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Sports in Brief
At an age when many major-league baseball pitchers are considering retirement, 36-year-old right-hander Nelson Figueroa ’98 is enjoying his greatest success. Figueroa, the only Brandeis graduate ever to make the Major Leagues, signed a one-year contract with the Houston Astros for the 2011 season. After being claimed off waivers by the Astros in July 2010, he went 5-3 with a 3.22 earned run average in 18 games (10 starts). In eight major-league seasons with six different teams, he is 20-32 with a 4.29 ERA.
The Judges won an NCAA Division 3 tournament game for the first time ever when they defeated Castleton State, 2-1, thanks to goals from Mary Shimko ’14 and Hilary Andrews ’14. It was just the second time in school history that the team had qualified for the NCAAs. The Judges finished 15-5-1. The seniors won 51 games in their careers, the most of any class in program history. Tiffany Pacheco ’11 became Brandeis’ all-time assist leader (29), while Sofia Vallone ’11 tied the single-season goal record (17).
The men’s cross-country team finished 16th at the NCAA Division 3 Championships at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. It was the Judges’ best showing at nationals since finishing eighth in 1998. Leading the way was 70th-place finisher Paul Norton ’11, who covered the eight-kilometer course in 25 minutes, 17.3 seconds. His time was 20 seconds faster than his pace in 2009, when he finished seventh overall to earn All-America honors.
Three former Brandeis basketball players are in the NBA — although not on the court. Kwame Graves-Fulgham ’08 serves as head video coordinator for the Cleveland Cavaliers after assisting in the video room for the Boston Celtics for two years. Two of his former teammates, Joe Coppens ’08 and Kevin Olson ’09, are interns with the Chicago Bulls.
Former Brandeis Athletic Director Nick Rodis received the James Lynah Distinguished Service Award from the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Rodis served as AD from 1967 to 1984, helping Brandeis capture its only two NCAA Division 3 national championships — men’s soccer (1976) and men’s cross-country (1983).