November 22, 2008

Men's cross country finishes 20th at nationals

HANOVER, Ind. -- In their first appearance at the NCAA Division III Championships in 10 years, the Brandeis men's cross country team turned in a 20th-place finish among the 32 teams in the field. The Judges scored 512 points, 17 ahead of Augustana (Ill.) College and 30 behind Heidelberg (Ohio).

Brandeis was paced by sophomore Paul Norton (Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional), who has been the team's top performer all season long. Norton finished in 39th place overall out of 280 competitors, covering the 8K course in 25:02.44. He just missed All-American status , finishing less than three seconds out of the top 35. Norton was the fifth UAA competitor to cross the line and the ninth New England runner. He was also the fifth underclassman to finish.

Rookie Marc Boutin (Westford, Mass./Westford Acad.) was the Judges' second finisher, coming in 129th with a time of 25:46.63. He was eighth freshman to finish the race. Classmate Chris Brown  (No. Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) came in 155th with a time of 25:54.84, 11th among rookie runners.

Sophomore Kerwin Vega (Waltham, Mass./Waltham) had a fine race, coming in 186th with a time of 26:07.23, while classmate Zach Schwartz (Newtown, Conn./Newtown) rounded out the Brandeis scorers with a time of 26:11.59, good for 198th place.

Senior Mike Stone (E. Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth) and rookie Dan Anastos (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans) were the Judges' other two competitors, coming with times of 26:22.81 and 26:29.89, respectively, good for 220th and 239th.

The Judges, ranked 29th in the nation entering the meet, finished third among New England schools, behind Williams (3rd place) and Trinity (7th) and ahead of Amherst (24th), who had finished in second at the regional championships. The Judges were fourth among UAA schools, trailing NYU (12th), Carnegie Mellon (13th) and Emory (18th) and in front of Case Western Reserve (29th). Brandeis will return six of its top seven runners from this meet in 2009, and will welcome back sophomore Mekonen Gendobo (Cambridge, Mass./Cambridge Rindge and Latin), the 2007 UAA Rookie of the Year, from injury. SUNY-Cortland won the championship with 80 points, 35 ahead of North Central College. Hamilton College junior Peter Kosgei won the meet with a time of 24:22.03, 10 seconds ahead of Willy Kaul of the University of Wisconsin-Osh Kosh.