Ricky Flynn blew past the competition at the NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country National Championship meet to become Lynchburg College's first-ever cross country national champion.
Flynn finished the meet in 25:09 to outpace the second-place finisher by 23 seconds on Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio. His margin of victory is the second largest ever in the history of the national championship meet and only six seconds behind the record.
Flynn was also named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Associations Division III Cross Country National Athlete of the Year.
The national championship caps off one of the most storied athletic careers of any Lynchburg College athlete and puts him in rarified air. Flynn is now the 12th person in LC history to win a national championship as two men's indoor track and field athletes have won a national title in addition to nine of the men's outdoor track and field athletes.
Flynn participated in just five meets this season, but won four of them, including blowout performances in the ODAC Championship and South/Southeast Regional Championship, and was the top collegiate runner in another meet in which he finished third place. Flynn concludes his cross country career as a two-time All-American, a three-time ODAC Champion, and a four-time All-South/Southeast Region honoree.
"I won the race in the last mile; it was uphill to the finish," Flynn said. "It was intimidating running against (Peter Kosgei-2008 Individual Champion from Hamilton, N.Y.) but when I saw him ease up in the final mile, I just said I'm going for it."
Six other athletes participated in the race as Lynchburg qualified as a team for the meet by finishing second in the South/Southeast Regional meet. Ryan Van Alstine (Midland Park, NJ/Midland Park) placed 153rd with a time of 27:07, and Brandon Demers (Cypress, TX/Leonardtown) was 214th at 27:42.
ODAC Rookie of the Year Nolan Compton (Manassas, VA/Osbourn Park) crossed the line in 28:03 for 244th place while Brian Robinson (Sterling, VA/Potomac Falls) clocked in at 28:36 for to finish 261st. William Orndorff (Rockville, MD/Rockville) finished 265th in 28:45 and Lawrence Minor (Mineral, VA/Louisa) rounded out the pack for Lynchburg in 267th place with a time of 28:51.
The Hornets as a team placed 30th while reigning national champions North Central (Ill.) repeated as the top team in the meet.