BOSTON, Mass. – The Brandeis University indoor track and field teams had a strong opening to their season at the 2017 UMass Boston Winter Open at the Reggie Lewis Center.
There were plenty of top 5 performances highlighted by wins from graduate student Irie Gourde (Portland, Ore./York School, Ontario) and Lisbeth Valdez (Providence, R.I./Hope) in the 400m and 800m respectively. Gourde cruised home in a time of 49.88, more than two seconds faster than he opened his season a year ago. Valdez is just a first year but she did not look it in her first collegiate track race taking the win in 2:27.10.
Gourde returned later in the 200 to take 3rd in 22.62 while Lisbeth's twin sister, Leinni Valdez (Providence, R.I./Hope) did double duty in the 500m and 200m taking second in the 500m in 1:20.92.
There were two other top 5 finishes in the sprints. One came from sophomore Jack Allan (Wrentham, Mass. / King Phillip Regional) who placed 5th in the 60m hurdles final in a time of 8.79 seconds. That time is significantly faster than the 9.37 he put up at this meet last year and very much in line with times he was achieving much later during last season. The other top-five performance came from first year Patrick Quinlan (Northampton, Mass./Northampton) who placed 5th overall in the 400m with a time of 51.18 seconds.
The top performance in the field came from sophomore Churchill Perry (Pembroke Pines, Fla. / Westminster Academy). After running the 400m earlier in the meet Perry switched onto the runway and placed second in the triple jump, his signature event, with a distance of 13.44m (44-01.25). That jump was almost a foot longer than Perry's debut with last year.
The top distance performances of the day came in the women's 3000m and the men's mile. In the women's 3000-meters Judges went 3 and 5 with rookie Niamh Kenney (Hanover, Mass./Hanover) breaking eleven minutes for the first in her career. Kenney's official time was 10:58.34 and she was closely followed by junior Christine Minor (Alameda, Calf. / Alameda) who crossed was 5th in 11:10.2.
In the men's mile the Judges again put two in the top 5 with senior Max Whitmore (Wayne, N.J./Newark Academy) capturing 4th place with a time of 4:29.24 and rookie Harper Pollio-Barbee (Philadelphia, Pa./Penn Charter) crossing 5th with a time of 4:30.89. The final top 5 performance to round out the day came from sophomore Brian Gao (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) who ran a huge 3000m personal best when he crossed the line in 4th in a time of 9:11.92, lowering his time by 13 seconds.
The Judges also sent a contingent to Boston University, setting a trio of personal-bests in the process. Junior Doyin Ogundiran (Dix Hills, N.Y. / Half Hollow Hills East) placed third overall and tops among D3 in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:59.18, qualifying for the Open New England championships in the process. Junior Julia Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) put in a 15th-place performance in the 3K with a time of 10:20.84, third among Division III runners. Senior Ryan Stender (Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional) rounded out the PRs for the men, taking 19th as the top D3 runner in a loaded 5K field with a time of 14:38.96, seventh in his heat. Junior Emily Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) ran in the women's 5K, placing 31st with a time of 17:31.70.
The Judges will take a hiatus for the end of the semester but return to action at the start of the spring term when they compete at home on Jan 13th at the Reggie Poyau Memorial Invitational.
-- By Eli Waxler '19