National Champs! DMR takes Brandeis's first-ever relay title

National Champs! Julia Bryson '19, Devin Hiltunen '22, Doyin Ogundiran '19 and Emily Bryson '19 stand atop the podium!
National Champs! Julia Bryson '19, Devin Hiltunen '22, Doyin Ogundiran '19 and Emily Bryson '19 stand atop the podium!

BOSTON, Mass. – Competing at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston tonight, the Brandeis University women's track and field team delivered the Judges' first-ever relay national title, winning the distance medley relay in school-record fashion with a time of 11:40.64.

Senior Julia Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) led off the race with the 1,200-meter leg. She ran 3:37.07 and handed off to rookie Devin Hiltunen (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) for the 400 leg in fifth place. Hiltunen was able to maintain her position and passed off to senior Doyin Ogundiran (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills East) just a shade out of fifth place after running a leg of 59.70. Ogundiran bided her time for the first three laps then pushed into the second position, running a leg of 2:13.75, the second-fastest 800 of the race. Ogunidiran hand edit off to senior Emily Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy). The nation's fastest miler this season ran in second place for the first seven laps, and as she has all season long, kicked into the lead on the final lap. Bryson ran 4:50.10, including a 31-second final lap to earn Brandeis its first-ever national championship in a relay, men or women.

"Everyone ran beautifully today," said head coach Sinead Delahunty Evans. "They executed the plan perfectly. Julia put us in a great position to start the race. Devin's 400 was terrific, for a first-year runner to stay competitive the way she did, was awesome. Doyin ran the way she has all season, stayed really patient and paced herself, pushing when she needed to. And the Emily ran the way she has all season long, running comfortably until it was time to close it out."

Last year, the Bryson sisters and Ogundiran, along with sophomore Lisbeth Valdez (Providence, R.I./Hope) finished in third place at last year's national championships, tying for the best-ever relay performance at nationals.

Earlier in the day, Bryson qualified for tomorrow's finals in the mile run. The top seed entering the meet with a season-best time of 4:45.48, the fourth-fastest time in Division III history, Bryson did just enough to reach the finals, knowing she had another race ahead of her in the day. She finished third in the event's second heat with a mark of 5:03.35, eighth-fastest among the two preliminary races. Rookie Jac Guerra (Guilford, Conn./Guilford) was also in the mile as the meet's 16th seed. In the same heat as Bryson, Guerra finished in seventh place with a time of 5:05.39, putting him just a shade under a second shy of qualifying for the finals. Guerra was the only first-year runner to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships in the mile.

Bryson will go for her eighth career All-America and third career national championship tomorrow afternoon at 3:05 p.m. in the mile run. With her win tonight, Emily Bryson becomes just the fifth Brandeis track and field athlete – male or female – to earn multiple national championships and just the third to do so in two different events. For Julia Bryson and Doyin Ogundiran, this is their second career All-America honor, to go with last year's DMR, and the first for Hiltunen in her first season running for the Judges.

With the 10 points earned by the team, the Judges are in a tie with six other teams for fourth place in the team standings.