Gulf Shores, Al: Alice Lloyd College Eagle star runner Ryan Morris traveled to Gulf Shores Alabama on May 27th to participate in the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in the ultra-challenging Marathon event.
In order to qualify for nationals, a runner had to hit a difficult acceptable time in either a sanctioned full or half-marathon. Morris punched his ticket on March 19th as he won the Skidaway Island Marathon in Savannah, Georgia. During that race, in a field of over 200 runners, the senior finished the 26.2-mile race in a time of 2:47:08, earning him first place overall. That averaged out to an impressive 6:18 pace. His winning time was actually one of the fastest marathons run by any NAIA runner this season, and he looked to enter the nationals as a strong contender.
Unfortunately, in Gulf Shores, due to the humid temperatures, the race officials chose to shorten the race down to a half-marathon. Even though the distance was sliced to 13.1 miles, Morris had trained differently preparing for a course twice that distance. Additionally, many of his opponents had qualified in the half-marathon and had more preparation for the shorter distance. Largely due to this, the Eagle was seeded 50th out of the 51 individuals to toe the line.
However, the determined Eagle ignored the official predictions and ran a fabulous race. When the competition was over, Morris ended up with an impressive time of 1:14.50 (5:40 pace), good enough for 25th Place. In fact, he only missed cracking the top 10 by less than 1:30. It was a fitting way for the speedster to end his ALC career.
Morris finished as a three-time NCCAA DII All-American. In addition to becoming the first track and field athlete in school history to qualify for the NAIA Nationals, he also qualified for and ran in both the NAIA Men’s Cross-Country Championship and the NCCAA DII Cross Country Championship. Additionally, he holds the 8K school-record time of 26:04, was named NCCAA DII Men’s Cross-Country National Student-Athlete of the Week and has been named by the River States Conference as Cross-Country Runner-of-the Week and Track Athlete of the Week.
In 2021, he was chosen by the RSC conference as the male recipient of the Bill Melton River States Conference Champion of Character Award. He was also selected as the Alice Lloyd College Cross-Country Champion of Character winner. Morris graduated from Alice Lloyd on May 7th and was voted the recipient of the Men’s Scholar-Athlete award. He will return to his alma mater to work.