The Bryan Lions opened their Outdoor season in Rome, GA on Saturday. With rain into the early afternoon followed by high winds, the conditions challenged all the athletes competing yet the Lions fought well.
In the women’s 1500m, Sarah White got off to a slow start but was able to close well to finish in 5:19.93 for 4th in the 2nd heat to start the day for the Lady Lions.
A trio of second place finishes kicked off the day for the Lions in the men’s 1500. Alex Stephens in 3:59.24, Parker Sorenson in 4:13.75, and Matt Jenkins in 4:20.94 in the first through third heats all took second place. Tyler Boone finished in a personal best 4:16.41 in the second heat and Jacob Shelton finished in 4:23.17 in the third.
Next of for the women was Elle Fields in the 400m. She finished in 1:14.31, and later finished in 32.49 in the women’s 200m.
Sarah White improved on her finish from the 1500m, taking first in her heat after leading wire to wire to finish in 2:23.98.
In the men’s 800m, Madison Yates took 4th in 2:05.17
The big performances came under the lights with howling winds in the men’s and women’s 5000m races. Jessica Stockton stepped back on the track after a short hiatus and took 3rd in 19:06.93. Following close behind was Michelle McLeod, who took 5th in a new personal best of 19:18.61.
A slew of Lions were in the men’s race, and a red jersey crossed first with 3 time All American Anthony Simpson taking the lone overall win for the Lions on the day. Alex Stephens dropped out after fulfilling his pacing duties and Simpson and Tennessee Wesleyan’s Roderick Bowman worked together to keep the pace honest. With 600m to go, Simpson gapped Bowman as both tried to hit standards for Outdoor Nationals. In the end, Simpson finished in 14:55.28 to Bowman’s 15:01, with Simpson hitting a provisional qualifier in the 5k. Also doing pacing duties but finishing the race was Connor Hatfield in 7th in 16:01.19 who was chased all the way by Tyler Boone, who set a personal best of 16:01.28. Not far behind nor far off his personal best was Anders Clarke finishing in 16:23, Matt Jenkins in 16:35, Jacob Shelton in 16:37, and Parker Sorenson in 17:08. Competing unattached after missing cross country and indoor was Tim Sigmon, who finished in 16:05; also making an appearance was former Lion Hunter Hall, who finished 6th in 15:59.
“The times weren’t blazing,” said Coach Harper after the meet, “but most of the group competed well. Simpson got his qualifier out of the way, and McLeod and Stockton did well in the 5k. All these men and women are working hard right now, and I’m just as excited as they are for the season ahead.”
The Lions race next at the Tennessee Relays hosted by Sea Ray on April 10-12. Follow all the action on Twitter at @BryanTFXC.