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Track and Field Starts off on right foot

By Lily Wageman

Section: Sports

January 15, 2016

This past weekend, the Brandeis indoor track and field team started off the new season at the non-scored University of Southern Maine Invitational. The Judges had three individual winners, seven second-place finishes and five third-places. After their performances at the invitational, three members of the team were selected as University Athletic Association Athletes of the Week. For the women, rookie Doyin Ogundiran ’19 was honored for track. On the men’s side, Ryan Stender ’18 was honored for track and Adam Berger ’16 was the field athlete of the week. Although the results of the competition won’t count toward their regular season, the positive results bode well for the Judges in their upcoming meets.

The team is led by head coach Sinead Delahunty Evans. Since joining the Judges, Evans has helped eight Brandeis runners qualify for the NCAA Track and Field Championships. The men’s team captains include Adam Berger ’16 (jumps), Quinton Hoey ’17 (distance), Mark Franklin ’17 (jumps), Trevor Tuplin ’16 (sprints) and Grady Ward ’16 (distance). The women’s captains include Maggie Hensel ’16 (mid-distance), Tove Freeman ’16 (sprints), Lydia McCaleb ’17 (mid-distance) and Kelsey Whitaker ’16 (mid-distance). The Brandeis Hoot was able to talk with Ward and Whitaker to gain their insights and experiences with the team.

Ward studies Computer Science, Mathematics and Economics and is “unbelievably excited” to begin working at Google in San Francisco as a software developer after graduation. Outside of track he enjoys his work in Brandeis’ Student Union and working on his independent programming projects. Ward describes his favorite moment in Brandeis athletics as when he watched teammates Alex Kramer and Mike Kern go 1-2 at the UAA Championships their senior year in the mile. “Their friendship and competition took them both to new heights and faster times, and that race was incredible to watch and appreciate.” He looked up to both of them as role models while he was a first-year and hopes to follow in their footsteps in terms of being the best miler he can be. As a captain, he describes his leadership style as leading by example and clearly and consistently communicating with his teammates. This season he hopes to break 4:15 in the mile, which he believes is possible with a solid season of training.

Whitaker is a double major in Biology and Health: Science, Society and Policy. After graduation she would like to work for a few years and then go to graduate school for Physical Therapy or a Master’s in Public Health. In addition to track, she works for Brandeis GPS and will be starting at Phosphorex Inc. this semester. Similar to Ward, Whitaker describes her leadership style as leading by example, and considers herself to be a hard worker and dedicated team member. Being part of “such a great team” is her favorite part about competing for Brandeis. “My coaches and teammates are so supportive on and off the track and genuinely want everyone to perform to the best of their ability,” she said.

The track team will be back in action this Saturday at their only home meet of the season, The Reggie Poyau Memorial Invitational. The meet will begin at 11 a.m.

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