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Cross country teams take sixth in UAAs

By Zach Cihlar

Section: Sports

November 3, 2017

Brandeis’ men’s cross country team scored the second lowest amount of points for a sixth place finisher in University Athletic Association (UAA) Conference championships history, which speaks to how tight the scores were between teams. The team scored 117 points in the championship, landing them in sixth; however, they were just 16 points shy of third place. The competitive race proved Brandeis held its own against five nationally-ranked teams that finished ahead.

Collegiate cross country awards the first place prize to teams scoring the fewest amount of points. Each individual running the race receives a greater amount of points the farther away they are from the first place position.

Under this scoring system, Washington University secured the UAA champion title in a landslide victory, racking in just 40 points overall which trumped the second place finisher Carnegie Mellon University by 39 points. Emory University pulled ahead in the middle cluster, holding steady at 101 points to grant them the third place finish. Brandeis very nearly jumped to the fifth spot, falling behind University Chicago by just one point.

Ryan Stender ’18 led the Judges in individual performance, earning his second consecutive top-five finish in the UAA championship meet with his fifth place finish. The result earned him first-team all-UAA honors for the second year in a row.

Behind Stender, Mitchell Hutton ’18 ran the second position for Brandeis, and earned the team a 20th place finish. The senior duo have run the one and two positions for Brandeis cross country for a majority of the season, and the pair ran the positions true for the UAA championship race as well.

New York University (NYU), the fourth place finisher, hosted the meet in Woodland Park, NJ, for both the men’s and women’s UAA championships. Woodland Park proved a challenging course for the schools, with many stretches requiring technical strategy. The course proved a great equalizer for both the men’s and women’s races.

The women earned the sixth spot in UAA competition as well, though they secured 127 points, edging out the NYU women’s team by just one point.

Emily Bryson ’19 once again led the team with a fourth place overall finish. She earned her third-consecutive first-team all UAA honor with a 23:41.1 time, quite a bit behind her time in last year’s UAA championship, which is a testament to the grueling nature of this year’s course.

The UAA is a strong conference across Division III athletics, and cross country stays true to the high level of competition seen in the eight-team conference. “Going into UAAs, we knew that it was going to be a competitive race on a challenging course,” the team’s captain, Kyra Shreeve ’18 said, “but we felt confident in the work we had put in over the summer and throughout the season and we’re excited to go out and compete with some of the top teams in the country.”

Julia Bryson ’19 ran second position for the team, putting in a great performance and earning 12th place. J. Bryson, who was the fourth position runner in the 2016 season, has shown great improvement on the team and put her in the position to earn second-team all-UAA honors with a time of 24:18.6.

Despite both of the Brysons’ strong finishes, the team couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed in the result, according to Shreeve. The women had a goal of finishing better than sixth place going in. “One of the aspects that I love most about the team is our ability to regroup and focus on the next race,” Shreeve said.

“Despite being a little disappointed after UAAs, we immediately turned our thoughts to Regionals,” the senior captain continued. The teams have two important races left on their schedule, Regionals and potentially the National championships. Both the men’s and women’s teams will go to Gorham, ME, to compete in the Regional meet on Saturday, Nov. 11.

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