Norton takes third to lead men's x-country to fourth at regionals, earn NCAA berth
CUMBERLAND, Maine - Brandeis University junior Paul Norton (Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional) led three Judges' cross country runners who claimed All-New England status today at the 2009 NCAA Division III New England Regional championships at Twin Brooks in Cumberland, Maine. Norton finished third overall, helping the Brandeis men to a fourth-place finish at the regionals for the second year in a row, high enough to earn a second-straight at-large berth at the NCAA championships.
Norton finished the 8K course in third place with a time of 25:17.5, a mere 1.3 seconds behind race winner Edgar Kosgey of Williams. He improved six spots from his sophomore performance and had the best finish by a Brandeis runner in at least 10 years. Also garnering All-New England status for the second year in a row were the sophomore tandem of Chris Brown (No. Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) and Marc Boutin (Westford, Mass./Westford Acad.). Brown improved four places upon his finish from 2008, coming in 18th with a time of 25:52.9. Boutin dropped nine places, but still finished 32nd in 26:17.2.
Junior Devon Holgate (Cumberland, R.I./Cumberland) continued his fine season with a 42nd-place finish and time of 26:27.1 in his first-ever regional meet. Junior Ben Bray (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) gave Brandeis five of the top 50 runners, coming in 50th overall with a time of 26:33.0. It was just the second time this season Bray cracked the Judges' top five. Juniors Kerwin Vega (Waltham, Mass./Waltham) and Dan Anastos (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans) were the team's sixth and seventh runners. They finished in 94th and 152nd place, respectively, with times of 27:17.8 and 28.16.8.
With 145 points, Brandeis finished fourth behind three nationally-ranked teams: No. 10 Williams (53 points), No. 22 Amherst (104 points) and No. 23 Keene State (132 points). They came in ahead of No. 19 Southern Maine (9th place, 200 points) and No. 29 Tufts (8th place, 194 points). The Judges will compete in the national champions at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio. With their 23rd trip to the NCAA Division III Championships, Brandeis has made more appearances at NCAAs than any other New England institution and rank seventh among all DIII schools. The Judges are making back-to-back appearances at nationals for the first time since 1997 and 98.