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Cross country sends two to NCAAs

By Sarah Jousset

Section: Sports

December 1, 2017

Two members of the Brandeis cross country team geared up for the NCAA Division III Championships at Principia College in Elsa, IL, on Saturday, Nov. 18. Co-captain Ryan Stender ’18 from the men’s cross country team and co-captain Emily Bryson ’19 from the women’s cross country team represented the Judges at the pre-Thanksgiving national championship. The athletes endured rain and wind up to 20 m.p.h. on a particularly hilly course to compete in the meet. Both Stender and Bryson earned All-American honors, marking the first time that both the Brandeis men’s and women’s cross country teams have produced All-American runners since 1995.

Bryson gave her best performance at the national championships in her three years as a collegiate athlete, gaining her third All-American title. She finished the the race in 21:13.1 minutes for a 20th place finish overall. Her finish also put her fourth among University Athletic Association (UAA) runners at the national meet, which is the same place she finished in at the conference championships. As for Bryson’s All-American honor, the title makes her the third woman and fifth person in Brandeis athletics history to earn three All-American honors in cross country, the last person to achieve this graduating in 2003.

For the Brandeis men’s cross country team, Stender earned his first All-American title in his senior year. Last year, Stender just missed all-American honors, placing 37th, with the top 35 runners earning All-American honors. Although the NCAA increased All-American standards to include the top 40 runners for Division III, Stender didn’t need the expansion to earn the title. Stender completed the race in a time of 24:49.33, placing 28th overall. Stender finished fifth among New England regional runners, placing one position higher than he did at the regional championships. As for UAA runners, Stender placed third after finishing fifth at the UAA conference championships. The time was his third best personal time for an 8-kilometer distance; however, given the course and weather conditions, this was arguably one of Stender’s best races of his collegiate career.

The NCAA National Championship meet concluded the cross country season. However, indoor track and field will begin this weekend at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston with the UMass Boston Invitational. Stender will compete in distance races for the men’s track and field team, while Bryson will run distance for the women’s track and field team.

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