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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Summer program pays off, cross country team defends title

Published: September 5, 2014
Section: Sports

On Aug. 30, 2014, the Brandeis men’s cross country team defended its title at the 2014 Emmanuel College Fens Classic. They defeated second-place Roger Williams University in the seven-team race 23-45. The Judges had six out of the top 10 runners.

Co-captain, Jarret Harrigan ’15, ran a time of 15:21 in the 5K race to place second overall. This was the second time Harrigan narrowly missed winning the race, as he placed behind Ed Colvin ’14 last year. He called the team’s performance “very encouraging,” citing the work done during the summer as an asset to returning members and first-years alike.

The summer training regimen was “mostly individual,” according to Harrigan although a few locals did meet at Waltham Pond for runs during the off-season. Another bright spot was the team’s overall health during the off-season. In years past, Harrigan said, “Everybody seemed to have some major setback,” usually in the form of a nagging injury or health problem.

Harrigan remains optimistic about the team’s chances this year, expecting them to finish in the top 10 of the NCAA Division III regional championships. One potential setback he predicts is, “There are more first-years on the team than returning members, which is very rare.” He continued, “In college, [cross country] is like a different sport, since the races are 3,000 meters longer.”

One of the first-years making the transition to the longer races is Ryan Stender ’18. On Aug. 30, Stender “finally broke 16 minutes,” with a posted time of 15:35—his best ever. He landed in fifth place. Though he is just a first-year, he is no newcomer to cross country.

Stender has been running cross country since seventh grade, and he said, “Cross country is definitely different in college because of the training, especially compared to my high school. In high school, we didn’t take breaks, and we didn’t listen to our body. By senior year I felt like my body was deteriorating.” At Brandeis, runners are encouraged to take breaks or slow down if their body is telling them to.

“I just want to contribute to my team as much as I can,” Stender added, “I’m looking forward to running the 8K.” The men’s cross country team races again on Sept. 20 at the UMass Dartmouth Shriners Invitational race. Harrigan stated, “We can build on and continue the enthusiasm until then.”