The 2013 NAIA Cross Country Championship was held on a brisk morning on the historic Rim Rock Farm course in Lawrence, Kan. The Bryan Lions fought over the tough course that featured rolling and steep hills, covered bridges, and a frozen course. Three Lions were racing for the last time on a cross country course and helped the team to a 10th place finish, tying the school's 2nd best finish in history.
Leading the charge for the Lions was Anthony Simpson. After finishing 27th in the 2012 meet, he improved to a 15th place finish in 24:55, earning All-American honors for the 2nd year in a row. Connor Hatfield was 2 seconds shy of earning an All-American spot, finishing 32nd in 25:12. Third for Bryan was Alex Stephens, who covered the course in 25:29 and was 52nd overall. Finishing out the scoring for the Lions were Jason McLeod in 25:55 and Tyler Boone in 26:29. Madison Yates was the 6th Lion across the line in 27:06, and Jacob Shelton was close behind in 27:27.
"This was a tough race," said Coach Bryson Harper after the race. "The wind chill kept the temperature in the single digits, and there were three very steep hills plus the rolling hills that made up the course. But these men did their jobs well. Anthony, Alex and Jason all wrapped up their last seasons on cross country today, and they did it very well. Anthony improved yet again and proved he can run with anyone, and Alex improved by over 60 spots from last year. These men have been a great part of this team their last four years, and they will be sorely missed when their track eligibility is done. Connor did a great job today and ran much faster than he did last year on a much tougher course with better competition; even though he finished just outside of the top 30 again, I know it will be great motivation as he heads into track season. Tyler ran tremendously well and really helped us as a team. These men ran very well as a team, and the teams in front of us ran extremely well. I'm proud of the way these men compose themselves on and off the course, and glad they were able to come together to fight to be one of the top 10 teams in the country."
The Lions will take a short break over Thanksgiving, and then begin training for the indoor track season that begins in December.