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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Women’s XC finish season strong, Men’s team headed to nationals

Published: November 21, 2008
Section: Sports

Traveling three hours to Williams College this past weekend, the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Teams had great showings at the New England Regional Cross Country competition. The course was muddy and hilly leading to lower than usual times for both squads. Still, the women were able to place 13th at the event of the 49 squads present at the meet. The men also had an extremely successful competition, finishing 4th of the 49 teams on the men’s side. This performance is good enough to earn them a place at the NCAA tournament next weekend, and is the best that the squad has placed in nearly a decade.

Despite several injuries and bad luck during the season, the men were able to compete strong and are now headed to nationals. Leading the men this weekend was Paul Norton ’11. Improving his ranking at the meet from last year by nearly 70 places, Norton ended up finishing ninth at the competition with a time of 26 minutes and 26 seconds. This was good enough to earn him All New-England honors and his success added valuably to the team. Second to cross the line was first-year Chris Brown ‘12 who finished the race in under 27 minutes. Right at his back was classmate Marc Boutin ’12 who placed 23rd at the competition. Boutin was able to claim UAA Rookie of the year earlier this month, and added to his team contributions with his strong performance this past Saturday. Senior Co-Captain Mike Stone ‘09 was the next Brandeis runner to cross the line followed by teammate Kerwin Vega ’11. They rounded out Brandeis’ scoring, and completed the race in under 27 minutes and 30 seconds.

The Women’s team also had a strong performance this weekend as the first Judge to cross the finish line was Marie Lemay ’11, who covered the 6 kilometer course in 24 minutes and 8 seconds. The next two Brandeis runners to score were Alyssa Pisarik ’12 and classmate Kate Warwick ’12. They finished back-to-back, and claimed 58th and 59th places respectively. Teammate Ally Connoly ’10 was the next runner to finish the race, claiming 88th place with a time of 25 minutes and 15 seconds. Classmate Beth Pisarik ‘10 and sibling of teammate Alyssa Pisarik ’12 rounded out the scoring for the judges with a time of 25 minutes and 37 seconds. The Judges improved five places from last year and showed a strong team performance this weekend.

Members of the men’s team were extremely satisfied with their performance this Saturday. All-New England Award Winner Paul Norton ‘11 was hopeful for the team’s chances at nationals and content with the recent performance. “We had a great team day at regionals” commented Norton about the recent meet. “It’s tough to get everyone to run their best all on the same day but I think we came pretty close to that and beat some good teams pretty handily.” He also commented upon the team mindset for the nationals competition. “As far as nationals, we really go in with nothing to lose. We are a team of mostly freshmen and sophomores, and this year the main goal at NCAA’s is to run our best and gain experience so we can come back to the meet next year ready to get on the podium.”

Co-Captain Mike Stone ’09 also had much to say about the obstacles the team faced on the way to their success, and the depth that the team has been able to muster over the past season. “Our team isn’t just 7 runners but over 20 capable athletes who have the work ethic, ambition and the focus to follow through on our stated goals.” Stone also discussed the team’s outlook for the national competition. “While placing 4th at regionals is an accomplishment in itself we look to improve on that performance at Nationals. We will have our eyes set on teams like Trinity and Emory, two squads that have edged us out on days that could have just as easily gone our way. I don’t want to put a specific number on our desired finish at nationals but we will come in with a highly competitive attitude looking to improve our national standing.”

Members of the women’s team were also happy with their recent performance and have high hopes for next season. “Our team improved five places from last year and it’s really exciting since our team is so young” commented Marie Lemay ’11. She went on to say “we performed well this year, but with a little more experience, I feel that we can really make an impact in the coming seasons.”

The women have no more competitions left in the season, but were able to leave on a high note, having improved markedly from their performance last year. The men now have a place at the NCAA tournament, which will take place on November 22nd at Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana. This is the first time in 10 years that the team has made it to the national tournament and Paul Norton ’11 perhaps grasps the sentiments of the team best. “We’re extremely excited to end the 10 year drought of NCAA championship appearances for the men’s team and can’t wait to race there.”