This past weekend, both the men’s and women’s track teams wrapped up their indoor seasons with some members representing the Judges at Ithaca College in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship, and other members representing Brandeis in the Tufts Last Chance Meet, aptly titled as it was the Judges’ last chance to see any players qualify for NCAAs.
At the ECAC meet in Ithaca, the Judges sent a squad led by rookie Jack Allan ’20. Allan ended the meet with All-ECAC honors in the heptathlon event, which included the 60-meter dash, high jump, shot put, long jump, 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and long-distance run. Allan came extremely close to recording a personal record after the first day, scoring 4,329 points, just one point shy of his record.
Additionally, rookie Churchill Perry ’20 used his final attempt in the triple jump greatly to his advantage, placing 11th in the event.
On the women’s side, the 4x200m relay team consisting of Kanya Brown ’19, Maya Sands- Bliss ’19, Jessie Moore ’18 and Kayla Kurland-Davis ’20, also ran a personal record of 1:49.43. This time narrowly earned the Brandeis foursome 16th place by a mere two-thousandths of a second.
“I could definitely tell we were tired. UAAs took a lot out of all of us the weekend before, because we all competed in at least three events over the course of a weekend,” Bliss said about the overall team results at the meet.
Bliss also commented about the split-squad style of the weekend, where half the team competed in another meet. “It was also hard that there were only eight of us competing, because we didn’t have the support of an entire team. We all tried hard and overall had good performances,” she said.
Over at Tufts, the Judges had a couple of top-three finishers. In the 400-meter, rookie Irie Gourde ’17 ran a blistering 49.7 seconds, only half a second slower than his personal record.
On the women’s side, Doyin Ogundiran ’19 also ran a 2:16.03 in the 800-meter, beating out the fourth-place finisher by .58 seconds. Other Judges, Julia Bryson ’19 and Maddie Dolins ’17, ran a 5:10.79 in the mile for ninth place and a 10:25.90 in the 3,000-meter for seventh place, respectively.
“Our team has been gradually rebuilding the past three to four years, and this year has been the strongest by far. We have a great group of freshmen, and we did not graduate too many seniors last year, so our team is getting larger as well as acquiring more talent,” Bliss said about the team’s indoor season.
The team has seen significant improvement over the season, according to Bliss. “We are improving as a group, too, in addition to having stand-out athletes. The girls scored 3.3 times as many points at UAAs this year than we did at last year, and the boys did similarly,” she said, citing the results from last weekend, which surprised many other schools in the UAA conference.
Emily Bryson ’19 will be the only Brandeis track and field runner to be making the trip to Chicago for nationals. She is currently ranked third in the nation.
Although Brandeis has only Emily Bryson racing in NCAAs, there were a couple other athletes who were very close to qualifying. Gourde was on the bubble to qualify, as he was ranked number 16 in the country in the 400-meter.
When asked about NCAAs and how some of her teammates compare to other track athletes in the country, Emily Bryson said, “We definitely had a few athletes who were close, so going into outdoors [this year] and indoor track next year, I think this gives them and our team as whole more confidence that we can qualify even more athletes for NCAAs.”
The team begins its outdoor season on Saturday, March 25 at Bridgewater State University in the Bears Invitational. Emily Bryson will compete in NCAAs on Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11 in Chicago.