KEENE, N.H. – The Brandeis University men's cross country team had two of the top three finishers to take second place at the Keene State Invitational today, while the women put three in the top 20 to place third.
The men were paced by the duo of junior Mark Murdy (Plantsville, Conn. / Southington) and sophomore Matthew Driben (Reading, Pa. / Wyomissing). Murdy placed second overall, seven seconds off the winning pace with a time of 26:04.4, while Driben was about four seconds behind that in 26:08.3. Murdy took 36 seconds off his time from the same course from his rookie season, when he finished eighth in the race, while Driben's third-place finish is his highest collegiate finish for a five-mile course.
The Judges placed two other runners among the top 25, with senior Dan Curley (Norwood, Mass./Norwood) taking 17th in 26:52.1 and classmate Alec Rodgers (Wakefield, Mass. / Wakefield Memorial) taking 23rd in 27:09.7. The placements were both collegiate bests in 5-mile races for both runners, with Curley setting a p.r. by just about a second and Rogers missing his by four-tenths of a second.
Rookie Casey Brackett (Wakefield, Mass. / Wakefield Memorial) rounded out the scorers for the men with a time of 27:45.4, good for 42nd place overall. Seniors Jacob Judd (West Hartford, Conn. / Conard) and Brian Gao (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) rounded out the top seven, placing 53rd (28:15.6) and 86th (29:11.4), respectively.
The men finished with 83 points, five ahead of UMass Dartmouth and 29 behind champions Williams.
On the women's side, senior Danielle Bertaux (Prides Crossing, Mass./Beverly) ran for the first time this season and placed eighth overall with a time of 18:38.0 over five kilometers. It was her fastest career 5K cross country race by 21 seconds and her second time under 19 minutes. Sophomore Erin Magill (South Duxbury, Vt. / Harwood Union) was the team's second runner with a time of 18:44.4, good for 12th place overall. She shaved 10 seconds of her lifetime best for 5K, set just last week. Junior Andrea Bolduc (Auburn, Mass. / Auburn) rounded out the top-20 finishers for the Judges with a time of 19:09.6, good for 19th place. That was a half a minute faster than Bolduc's previous run at Keene State as a freshman.
Sophomore Hannah Walsh (Fairfield, Maine/Lawrence) was the team's fourth runner, coming in 43rd with a time of 19:50.8, breaking 20 minutes for the first time over 5K, running nearly a minute faster than she had the week before. Junior Leinni Valdez (Providence, R.I./Hope) rounded out the team's scorers with a time of 20:07.3, good for 54th place. She was 26 seconds faster than in her rookie campaign at Keene State.
Sophomores Kate Danziger (Potomac, Md./Winston Churchill) and Elizabeth Dunphy (Cary, N.C./Cary) completed the top seven with times of 20:47.0 and 21:51.0, good for 80th and 122nd places, respectively.
The women's 131 points were tied with Westfield State but won on tiebreakers, as the Judges' third, fourth and fifth runners placed higher than WSU's.
The Judges return to action on October 19th, when the men travel to Connecticut College, while the women split their squad, sending some to Conn. and the rest to Wisconsin for the Kollege Town Sports Invitational at UW-Oshkosh.