PITTSBURGH, Pa. — The Brandeis University women's cross country team had its best performance in more than a decade at the University Athletic Association (UAA) championships today. The Judges placed third out of eight teams at the meet, held at Carnegie Mellon University, besting a pair of nationally-ranked squads in the process.
In a field boasting six nationally-ranked teams, the 33rd-ranked Judges earned 88 points, trailing champions #9 Chicago (54 points) and #8 NYU (60 points) but ahead of #10 Washington University (92 points), #20 Case Western Reserve (110 points) and #34 Rochester (149 points).
The Judges, who finished in eighth place with 193 points a year ago, improved by 105 points for their five-spot improvement. Their third-place finish was their best at UAAs since coming in second in 2002. The only other time in the past 11 years that Brandeis has finished in the top half of the conference came in 2009, when they placed fourth overall.
"I am really proud of the way we ran today," said head coach John Evans. "Hopefully this will give us a real shot at qualifying for nationals."
Individually, Brandeis had three All-UAA performances, their most since 2000, when they won the Association title.
Leading the way for the Judges was senior Amelia Lundkvist (So. Portland, Maine/Cheverus). Lundkvist covered the six-kilometer course in 22:02.5 to finish in third place overall and claim first-team All-Association honors. She turned in the highest finish by a Brandeis woman since Grayce Selig '11 was the runner-up in 2010. Lundkvist improved her spot at UAAs by 26 places by shaving 1:32 off her time from her junior campaign. She finished only behind the defending UAA champion, Washington University's Lucy Cheadle, and Chicago's Catherine Young.
Brandeis's second runner was rookie Maddie Dolins (Highland Park, Ill./Highland Park), who finished ninth place overall. In the process, she earned second-team All-UAA honors and, as the top first-year finisher, was named the 2013 UAA Rookie of the Year. With a time of 22:35.4, she was within 16 seconds of earning first-team All-UAA honors. Dolins is the first woman in school history named UAA Cross Country Rookie of the Year, and the fourth runner under Evans to earn the honor.
Also claiming All-Association honors for the Brandeis women was senior Victoria Sanford (LaGrangeville, N.Y./Arlington), who came in 12th overall with a time of 22:43.0. Sanford was the team's top runner at UAAs a year ago, when she came in 21st overall. Her nine-spot improvement in the standings was coupled with an 18-second improvement by time.
Brandeis's final two scorers were sophomore Kelsey Whitaker (Kingston, Mass./Notre Dame Acad.) and rookie Ashley Piccirillo-Horan (North Granby, Conn./Granby Memorial). Whitaker improved by 43 places to come in 29th overall. Her time of 23:18.9 represented a two-minute improvement over her first UAA race. Piccirillo-Horan came in 35th with a time of 23:33.5.
Brandeis will compete next in two weeks at the NCAA Division III Championship Qualifiers at the University of Southern Maine.
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