CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Brandeis track and field team had two stellar NCAA-qualifying performances and one school record today as the Judges competed at the MIT Last Chance Meet ahead of Saturday's announcement of the field for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships next week in Wisconsin.
Leading the way for the Judges was a pair of previous NCAA All-Americans, juniors Emily Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) and Doyin Ogundiran (Dix Hill, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills East). Bryson, the NCAA D3 Indoor champion at 3,000 meters this past March, moved into third place in this season's rankings in the 1,500-meter run with a winning time of 4:28.68. The time was Bryson's collegiate best by about two-and-a-half seconds and was just 0.15 seconds off the school record held by Grayce Selig '11. With a few more Last Chance meets still to report results, Bryson has a chance to qualify for nationals in both the 1,500 and the 5,000-meter run, an event in which she entered the day ranked 16th nationally. The top 22 women in individual events will compete at the NCAAs.
Ogundiran finished second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:12.15, which vaulted her into 14th place in the national rankings. She shaved nearly two full seconds off her previous season best. This marked the second year in a row that Ogundiran's performance at MIT launched her into the season's ultimate meet, as she ran a lifetime best 2:11.48 last year at this event. Ogundiran will be aiming for her first individual All-America honor, having won as part of the third-place distance medley relay team indoors.
Also competing for the women was Emily's twin sister Julia Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy), who placed ninth in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:42.82, the second-fastest time of her collegiate career.
On the men's side, the most notable performance came from the 4x100-meter relay team. Ranked in the top 35 heading into the meet, the Judges needed to shave about four-tenths of a second off their time to reach the top 16 relays that qualify for the NCAAs. The quartet of sophomore Lorenzo Maddox (Atlanta, Ga./Maynard Jackson), graduate student Irie Gourde (Portland, Ore./York Academy, Toronto), sophomore Churchill Perry (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Westminster School) and junior Regan Charie (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet Regional) finished in third place with a time of 41.76 seconds. Though it wasn't quite fast enough to get them into the top 10, the mark did lower their own school record by one-tenth of a second. It was the third straight week the record has been lowered.
The Judges also had a trio of field event competitors on the afternoon. Perry was able to improve his lifetime best outdoor performance in the triple jump with a distance of 14.15 meters (46 feet, 5 ¼ inches), and he will finish among the top 50 in Division III in the event. Junior Scott Grote (Greenfield, Mass./Greenfield) also placed third in his event, the discus, with a throw of 48.55 meters (159 feet, 3 inches), which leaves him about three feet short of a spot at nationals. Rookie Breylen Ammen (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) placed fourth in the pole vault with a height of 4.39 meters (14 feet, 4 ¾ inches), a bit short of his school record set at the University Athletic Association championships.
The Judges now look to have three competitors in five events at next week's NCAA Championships at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse: Emily Bryson in the 1,500 and 5,000; and Doyin Ogundiran in the 800 for the women; and Irie Gourde in the 200m and 400m dashes for the men. The field will be officially announced on Saturday morning.