The success that Emily Bryson ’19 has had throughout her career here at Brandeis is no secret. As successful as she is on the track and in cross country, she has been just as accomplished in her studies. She is a double major in Biology and HSSP with a minor in French and francophone studies. Her ambition and motivation translates from the track to the classroom. Recognized for her excellence, Bryson earned All-Academic honors by being a top 50 national ranking in the Division III individual rankings while maintaining a 3.30 GPA.
Bryson is driven by her will to reach her highest potential as a student athlete. She places no limits on what she can accomplish and continues to push herself in order to discover how much she can really accomplish. Breaking records has almost become a norm for Bryson. However she is never satisfied; her drive pushes her to set even higher goals and not get complacent.
Some of Bryson’s most recent accomplishments have come in her cross country races. Bryson finished second at the New England Regionals, the best showing by a Brandeis woman since 2002. She covered the six-kilometer course in 21:03.79, a personal best for 6K and about 20 seconds behind the winner. To name just a few of her outstanding athletic accomplishments, Emily is a five-time All-American in cross country and track, including a national championship at the 2018 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in the 3,000-meter run. The All-American honor she recieved was the fourth in her career, making her Brandeis’ first four-time All-American in cross country, men or women. She is also just the 14th woman in Division III history to earn All-American honors all four years.
Although Bryson has had all these accomplishments, they did not come without challenges and disappointments. She shares that, “As an athlete the biggest challenges for me have always been getting through the disappointments—the moments where races aren’t quite what you hoped they would be, and you feel let down after working so hard.” The letdown and disappointments are part of the sport, but they are also a part of life. Bryson recognizes that these ups and downs of being an athlete have made her a better student. They have forced her to develop strong time management and organizational skills while also eliminating as many distractions as possible. Being a student athlete is not as easy as Bryson makes it look. She has spent countless hours perfecting her craft and more often than not making sacrifices. She shares that especially during championship season, where the stakes are so high on a race, she locks in even more, maximizing her time doing school work and still getting her sleep and recovery as an athlete.
Bryson’s success academically and as an athlete did not occur overnight. Coming into her senior season, Bryson has grown and learned throughout her career here at Brandeis. She explains how “as a student-athlete the biggest thing I’ve learned is the importance of using the network of support—teammates, coaches, professors, friends and family—that I’ve created around myself for support, guidance and motivation.” She admits that as a first-year, she came to Brandeis intimidated and convinced herself that she couldn’t be a good student and a good athlete at the same time. If Bryson could offer one piece of advice to other student athletes, it would be “don’t be intimidated by others or convince yourself that because you’re an athlete, you can’t do as well in classes as others because you have less time to study than them. Also, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and have fun because it goes by quickly.”
Bryson is a great example of how with hard work you can find the balance between being a great student and a great athlete. She will look to continue her success in the final stretch of her career and set the bar high for those to come.