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Cross country makes strides at UMass Dartmouth Invitational

UPDATED: 10/10/19 8:57 p.m.

After their last race at the Wellesley Invitational, the Brandeis cross country team headed to their annual race at the UMass Dartmouth (UMD) Invitation. Men placed seventh, while the women’s team placed 13th, with the men improving six spots from last year’s competition. Overall, the men’s team placed fourth among NCAA Division III schools, while the women’s team placed 10th. 

Mark Murdy ’21 took the lead for the Judges’ men’s team with an eighth place finish out of 250 competitors. He improved 27 places from his first year. Murdy came back strong from an injury that caused him to miss his sophomore season, placing first in the Wellesley Invite three weeks ago. He finished this 5-mile race with a time of 25:30.21. 

Matthew Dribben ’22 also made great strides. He finished in 45th place last year, but this time he not only cut half a minute off his time but also placed in 17th overall. His finishing time was 25:53.22. 

The other top five finishers for the Judges were Dan Curley ’20, Alec Rodgers ’20 and Casey Brackett ’23. Curley came in 51st with the time 26:53.00, his first time breaking 27 minutes at UMD. Next was Rodgers in 61st place with a time of 27:09.38. Last was Brackett, the only rookie to cross the finish line, with a time of 27:40.08. The team looks forward to seeing his potential growth in future competitions. 

These top five male finishers helped the Judges to place 7th as a team, with a score of 209. The Judges were only cumulatively 8 points higher than the 6th place finishers from Assumption College. Brandeis fell behind the top finishers from the first-placed Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), followed by UMass Lowell in second and Trinity College (Conn.) in third. The top runner came from the Bantams of Trinity, as Weyessa McAlister finished at 24:46.42.

On the women’s side, the Judges’ top five finishers were Erin Magill ’22, Bridget Pickard ’23, Hannah Walsh ’22, Leinni Valdez ’21 and Natalie Hattan ’22. The women’s competition took place on a 5K course. 

Magill broke her personal record by 30 seconds, making this run 40 seconds faster than her best time on this specific course. She finished with an overall time of 18:54.59, with her average speed falling at four minutes per kilometer. Such improvements helped her place 13th, moving up 23 spots from her last performance at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational.

Pickard came second for the Judges team with a time of 20:13.57. In just her second race as a collegiate athlete, the rookie runner from Westwood, MA finished in 68th place out of 263 runners.

Walsh followed next for the Brandeis women. In her second year running for the Judges, she beat her previous time at UMD by about 25 seconds, therefore placing 98th in the race. She was able to cross the finish line with a 5K time of under 21 minutes, running exactly a 20:47.33.

Next, Valdez came in 102nd place with a time of 20:50.54, with Hattan coming in right behind to round off the top five finishers from Brandeis. She ended in 121st place with a time of 21:01.34. Lastly, Kate Danzinger ’22 came in at 153rd place with an impressive time of 21:41.16.

Overall, the team scored 376 points, which placed the Judges’ at 13th overall. Holy Cross came in first, followed by Mount Holyoke and then WPI. Holy Cross had the best showing with four out of their top five runners finishing within the top 20, and the fifth coming in at just 23rd place. Mount Holyoke was also notable, with their two top runners coming in one after the other and placing in 5th and 6th respectively. 

The Judges have a busy schedule coming up, first returning to action this Saturday at the Keene State Invitational. Two weeks later, they will head to the Connecticut College Invitational, and then finally the UAA championships on Nov. 2 at Carnegie Mellon University.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Magill improved 23 spots since last year’s University of Maryland Invitational. Magill improved 23 spots since last year’s UMass Dartmouth Invitational.

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