November 21, 2016 – After piecing together a remarkable year highlighted by two wins this season, including crossing the finish line first in the Appalachian Athletic Conference Cross Country Championship which earned him the AAC Runner of the Year crown for the second consecutive season, Tyler Boone paced his way to an impressive 39th finish on Saturday at the 61st Annual NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championship. Boone finished with a time of 25:23.8 in the 8K event held at North Farm Cross Country Course in Elsah, Ill.
The field was packed with 331 talented runners with Bacone’s (Okla.) Jackson Thomas outlasting defending national champion Geoffrey Kipchumba of William Carey (Miss.) in the final 1K to win the program’s first-ever individual title. The senior of Naschitti, N.M., flew through the course in a time of 23:50.2.
The Raiders of Southern Oregon, who entered the national championship ranked No. 3 in the final regular-season coaches’ poll, accumulated 122 total points to become national champions for the second time in program history.
The quality performance by Boone over the weekend marked the fifth best finish at the nationals in Bryan College Cross Country history. Bryson Harper (‘12 grad.) registered 10th and 27th during his time as a Lion, Anthony Simpson (‘14 grad.) had a 15th place finish, and Connor Hatfield finished just shy of the All-American rank with a 32nd place finish.
Boone made history this year as Bryan’s first-ever back-to-back AAC Champion, and his efforts gave way to him being recognized as conference runner of the week three times this season. At last year’s AAC Championship meet, he won in convincing fashion by setting a new course record at Victor Ashe Park with a time of 25:02.32.
Two other occasions that Boone shined this year were at the Greater Louisville Classic where he placed 11th in a field of 300 that included a large amount of NCAA DI runners, and at the Royal invitational hosted by Queens University where he came in behind only one NAIA runner with a notable time of 24:47.
With the cross country season coming to an end, the Bryan Lions now turn their attention to the approaching track & field season.
Written by Wesley Sanders, Sports Information Director