Brief Spotlight: Emily Bryson ’19

Emily Bryson
Emily Bryson

Hometown: Quincy, Massachusetts.

Studies: Double major in biology and Health: Science, Society and Policy. Minor in French.

Career plans: Clinical research and advanced study.

Motto: “When you put in the hard work, all you have to do on race day is be brave.”

* * * * * *

In March, she was seeded 17th — last — in the women’s 3,000-meter run at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships, held in Birmingham, Alabama.

Even so, Emily Bryson ’19 wasn’t as nervous as she usually is before a race. That’s because only a day earlier, competing with her twin, Julia ’19, also a Brandeis student, her team placed third in the distance medley relay, setting a school record with a time of 11 minutes, 42.97 seconds.

Call it bravery, talent, determination or all those things, in the 3,000-meter Bryson succeeded in pulling ahead — way ahead — of the pack during the final two laps, running the final 200 meters in 30.67 seconds, by far the swiftest lap of the race.

When she crossed the finish line at 9:33.99 — a full five seconds ahead of the second-place finisher — Bryson was Brandeis’ first national champion since 1999 in the NCAA Division III 3,000-meter. Hers was the ninth-fastest time in Division III history.

Bryson was inundated with congratulatory text messages and feted with a university-wide bash back at Brandeis. “It was surreal seeing how many people cared about me and were invested in my race,” she says.

She and her twin sister started running at age 5 alongside their father, until they were routinely leaving him in the dust. “He watched us get faster and faster, but he stayed the same,” she says.

Bryson says her talent has been fueled by running 50-60 miles every week, having teammates who cheer her on and exceptional coaching.

“Running requires such mental fortitude. It’s a skill that’s hard to develop and something I’m constantly working on,” says the five-time All-American.

Bryson touts the sport’s beneficial effects on other aspects of her life. “Pushing myself to be a better athlete has helped me become a better student,” she says. “I apply the determination I’ve developed in running to other aspects of my life.

“I want to run for the rest of my life. That’s the plan.”