WALTHAM, Mass. - The Brandeis University men's cross country team is ranked No. 29 in the nation in Division III in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's (USTFCCCA) preseason poll.
The Judges, in head coach John Evans' fifth season at the helm, return six of their top seven finishers from the squad that finished fourth in the University Athletic Association and ninth in New England last season. Brandeis is paced by All-New England and 2007 UAA Rookie of the Year Mekonen Gendebo of Cambridge, Mass. Gendebo, a sophomore, finished ninth at the conference championship meet and 21st at the Division III New England championships last season. Senior co-captain Matt Jennings of Sudbury, Mass., earned a top-50 finish at the New England meet, while fellow senior co-captain Mike Stone of East Falmouth, Mass., and sophomore Paul Norton of Amherst, Mass., also scored for the Judges at both New Englands and UAAs. Sophomores Dan Anastos of Peabody, Mass., and Zach Schwartz of Newtown, Conn., are also among the top-seven returnees for coach Evans. Among the top newcomers to the team are Marc Boutin of Westford, Mass., and Chris Brown of North Chelmsford, Mass. Boutin is a three-time Lowell Sun All-Star in cross country who holds several Westford Academy school records, while Brown was the individual Merrimack Valley Conference champion while at Chelmsford High School, earning Lowell Sun Runner of the Year honors and Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic honors.
In addition to Brandeis, UAA squads Carnegie Mellon University (5th), Washington University (23rd), Case Western Reserve University (24th) and defending UAA and national champions New York University (26th) are in the USTFCCCA top 35, as are New England institutions Williams College (6th), Amherst College (8th), Trinity College (15th), Keene State College (20th) and MIT (27th).
The Brandeis men's and women's cross country teams open their season on Friday, August 29 at 3:00 p.m. against cross-town rival Bentley College. The meet will be held at Weston High School.
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