The Judges headed to a cold and windy Wisconsin golf course to compete in the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships a few weeks ago. After placing fourth at the New England Championships at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, M.E. the week prior, the Judges earned a bid to compete nationally for the first time since 2013. This was well deserved, as their regional performance was their best in over a decade.
The team was ranked 11th overall before entering the national meet but outpaced the competition and finished five spots ahead of their intended placement.
The Judges were lead by captain Emily Bryson ’19, coming in with a fifth place finish. She maintained this spot throughout the entire six kilometer course, recording a time of 21:08.3. This was a two second personal record at nationals, as she also moved up 15 spots from last year’s 20th place finish. This time was also the second fastest of Bryson’s impressive career and the second highest finish in Judges’ history, as Mariko Tansey Holbrook Neveu ’03 landed in second place in 2002.
Coming in fifth place granted Bryson her fourth All-American honor, adding to her two other awards in track and becoming Brandeis’ first runner to do so in the sport, whether it be men or women. This has only been accomplished by 13 other women in NCAA Division III history.
Finishing behind her sister was co-captain Julia Bryson ’19, finding herself in second place for the Judges, seeing a time of 22:17.2 in six kilometers. During the third and fourth kilometer span, Bryson moved up 50 spots, finishing in 64th place overall. This was the fourth fastest time of her career, falling only 17 seconds away from also receiving an All-American honor.
Closely behind, Danielle Bertaux ’20 finished in 67th place, coming in just two seconds behind teammate Julia Bryson with a time of 22:19.3. This was Bertaux’s personal record, shaving 28 seconds off of her second best time.
In the last kilometer of the race, Niamh Kenney ’21 made her push, moving up 12 spots into 81st place with a time of 22:52.2. Kenney ran her personal best in the New England regional the week before, a four second difference from her time at nationals.
Next came rookie Jac Guerra ’22 coming in fifth place for the Judges as he recorded a 164th place finish after running the six kilometers in a time of 23:00.2. This ranked him at 17th amongst all rookies running in the meet and was the second fastest time she recorded this season.
Captain Meaghan Barry ’19 and Doyin Ogundiran ’19 finished in 214th and 258th places respectively, each seeing times of 23:24.5 and 24:06.3.
Historically, the Judges were on par with the 1991 team, who also finished in sixth place at the NCAA Championships. The 277 points scored were the third lowest scoring result to be earned by the Judges in program history. The team also finished second out of the UAA teams competing, falling only to Washington University, who were crowned champions after upsetting the two-time national champions from Johns Hopkins University.