Dee brothers reflect on their individual cross country team experiences at Iona

If you had three brothers on the same collegiate team, you would tend to believe they either get on each other’s nerves or do everything together. However, when it comes to Iona College cross country runners Liam, Jamie and Elliot Dee, that isn’t the case.

Even though all three are on the same team at the same school, they try to have separate lives apart from each other, a dynamic that Liam, the oldest of the three, wanted.

“We don’t live together, and I think it’s kind of nice for him [Jamie] to be shown the ropes by other people,” Liam said. “And Elliot learned with the freshmen, and he found his way with them, which I think really helped.”

Liam, a graduate student, was the first of the brothers to don the maroon and gold. He came over from England on his own. Therefore, he believed having his brothers do a similar thing will only benefit them.

“That’s what I went through and it gives them an individual experience, father than [being a] big brother, like on top or overpowering them,” Liam said.

Jamie is the middle brother and Elliot is the youngest. Usually in these scenarios, if one sibling attends a school, it is highly likely the others follow. However, for the Dee brothers, having all three of them attend the same college was never the plan.

“I was originally intending to stay back in the U.K. for university and it was purely academically [sic],” Jamie said. “Things changed and Iona was sort of there and it seemed stupid to pass up an opportunity.”

Jamie was only on the team for one semester last year, so while he is technically a sophomore, he is considered a freshman within Athletics. During the 2017-2018 season, he had a handful of notable results, one of which was a fourth-place finish at the 2018 MAAC Indoor Track & Field Championship in the 5K race.

For Jamie, coming over and having his older brother Liam here helped him adjust to life in the United States and at Iona.

“I think it was a much bigger help than I realized,” Jamie said. “I think him joining was completely different to me joining because I knew a lot about the team, seeing the races and the guys’ results.”

Both Jamie and Elliot benefited from Liam coming to Iona first, because not only were they able to see the college and country, but they also familiarized themselves with the team and some of the coaches.

Elliot, a freshman, was able to use both of his brothers to his advantage when it came time for him to become a Gael.

“Settling in was a little easier,” Elliot said. “Some people who didn’t have siblings on the team found it harder to settle in, but I had two people to show me the ropes.”

For the two youngest Dee brothers, having an older sibling or siblings helped them come to Iona and hit the ground running much easier. They were already familiar with the running program and the coaches, and they knew they could lean on someone if needed. Liam on the other hand had to figure things out on his own.

Liam’s experience in the United States on his own made him a better leader for his teammates.

“Maybe I see it differently than other guys on the team, because I can kind of see through that,” Jamie said. “But Liam is very encouraging, and he wants the best for the team. He won’t get on you for nothing.”

Elliot reiterated that same message about his eldest brother’s leadership.

“I would say Liam treats us all as athletes rather than seeing me as a brother in some circumstance,” Elliot said.

Outside of helping his brothers adapt, Liam has many fond memories that range from competing and academics, to making friends and creating his own track club while he redshirted.

“I just wanted to have some fun with it, so I just made up a track club,” Liam said. “I made an Instagram page and I’ve used a Photoshop-style computer program and made a logo and everything.”

One of Liam’s favorite memories came when Iona competed at the Penn Relays several years ago.

“I was on the final leg and it was just all out effort for a mile and the noise at [the] U Penn stadium was just insane,” Liam said. “And I just remember I was in the lead and I was just hearing this noise and I had no idea where the guys were behind me.”

Liam’s time at Iona may be ending, but the Dee brother legacy still has a few more chapters to go until the book is closed. Liam has given his younger brothers one message, according to Jamie.

“In terms of like philosophical, just try not to rely on other people and enjoy your experience,” Jamie said. “If things go wrong, things go wrong, and you just have to work through.”