Brandeis track sends six to nationals

Brandeis sends six to NCAAs.

WALTHAM, Mass. – Six members of the Brandeis University indoor track and field team will represent the Judges at the 2018 NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships this weekend in Birmingham, Alabama. The Judges have two individuals and one relay team headed to the championships, which begin on Friday, March 9. This will be Brandeis's largest contingent at nationals since 1999.

For the women, the Judges will send the second-ranked distance medley relay in the nation. The team of junior Julia Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) on the 1200m leg, rookie Lisbeth Valdez (Providence, R.I./Hope) on the 400m leg, junior Doyin Ogundiran (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills East) taking the 800m leg and junior Emily Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) anchoring on the 1600 won the event this past weekend at the Tufts Nationals Qualifier with a time of 11:47.36. When their time is converted to a banked-track time, it ranks just 0.48 behind the national leaders. Brandeis rookie Leinni Valdez (Providence, R.I./Hope), who was part of the Judges' University Athletic Association championship team, will go to the championships as an alternate. This is Brandeis's first DMR to compete at nationals since 2010. The women's distance medley relay will be held on Friday at 6:25 pm Central/7:25 Eastern, the final event of the day.

In order to have the best chance at a national championship in the DMR, Ogundiran, who is ranked seventh nationally in the 800-meter run, and Emily Bryson, who is ranked second in the mile, will forgo competing in those events to focus on the relay. Bryson will compete in one individual event, the 3,000-meter run. She finished 14th in the nation in the event last year and enters this year's meet as the 17th seed. Her time of 9:54.68 won the UAA championship and earned entry into the nationals in the final slot in the event. The women's 3,000-meter run will be held Saturday at 4:45 pm Central/5:45 Eastern.

On the men's side, graduate student Irie Gourde (Portland, Ore./York Academy, Toronto) will compete in two events. Gourde is tied for second in the rankings in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.81 seconds and his time of 22.09 seconds is seeded 10th at nationals after track conversion. Gourde, who joined the team last year as a senior, will be making his first trip to the NCAA championships during the indoor season. He finished 18th in the 400 last spring in the outdoor season. Last week, he was named the UAA most outstanding performer in running events after winning the 200 and finishing second in the 400. Prelim races for the men's 400-meters are Friday at 3:05 p.m., while the 200 prelims are at 4:15, with finals at 3:15 and 4:05, respectively, on Saturday. (Times listed are Central - add one hour for Eastern times.)