Kenney leads women to victory at Wellesley

Niamh Kenney '22 (Photo by
Niamh Kenney '22 (Photo by

WELLESLEY, Mass. – The Brandeis University cross country teams opened their 2021 seasons today, their first in two years, by competing at the Wellesley College Invitational. The women prevailed over four other teams, finishing with 33 points to 40 for second-place WPI. In the men's race the Judges placed second out of three teams, finishing behind the Engineers, 17-45.

In the women's race, Brandeis had five of the top 12 runners and seven of the top 18 to take the win. Senior Niamh Kenney (Hanover, Mass./Hanover) returned to the Judges after a year off and showed fine form, finishing the five-kilometer course in 18:35.5, five seconds off the winning pace set by Lauren Selkin of Mount Holyoke. It was a 5K PR for Kenney by 25 seconds. Senior Erin Magill (South Duxbury, Vt./Harwood Union) placed third overall with a time of 18:44.7, just three-tenths of a second off her career-best for 5K. The team's second co-captain, senior Natalie Hattan (Sugar Land, Texas/Fort Bend Clemente) ran third, placing sixth overall with a time of 19:13.2 for a massive PR, as she broke 20 minutes for the first time in a varsity 5K.

The next group of Judges finished in a pack a bit further back, with junior Bridget Pickard (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) placing 11th overall with a time of 19:32.1, also her first time under 20 minutes in a collegiate 5K, lowering her PR by 35 seconds. Sophomore Juliette Intrieri (North Salem, N.Y./North Salem) made her college cross country debut by rounding out the scorers with a time of 19:34.4, good for 12th overall. A pair of true first-year runners rounded out Brandeis's top seven, with Kayla DiBenedetto (Andover, Mass./Andover) placing 14th in 19:361 and Zada Forde (Leverett, Mass./Amherst Regional).

In addition to Brandeis and WPI, Wellesley finished third (93 pts.), Mount Holyoke fourth (97 pts.) and Regis fifth (122 pts.).

On the men's side, senior Matthew Driben (Reading, Pa. / Wyomissing) also made his return after a year off and showed no rust, finishing fourth overall. The men also ran a five-kilometer race, and Driben crossed the line in 16:11.2, a 24-second improvement of his previous effort on the course in 2018. Driben was 12 seconds off the winning time turned in by David Reynolds of WPI. With his fourth-place finish, Driben prevented the Engineers from turning in a perfect score, as they placed six of the top seven competitors.

Brandeis's next two runners we making their collegiate debuts. Sophomore Walter Tebbetts (Amherst, Mass./Amherst-Pelham Regional) ran eighth overall with a time of 16:42.6, while true first-year Daniel Frost (Hanover, N.H./Hanover) was third for the team and 11th overall in 16:49.8. They were the second and third underclassmen to cross the finish line.

The Judges had a pack of runners round out their scoring performances. Junior Casey Brackett (Wakefield, Mass./Wakefield) was fourth on the squad and 15th overall with a time of 17:12.8. Senior Jac Guerra (Guilford, Conn./Guilford) counted as the fifth runner in his first race on the men's team with a time of 17:20.9, placing 16th. Senior Jacob Grant (Rockville Centre, N.Y. / South Side) placed 17th overall with a time of 17:24.0, while first-years Lucas Dia (Montclair, N.J./Montclair) and Erik Lopez (Stamford, Conn./Westhill) were 18th and 19th, respectively in 17:29.6 and 17:39.0.

Brandeis returns to action on September 18th at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational.