Johnson City, Tenn. – On Friday, Feb. 5, the Lions Track and Field team traveled to East Tennessee State University to compete in the Buccaneer Invitational. There were over 30 teams and more than 800 athletes that competed over the weekend.
Bryan's relay teams started off the weekend, specifically the Distance Medley Relay (DMR), which is a race that consists of four legs running the 1600m, 1200m, 800m, and 400m. Competing for the Lions were Tyler Boone (JR/Murfreesboro, Tenn.), Jacob Shelton (SR/Tullahoma, Tenn.), and Grif Rutherford.
The night also showcased the debut of James Eliezer running as a Lion. Not only did he run the 400m leg of the DMR, but he also ran his fastest 60m and 200m of the year.
Saturday featured the distance runners, and the day was started with the 3,000m women's group consisting of Xia Grimwood (SR/Cordova, Alaska), Kenzie Freeman (FR/Dayton, Tenn.), and Jessica Stockton (SR/Front Royal, Va.). All three of these ladies ran their personal best times in the event, and Stockton took 6th in her heat with a top-15 overall finish.
Grif Rutherford also placed 6th in his heat of the 800m and was the lone NAIA runner in that heat. This was Grif's first 800m race of the year. Veronica Hayes (FR/Chattanooga, Tenn.) also competed in her career-first 800m and took a 5th place finish in her heat.
The afternoon races were reserved as invitational heats. These races hosted the best runners of the meet to compete against each other. Two Lions competed in the invitational races of their respective events. Sarah White (SR/Cleveland, Ohio) took an 8th place finish in the 800m and finished with a time of 2:22. Tyler Boone ended the meet on a very positive note with his 5th place finish overall in the 3,000m. He crossed the line in his best time ever at 8:51.
"Some of our runners were out of their comfort zone this weekend as they competed in events that they don't normally run in," said Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach, Josh Bradley. "Overall, I'm very proud of how everyone did despite many firsts, and I'm excited to see what they can do in two weeks."
The Lions next race will be on Saturday, Feb. 20. They will be traveling to the JDL FastTrack in Winston-Salem, N.C. to compete in the UCS Invitational.