By Nicole Fredette for Berryvikings.com
HANOVER, Ind. -- Ryan James placed 56th at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships on Saturday. The senior clocked a time of 25:36.6 at nationals.
"It was surreal," James said. "I have never been in a race like this before with people running everywhere, cheering you on. Fans were painted up, holding cut-outs, and this was all over the course. The runners were all very close together, too. It was ten degrees warmer in the middle of the pack because it was so tight. The entire race was exciting from start to finish."
He competed against 274 other runners from DIII schools, including rival John Kieffer (25:45.0) from Centre. The competition was tight, and every second counted in this race. James was only 12 seconds short of earning all-American. Michael LeDuc from Connecticut College won the championships with a time of 24:29.3. St. Olaf finished first out of the 32 teams that competed in the championships.
"Ryan's race today was a good indication of his fitness," said Coach Paul Deaton. "He ran a consistent race and was able to move up the whole way through."
James was the first Berry runner to ever compete in the DIII Nationals meet.
"I am so grateful for this experience," James says. "Coming out of high school, I never knew I could be this good. It has been a great 4 years of college running, and I am so thankful to be here today. I hope we can get a team here someday."
James will now prepare for the upcoming track season.