Senior Shippensburg University men’s cross-country runner Kieran Sutton was a man on a mission this season. He achieved All-American honors at the NCAA National Championships in Saint Leo, Florida, after a 25th-place finish with a time of 31:00.9. His time helped Shippensburg achieve to a 16th-place finish overall as a team.
“It was a pretty heavy feeling,” Sutton said, after receiving his All-American honor. It was his first All-American award in cross-country and his third overall. He has one first team honor in indoor track-and-field, and one second-team honor in outdoor track-and-field.
Sutton’s great race gave Shippensburg an All-American for the second-consecutive year. Austin McGinley received All-American honors last season after finishing No. 32 at Nationals in Joplin, Missouri.
Nationals took place on The Abbey Course in Saint Leo, Florida this season, and it proved to be a challenging one for the runners. Temperatures were well above 60 degrees, and the humidity was around 90 percent. The race was started early in the morning to avoid the heat.
There were multiple climbs on this course.
“This course was somewhat hilly,” Sutton said. “There were palm trees on the course, it was a nice setting, but the race was hot.”
Shippensburg scored 401 points as the top Atlantic Region team, followed by PSAC foes Lock Haven University and Edinboro University. Sutton was one of two All-Americans from the Atlantic Region along with Lock Haven’s Addison Moore.
Kieran came off of a summer where he did not run much after battling injury.
“It was really a comeback season for me. I even came into this year not feeling 100 percent,” Sutton said, describing this year for him.
Coach Steve Spence has been a real inspiration to Kieran throughout the years.
“He really sets the bar high to accomplish great things,” Sutton said. “He is awesome to look up to.”
Coach Spence even had more unique training for Kieran after coming off of injury to prepare him for the season.
The one thing that Kieran will remember most about running cross-country here at Shippensburg is his relationship with his teammates.
“Being with my teammates and just showing up to practice, that was the best part of my day,” Sutton said. “Going on trips with the team and hanging out with Coach Spence I will not ever forget either.”
Sutton explained this season as ‘a step in the right direction’ after coming off of injury and really being conservative.
Sutton looks to continue his running career at SU as the indoor track-and-field season is underway. Sutton will also compete with the Raiders for the outdoor season in the spring.