Alverson Leads FHU Cross Country At Twilight Classic
"Alverson finished 12th overall out of 160 runners at the Twilight Classic"

Alverson Leads FHU Cross Country At Twilight Classic

Sun, Sep. 3, 2017 - [Cross Country]

Matt Barker, Sports Information Director

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Freed-Hardeman Cross Country teams opened their season Saturday night at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic and with it came a top finish from Sophomore runner Tyler AlversonTo say Alverson finished near the front of the pack would be an understatement, as he was not only the second NAIA runner to cross the finish line, but was 12th place overall out of 160 male runners in the event. 

His time of 20:35 for the four-mile race put him just just outside the top 10 behind runners from NCAA Division 1 Ole Miss and Middle Tennessee State University, both of which were ranked in the top 25 NCAA preseason cross country poll (Ole Miss at No. 18 and MTSU at No. 21).

The only NAIA runner to finish ahead of Alverson in the race was Geoffrey Kipchumba of William Carey University, who was the 2015 NAIA Cross Country national champion and the 2016 NAIA Cross Country national runner-up. Kipchumba finished third overall in the event with a time of 20:02.

Derrick Spradlin, head coach for the FHU Cross Country teams, said Alverson was on a mission to finish the race strong Saturday.

"He looked very strong and determined straight out of the gate," Spradlin said. "He went out with a fast pack from the start and continually picked off runner after runner throughout the race. It was great to see."

Alverson, a native of Lebanon, Tenn., began making a name for himself last season as a freshman, as he qualified for the NAIA National Championship after finishing third overall among 89 runners in the field at the AMC Cross Country Championship held in O'Fallon, Ill. From there, he went on to the National Championship, where he finished in the top half of NAIA runners across the country.

"Tyler is a great ambassador for Freed-Hardeman," Spradlin said. "He belongs out there running shoulder to shoulder with some of the better collegiate runners in the region, if not the country, as proved by his finish just behind the nationally ranked men in the field from Ole Miss and MTSU. He is a very humble person and has a lot of fun with it all, but is also very disciplined and hard working."

Rounding out the scoring on the men's team in order were Logan Riddle, Adam Dunlap, Tristan Ray , Philip Brock, Sam Elliott, Dillon Tucker and Drew McCollum. These seven runners all finished within one minute and seven seconds of each other, from Riddle's 23:07 to McCollum's 24:14. Additionally, Alverson (20:35),  Dunlap (23:16), Brock (23:44) and Elliott (23:50) each set personal course records while Dillon Tucker (23:52) tied his best performance at the event.  

"It is exciting to see our runners finish together in groups because it means these guys are working well together during the race similar to how they have been working together at practice," Spradlin said. "If they can stay in a pack during races and keep getting faster as a group, then we will see our team scores really improve."

On the women's side, the top five finishers for FHU in the 5K race included 
Tori Murray (23:06), Madelyn Miskelly (24:27), Brooke Simpson (24:37), Libby Elliott (26:02) and Anna Peters (26:13).

For a complete list of results from the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic, click here