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Bryson ’19, Gourde ’17 run national-caliber times at UAAs

Bryson ’19, Gourde ’17 run national-caliber times at UAAs

By Zach Cihlar

Section: Featured, Sports

April 28, 2017

The men’s and women’s track and field teams both placed seventh at the UAA Conference Championship last weekend, though each team showcased a few strong individual performances.

At the University of Chicago, which hosted the championship, Emily Bryson ’19 earned her fourth University Athletic Association title by securing the first-place position in the 1,500-meter run. It was Bryson’s second UAA title this season, having earned her first during the indoor UAA conference meet. The sophomore secured the title by 1.5 seconds with a time of 4:36.85, which put her in a position to qualify for the NCAA national tournament.

Rookie Irie Gourde ’17 sprinted into two second-place finishes, his third and fourth of the season. In the 400-meter dash, the senior ran the fastest time in the preliminary round, and even beat his preliminary heat time by 1.5 seconds, yet still fell to second place in the final heat. His time of 47.82 seconds was sixth fastest in all of Division III, making him a solid candidate to advance to the NCAA national meet.

Gourde’s other event, the 200-meter dash, saw him lose the first place seat by .04 seconds in the preliminary round and by only .1 seconds in the final round. His preliminary run broke the school record for the 200-meter dash, finishing with 21.86 seconds.

“My personal goal going in was to run harder than I have before, without restraint or doubt, and try as hard as I can to secure as many points as possible for the team,” Gourde said about his mindset going into the races. This competition was as much about securing high placements as it was about improving on previous times.

As for his possible NCAA qualification, Gourde was profoundly surprised. The possible accomplishment had not entered his mind entering UAAs. “To possibly qualify at the end of my first season is somewhat overwhelming, exciting, but also quite humbling,” he said.

The final all-UAA performance came from Regan Charie ’19, who secured the third-place spot in the 100-meter event. The top three runners in the event finished within .01 seconds of each other. The top spot went to Washington University’s Roderick Smith with a time of 11.13 seconds. The second and third place was determined by a photo finish review, where University of Chicago’s Jatan Anand defeated Charie. Both runners clocked in at 11.14 seconds.

As a smaller team, the Judges faced some challenges in obtaining points. As a result, the team had to work hard for every point, because in some races, they lacked in number of students competing.

The strong individual showings, however, were not enough to push either the men’s or women’s team out of the seventh-place spot. The men raked in a total of 55 points, nine behind sixth-place New York University, while the women scored a total of 38.5 points, 13.5 points behind NYU. For the men, Carnegie Mellon finished on top with 186 points, only six ahead of second-place Washington University. There was a greater margin at the top of the women’s score, with Washington University’s 213.5 points edging out University of Chicago’s 182.5.

During events such as the UAA Conference Championships, the track team’s goals are more singular and direct for the team as a whole. Rather than improving on strength or experience, each competitor’s only goal is to beat out times and other conference opponents, Gourde said. Each second of the competition was lent either to competing or supporting competing teammates. “We all rise together in this competition,” the senior said.

Though the team’s overall results were not ideal, Gourde said his team put in an admirable effort across all the races. “Though we did not score a large volume of points,” he said, “I was witness to a number of incredible feats of strength, speed and perseverance throughout the entire team, and I am proud of what we accomplished.”

The men’s and women’s track and field teams, though having competed in their UAA Conference meet, have yet to start a series of competitions leading up to NCAA Division III nationals. Hosted by the University of Mount Union, Brandeis athletes who qualify will race on the national stage beginning on May 25.

The team’s next meet will be the Division III New England Championships at Williams College starting Thursday, May 3 and running until Saturday, May 6.

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