Brandeis track and field competed in the final meet before the indoor national championships starting on Friday, March 9. Running at Tufts University in the Tufts Last Chance Meet, Brandeis put a few of its NCAA-qualifying runners to rest before the following weekend.
The highlight of the meet was the women’s relay, featuring a team of national-qualifiers. The four-person team earned the first place finish, with a time that catapulted the team into the second-ranked spot nationally for the event. The team started off the race with Julia Bryson ’19 on the 1200 meter leg, followed by rookie freshman Lisbeth Valdez ’21 on the 400 meter leg. The last half of the relay put the baton back into the hands of the team’s junior class, with Doyin Ogundiran ’19 taking on the 800 meter leg, and three-time national qualifier Emily Bryson ’19 anchoring with the 1600 meter leg. The relay took the team 11:47.36 to finish.
The powerhouse relay team will return again on the national stage at the NCAA meet in Birmingham, Ala. Nationally ranked Emily Bryson and Ogundiran will forgo their individual events, the 1600 meter and the 800 meter respectively, to give Brandeis the best possible chance in the relay race.
Weight throw specialist Jordin Carter ’18 also finalized the indoor season with her fourth consecutive throw surpassing the 15-meter mark. Launching the weight to 15.69 meters, Carter earned her second strongest competition performance, enough to land her in fourth place for the meet.
Ryan Stender ’18 put up another strong performance for the Judges in the 3000 meter run. Having been successful in long-distance events throughout his collegiate career, Stender’s seventh place finish could qualify him for nationals if enough competitors choose to withdraw from the 3000 meter event to focus on other events. He will be travelling to the national meet as an alternate. His time of 8:41.91 finalizes his national ranking at the 21st spot.
Other strong competitors at the Tufts Last Chance meet included Churchill Perry ’20, placing sixth in the high-jump event with a 12.6 meter jump, and Scott Grote ’19, placing tenth with a 14.31 meter weight throw.
A total of six student-athletes qualified for the upcoming NCAA national meet. On top of the relay event, Emily Bryson will also compete in her signature event, the 3000 meter event in the national competition. Competing in the event at last year’s NCAA meet, Emily Bryson finished in the 14th spot. She will return as the 17th seed.
In addition to the four relay runners and Stender, graduate student Irie Gourde ’17 also qualified in both the 400 meter dash and the 200 meter dash. Gourde has had major success in the two events. His 400 meter dash time earned him the second best time nationally, propelling him to the 10th seeded spot.
The graduate student’s performance during the indoor season racked in a number of honors from the University Athletic Association (UAA) and the United States Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTCCCA). After previously receiving two all-UAAs and three all-New England titles earlier in the year, the USTCCCA awarded Gourde with the honor of the Division III New England Runner of the Year.
The qualifiers will travel to Birmingham to compete for the national titles. The six members travelling will represent the largest group of national qualifiers for the track and field team since the 1999 NCAA national meet.