The Bryan College Men's Cross Country team lined up in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday morning for the largest collegiate meet this year and finished 27th in the Gold race, with 115 teams in the entire meet. The race featured 4 NCAA ranked teams, with 2 in the top 10, a cross country NCAA individual champion and a runner up from the past two years. With this stacked race, 3 individuals dipped under the course record.
The Lions were led by Junior Anthony Simpson, who covered the 8k course in 25:24. Sophomore Connor Hatfield and Junior Alex Stephens were second and third for the Lions in 25:46 and 25:48, respectively. They were followed closely by Freshman Joel Johnston, 25:59, and Parker Sorenson (26:05). Also competing in the early race were Tim Sigmon and Madison Yates.
Head Coach Bryson Harper, in his first year coaching after graduating from Bryan this past spring, said, "I am pleased with the way our men performed today. When 4 of the top 5 guys run faster than they ever have before, we know we are doing the right things." On the level of competition he said, "When we enter the biggest meet held in the U.S. this year, we understand that the level of expectation is very high. Our men's times were very quick, but we still have lots of work to do if we want to compete at the front at the national championship, and we expect some guys to step up."
The Lady Lions finished 12th overall in the Women's Silver race. They were led by Sophomore Victoria Yates, who ran a season best 19:29 for 7th overall. Sophomore Jessica Stockton followed close behind, running a lifetime best 19:44 for 13th overall. Freshmen Michelle McLeod and Sarah White ran 20:38 and 21:46, respectively. Andrea Spencer rounded out the scoring for the women. Coach Harper said, "The women ran well today. Jessica ran faster than she ever has before, and Victoria just keeps improving. Sarah debuted in her first collegiate race and ran almost 5 minutes faster than she ever has; everyone just keeps improving."
The rest of the men's team finished 15th overall in the Silver race. Anders Clarke, Ben Kirk, Christian Pineda, Matt Jenkins, and Jacob Shelton all ran well, and beat out conference rival Montreat. Harper said, "Most every single athlete today, the men and women, ran seasonal or personal bests. They are doing the right things, and must now focus on the next step."