Jackson, MS: The Alice Lloyd College Cross Country team traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, to participate in the National Christian College Athletic Association Division II National Cross Country Championship. Over the course of three days, the student-athletes participated in a community service project, attended the annual NCCAA Cross Country banquet, and competed at the National level. This year’s community service project focused on cleaning up the grounds of a non-profit organization local to Jackson, Mississippi. The team cleaned windows at the building and removed fallen leaves from the parking lot. Even though the tasks were small they were beneficial, Junior Brittney Buttrey said, “It felt nice to do something for a nonprofit organization.”
It was a record-breaking race day for both teams at the NCCAA National Championship Meet. The Lady Eagles team finished 3rd, the best finish of any women’s team at nationals in Alice Lloyd College program history. All six ladies finished with their best times of the year. Kacey Troutt led the ladies with a time of 20:50 for a 7th place finish overall, which is a new record for any Lady Eagle at the national level. Brittney Buttrey wasn’t far behind, finishing 12th overall. Rachel McCoy and Morgan Arthur crossed the line back to back with a 19th and 20th place finish. Taylor Bullock crossed the line behind them in 23rd place. Cheyenne Boggs was the final Lady Eagle to cross the line at 39th.
The Men’s team mirrored the women’s team with a 3rd place overall finish, which is the best finish of any men’s team at nationals in Alice Lloyd College history. Four out of seven ran their best times of the year. Ryan Morris led the way for the men with a time of 29:01, good for a 7th place finish and set a new record for highest men’s individual finish at nationals. Kevin Keathley crossed the line at 16th with Noah Stevenson close behind him at 18th. Dustin Blair finished at 25th, and John Driskill wasn’t far behind in 27th. Noah Smith and Jake VanHook crossed the line in 31st and 33rd.
Brittney Buttrey and John Driskill were also both named NCCAA DII Cross Country Scholar-Athletes. To be selected, an athlete has to be at least a junior academically and have maintained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4.
The Alice Lloyd Cross Country program is on the rise, and the 2018-19 season looks promising with all eighteen runners returning to compete. Coach Brandon Arnold plans to bring in a strong recruiting class to help build on the success of the Cross Country Team. The Eagles are taking a short break from running to focus on final exams, but will soon begin their tireless efforts along the road to the 2018 Nationals.