Women's DMR finishes 3rd at NCAAs, earns All-America status

All-Americans Doyin Ogundiran, Lisbeth Valdez, Julia Bryson and Emily Bryson!
All-Americans Doyin Ogundiran, Lisbeth Valdez, Julia Bryson and Emily Bryson!

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Brandeis University track and field teams had a fine first day of action at the 2018 NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships at the Birmingham Crossplex. The Judges produced an All-American relay and a school record on the women's side and an All-America caliber performance on the men's side.

For the Brandeis women, the Judges competed in the final race of the day, the distance medley relay, and the Judges finished in third place to claim All-America honors.

Brandeis ran three juniors and one first-year. Junior Julia Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) opened up with the 1,200-meter leg, handing off to rookie Lisbeth Valdez (Providence, R.I./Hope) for the 400-meters. Junior Doyin Ogundiran (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills East) took the 800-meter leg, and moved the Judges into the top eight, All-American position. She passed the baton to junior Emily Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy), and the nation's second-ranked miler pushed the Judges into third place, nipping regional rivals MIT down the stretch.

With their time of 11:42.97, the quartet matched Brandeis's 2010 and 2003 DMR third-place performances and broke the school record set in 2003 by 0.39 seconds.

"Everyone ran brilliantly," said head coach Sinead Evans. "It's such a tactical race. Julia did exactly what we wanted her to do leading off. Lisbeth – a freshman at her first nationals, who has been so consistent all season long – executed her plan just like she wanted to. Doyin ran one of her fastest 800s of the season and brought everyone back in, and Emily just reeled them in. It was an exciting race."

This is the fourth overall All-America honor for Emily Bryson, whose previous three came during cross country season, and the first for the other three runners on the squad. Emily will compete in tomorrow's 3,000-meter run at 5:45 p.m. Eastern time, where she will try to become the first woman to win multiple All-America honors for Brandeis at the same meet since Mariko Tansey Holbrook Neveu '03 in 2003.

On the men's side, graduate student Irie Gourde (Portland, Oregon/York Academy, Toronto) advanced to tomorrow's final in the 200-meter dash. Running in the inside lane in the third of four heats, Gourde posted a time of 21.91 seconds to finish second in the heat. Seeded 10th in the event, he posted the fifth-fastest time in prelims. Gourde will earn All-America honors when he races tomorrow in the finals at 5:05 p.m. Eastern time.

Gourde's first race of the day was the 400-meter dash. He ran in the last of four heats and posted a time of 48.78 seconds. He was third in his heat and 13th overall, missing a spot in the finals by 0.32 seconds.

With the six points scored by the Brandeis women, the Judges are in a tie for 16th place, with most of the event finals to be run tomorrow. This will mark the first time since 2011 the Brandeis women will have scored at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.