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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Both Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams welcome new members to bolster already strong squads

Published: August 29, 2008
Section: Sports

While many students were finishing up their summer breaks, both the men’s and women’s Cross Country teams arrived a week early to Brandeis in order to prepare for the upcoming year. Both squads come off strong seasons, as each team made respectable progress last Fall. The men ran strong all throughout the season and posted a fifth place finish at the UAA Championship meet in October. This mark was merely four points away from a top three finish, and Brandeis runner Mekonen Gendebo ’11 claimed Rookie of the Year status at that competition. The women likewise ran some strong races last season, culminating in a sixth place finish at the UAA meet hosted by Brandeis and an 18th place mark at the New England Division Three competition.

The men’s squad will be losing some of its runners this Fall as several athletes on the team graduated in the Spring. The team loses John Guilinger ’08, a strong runner who faced some injuries last season. He was a formidable athlete and had posted notable times in both the Cross Country and Track seasons. The team also said goodbye to Tim Condon ’08 and Dan Suher ’08, both longtime runners on the squad. The women’s team, however, will be returning all its members, and the group is happy to be returning in full. “It’s really exciting because the girls team didn’t lose any seniors last year,” commented Beth Pisaruk ’10. “And I can tell that everyone worked hard over the summer to come back stronger than ever.”

The women are welcoming a talented class of four new first-year runners. Some of these athletes are siblings of recent or current members of the team. Erin Bisceglia ’12 is the sister of Cross Country star Megan Bisceglia ’07. The team also welcomes Alyssa Pisarik ’12 who is the sister of current runner Beth Pisarik ’10. In addition, the women welcome two more runners who excelled in the high school Massachusetts Cross Country circuit. Kate Warwick ‘12 and Molly Shanley ‘12 are now on the roster, and if their collegiate running is as good as their high school achievement, these women will be a true resource to the team.

The squad is excited about these newcomers and the contribution that they will make to the program. “The freshmen girls are awesome,” commented Co-Captain Katy Agule about the rookie runners. She went on to explain, “I feel like they already fit in with the other girls really well and they already know what is expected of them and have come back to school in great shape.”

The men welcome five new athletes to the roster, each of them providing speed and energy to the team. Veteran runners express much confidence in their first-year teammates. “We welcome a class of true distance runners,” explained Mike Stone ‘09 about his new teammates. “We have much more depth and quality depth at that.” These runners will hopefully help fill the gaps left by departing seniors and give the team new vigor to attack the upcoming season.

The women seem excited about their potential for the upcoming season. Beth Pisarik ‘10 is optimistic about the future of both squads this year. “All in all I think we will have a great season on both the girls and the guys side of the program,” commented Pisarik. “Brandeis will definitely be a Division III powerhouse and a tough force to reckon with throughout the Fall.” Co-Captain Katy Agule ‘09 echoed similar sentiments: “I am really excited about this upcoming year.” She continued by commenting, “Everyone came back in great shape, and we are a really tight knit team. Everyone is ready to run really fast this season and, just like the freshmen, ready to dedicate themselves to cross-country and beyond.”

Members of the men’s team expressed similar feelings but conveyed some obstacles to their prospects for this year. “Given our larger numbers, we will have challenges in communication to overcome,” related runner Mike Stone ‘09. “But in general, having numerous talented and hard-working runners will be a boon for the program for years to come.”

The team will compete this weekend at Weston high school against cross-town rivals Bentley College. The meet is more of a laid back competition for the Judges but will prepare them for more important performances later in the season. The upcoming competition will also be a good indication of how the team stands as they welcome new teammates and say goodbye to veteran runners.