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Brandeis athlete excels across fields

Brandeis’ men’s and women’s track & field is nearing the end of their season. Just last week the Judges saw two of their members compete in the NCAA Indoor Track championships. The team is led by head coach Sinead Delahunty Evans, who is in her third season at Brandeis. Marlee Berg (third season/sprints & jumps), Steve Flanagan (first season/distance) and Simon Cleary (first season/throws) serve as assistant coaches.  The student leaders for the Judges are team captains Maggie Hensel ’16, Kelsey Whitaker ’16, Tove Freeman ’16 and Lydia McCaleb ’17. The Brandeis track & field team contains a lot of talented athletes and The Brandeis Hoot interviewed sprinter Haliana Burhans ’18 to learn about her experiences and insights.

Burhans is an International Global Studies major with a minor in French, and a two-season athlete, playing soccer in the fall and running track in the spring. When she’s not running she loves to read and bike. Last year she and her friend Abby Grinberg ’18 started the Spoon University Chapter at Brandeis. Burhans was initially recruited to play on the soccer team and hadn’t considered running track in college. However, once she arrived she decided to reach out to the track coach and see if she could join the team since she enjoyed doing both in high school. Being a two-season athlete can be a lot to balance with school work, but luckily Burhans has experience with time management since in high school she was a three-season athlete and has grown up playing sports. She describes her lifestyle as busy, “but the busy schedule keeps [her] on task because [she] doesn’t really have anytime to procrastinate.”

Burhans’ usual events for track include the 200-meter and 400-meter, with the occasional relay as well. She has also run the 60-meter, but typically focuses on the middle-distance sprints. Burhans considers the relays her favorite event because “they’re just so much fun because it’s a more of a team event than individual races, and I like the team dynamic more, which probably comes from my love of soccer.” Of challenges though, she believes the 400-meter is the most work because of how physically taxing it is and how nervous she’ll get before the run. She says, “I definitely have a love/hate relationship with that event.”


This season, Burhans achieved some well-earned feats in her collegiate track career. Early in February, at the Tufts Cupid Challenge she took third place in the 60-meter dash. During the preliminary she set a personal best with 8.22 seconds and in the finals she shaved 0.01 seconds off that time to set another personal best of 8.21 seconds. It is this event that Burhans describes as her favorite moment in track so far. She says, “The Tufts meet was just such a good feeling. I just remember how excited me and my teammates were about how well we had just run, and the support and cheers from the rest of our team made it that much better.” Then later that month, she earned herself All-New England honors twice at the 2016 New England Division III championships held at Middlebury College. Individually, she placed seventh overall in the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.93 seconds, and also anchored the 4×200-meter relay that finished second in their heat and eighth overall. At the 2016 UAA Championships hosted by NYU, Burhans was part of All-Association performance for the women’s distance medley, coming in third with a time of 12:06.92. For the second year in a row, Burhans ran the 400-meter leg, this time with a time of 58.72 seconds. As the season is close to coming to a close, Burhans describes her goals for both soccer and track are to always keep improving.

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