The Bryan College Track & Field teams traveled to Johnson City, Tenn., for the Appalachian Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships Wednesday and Thursday.
Starting off on Wednesday night, the Lady Lions set the tone for the championship, taking the crown in the women's 4x800m in a time of 10:05, beating area rivals Tennessee Wesleyan by over 23 seconds.
Doubling back, Hannah Schroeder and Jessica Stockton took 4th and 5th, respectively, in the women's 1500m.
On Thursday, Lady Lions went 2 and 4 in the women's 800m. Sarah White took second in a season's best 2:21.88. Hannah Schroeder was close behind in 2:29.32.
Jessica Stockton came back to pace the women in the 5000m, taking 3rd overall in 19:03.22. Michelle McLeod took 6th.
Elle Fields took 10th in the women's 100m, 12th in the women's 200m and 10th in the women's 400m.
The men started Wednesday off with a 3rd place finish in the 1500m, with Alex Stephens finishing in 4:01.64. He already has a national qualifier in this event. Behind him were Parker Sorenson, Connor Hatfield and Jacob Shelton in 9th, 10th, and 13th.
In his debut in a Lion's uniform, Freshman Josh Vega took 3rd overall in the men's 400m. He came back and finished 14th in the men's 200m after feeling tightness in his hamstring.
In the men's 10k late Wednesday, Anthony Simpson took 2nd overall after setting the tempo early to help out runners from Bryan, Milligan and St. Andrews. Simpson qualified for nationals in this event. Anders Clarke and Matt Jenkins both set personal bests, finishing 5th and 6th in 33:51 and 34:00, respectively.
Starting Thursday off well in the 3000m steeplechase were Connor Hatfield and Alex Stephens. Hatfield set the conference record, winning in 9:25.70. Stephens also dipped under the old conference record, finishing 2nd in 9:33.83. Hatfield has already qualified for the national championship in this event, and Stephens was only 4 seconds away from qualifying.
In the men's 800m, Parker Sorenson and Madison Yates finished 7th and 8th, respectively.
The final individual event for the men, the 5000m, saw 4 Lions on the track. After sitting the back with a 300m gap to 1st, Anthony Simpson ended up 4th in 15:37. Tim Sigmon was close behind in 5th, finishing in 15:49. Jacob Shelton set a personal best of 16:33 to finish 9th, and Anders Clarke took 11th.
The Lions started with a bang, and ended on an equally high note. With one true sprinter in the men's 4x400m race, the Lions squad of Madison Yates, Josh Vega, Parker Sorenson and Alex Stephens took the conference championship. Yates and Vega kept the Lions in the hunt through the first 2 legs, but it was over once Sorenson got the baton. He made a big move with 200m to go and gapped the field. Stephens held off a late charging Montreat to win in 3:28.70.
The Lions ended up with 15 top 5 finishes.
"I like the effort I saw from most everyone," said Coach Bryson Harper after the race. "We struggled here and there, but everyone rallied in the end. To watch the distance guys take the win in the 4x4 was pretty exciting. We have five and half weeks until Nationals, and everyone is keeping that in mind as we raced here."
The Lions will race again at home on Tuesday, April 29th, at 7:00pm. The Invitational will feature rabbited races set up to hit national qualifying marks. Follow the action on Twitter at @BryanTFXC.