Brown ’12. Brown was a standout performer for the Judges last year with numerous top-10 performances. He frequently set the bar for the team and the Judges were left with the question of who would replace his production and leadership.

Ed Colvin ’14 said that without Brown, the team has lost a lot of its depth.

“I was pretty good friends with [Chris]. He got sick his sophomore year and then put in two really good years of training and obviously you saw what happened his senior year. So I think it just showed everyone that if you can put in a full year of really hard work it’s going to pay off. But losing him was definitely a hit.”

After one race, though the sample size is small, it looks like the Judges may have found their answer.

The men were paced by three top 20 performances. Their best finish came from Colvin who came in seventh out of 293 competitors. Colvin completed the eight-kilometer race in 25:11, roughly 30 seconds off the pace of first place. Alex Kramer ’13 finished in 12th place just nine seconds off Colvin’s mark. Mik Kern registered a 19th place finish with a time of 25:36.

Greg Bray ’15 finished the course approximately a minute later in 77th place with a time of 26:51 while Jake Newfield ’14 was the last Brandeis runner to place, finishing in 100th with a time of 27:08.

Colvin was satisfied with his finish, considering it was such an early meet in the season.

“Coach usually eases us into the first meet. We don’t do much fast stuff just a lot of mileage training so to run that fast this early shows a lot of promise for the rest of the season,” Colvin said.

The team finished with 206 points, just eight points behind Coast Guard for fourth place.

Colvin explained that “our fourth and fifth (runners) will actually end up being our sixth and seventh. Our fourth and fifth guys, one is injured while the other was home for the holiday. But they’ll be back.”

“Kramer was in Kenya this summer. He did some serious training there. And Mik also ran really hard this summer. We have a really good top three and hopefully we can get our guys healthy,” Colvin said.

The work ethic and dedication that Brown established during the past three years are still in full force and as Brown demonstrated, the work pays off.

On the women’s side, the team had three runners place in the top 50. Victoria Sanford ’14, who finished in 11th place out of 293 total runners, paced the team, completing the
five-kilometer course in 18:50. Her time was within six seconds of the top six finishers and 25 seconds out of first place.

Graduate student Erin Bisceglia was the next Brandeis competitor to place, finishing 31st with a time of 19:18 while Ali Kirsch ’14 placed 48th with a time 19:46.

The Judges also got two encouraging performances from their rookies. Kelsey Whitaker ’16 barely missed the 20-minute mark finishing in 73rd with a time of 20:03 while Maggie Hensel ’16 finished only five seconds off her classmate’s mark with a time of 20:08, good for 84th place.

Kristi Pisarik ’15 and Molly Paris ’16 finished in 118th and 129th place with times of 20:36 and 20:44 respectively.

The Judges finished with 232 points, resulting in a fifth-place tie with Division I Bryant University and falling just nine points shy of Coast Guard who finished in fourth place.

After losing many key competitors and leaders to graduation this past season, both the men and women looked strong in their season debut, each finishing in fifth place in a tough field littered with Division I, II and III competitors.

Both squads will look to build on their strong first meet when they compete in the Open New England Championships at Franklin Park in Boston on Saturday, Oct. 6.

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