Stender, Hutton claim All-New Englands as men's x-country finishes ninth

Ryan Stender '18 (Photo courtesy Westfield State)
Ryan Stender '18 (Photo courtesy Westfield State)

WESTFIELD, Mass. – The Brandeis men's cross country team had a pair of All-New England performances as the Judges finished in ninth place at the 2016 NCAA Division III New England Championships at Stanley Park, hosted by Westfield State University.

The Judges' team finish was a five-place improvement from 2015. Leading the way was junior Ryan Stender (Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional). Running close to home, Stender covered the eight-kilometer course in 25:00.91 to finish in 11th place and missing a top-10 performance by less than a second. Stender, who missed New Englands a year ago due to injury, turned in Brandeis's best finish at regionals since 2010. He is on pace to earn his second career berth at the NCAA Championships next weekend in Louisville, Kentucky, as one of the top finishers from a team that did not qualify for nationals. Stender previously represented the Judges at the 2016 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships. This is his first All-Region honor in cross country.

Classmate Mitchell Hutton (Villa Park, Calif./Villa Park) earned his first career All-Region honor by placing 23rd overall with a time of 25:17.12. Hutton was the team's top finisher at New Englands last year when he came in in 41st overall, earning an improvement of 18 spots. Hutton also shaved more than half a minute from his previous effort on the course at Westfield State earlier this season.

Junior Liam Garvey (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield) showed a dramatic improvement from previous New England performances to finish third for Brandeis. Garvey finished in 47th place with a time of 25:42.24. Garvey went from 135th as a freshman to 78th last year before improving by 31 spots this year. He also took nearly 20 seconds off his best time on the course.

Senior Quinton Hoey (Watertown, Conn./Watertown) ran in his final career cross race, coming in 65th overall with a time of 25:59.49. It was Hoey's second-best finish at New Englands, behind a 57th-place performance as a sophomore and 121st last season when he wasn't completely healthy.

Junior Bryan Sheppard (Whitman, Mass./Whitman Hanson Regional) rounded out the Brandeis top five with a 129th-place finish and a time of 27:04.57. Rookie Samuel Reich (New York, N.Y. / H.S. of American Studies at Lehman College) and senior Brad Payne (Westport, Conn./Westport) rounded out the Judges' top seven by placing 156th and 172nd overall in times of 27:28.96 and 27:39.16.

As a team, the Judges collected 275 points, just nine behind eighth-place Bowdoin.