WALTHAM, Massachusetts – The Brandeis men's and women's cross country teams have earned preseason national rankings released by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) today. The men are ranked 32nd in the first poll of the season, while the women check in at 33rd.
This marks the first pre-season ranking for the Brandeis men since 2011, while the women are ranked for the third time in four years and 33rd for the second year in a row.
Both teams welcome back a majority of their top seven runners from a year ago, including one national qualifier from each.
The men finished ninth in the region a year ago and return five of their top seven from New Englands. Senior Ryan Stender (Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional) finished 11th overall at the regional meet, Brandeis's best finish at the meet since 2010. Stender went on to represent the Judges at the NCAA Championships, where he just missed out on All-America status by finishing 37th overall, 1.8 seconds out of the top 35.
Classmate Mitchell Hutton (Villa Park, Calif./Villa Park) also earned All-New England honors by taking 23rd overall at the New England meet. The duo also placed second and fourth, respectively, at the University Athletic Association championships.
Other top-seven returnees for the Judges include seniors Liam Garvey (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield) and Brian Sheppard (Whitman, Mass./Whitman-Hanson Regional) and sophomore Samuel Reich (New York, N.Y. / H.S. of American Studies at Lehman College).
Garvey, Hutton and Stender will serve as tri-captains this year.
The women, who placed sixth in New England last year at the regional meet, bring back junior All-American Emily Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy), who finished 24th at the NCAA Division III Championships to claim her second All-America honor and took 15th at the New England championships. Twin sister Julia Bryson (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) just missed out on All-New England honors by placing 37th, just four seconds shy of the top 35.
Shreeve and both Bryson sisters will serve as team captains this year.
The Brandeis cross country squads open their season on Friday evening at Wellesley College for the Wellesley Invitational starting at 6:15 p.m. The 2017 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships will be held Saturday, November 18, in Elsah, Illinois at the North Farm Facility. Principia College will serve as host of the meet.