VANCOUVER, Wash. -- John Brown University senior runner Allika Pearson finished her time as a JBU cross country runner with an All-American performance, crossing the finish line in 18 minutes, 51 seconds, claiming 29th place overall at the 2021 NAIA National Championships on Friday, Nov. 19, at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
The performance solidifies the Siloam Springs native's finish last spring at the championships, where she claimed the program's first-ever NAIA All-America honors.
This time, in a field of 338 runners, Pearson got caught in a pack early in the race and sat in 64th place at the 1,000 meter mark. She then began to make her moves and by the 3,000 meter marker, Pearson had reclaimed 26 places to improve to 38th.
After a 3:44 time on her fourth 1,000 meter portion of the race, Pearson squeezed into the top 30 after a 3:49 mark in the final 1,000 meters of the race.
"Allika ran a very gutsy and courageous race today," head coach Scott Schochler said. "She was caught in about 80th place just before the 1,000 meter mark, despite a very fast start.
"Allika had to weave through a lot of traffic and not panic to get back to the front of the race. She never lost her cool, and ran a very smart race. I am extremely proud of her and the work she has put in."
Alyssa Bearzi from Milligan (Tenn.) captured the top podium spot with an 18:14 time, leading the Buffaloes to a team title with 101 points. Milligan's team time was 1:34:05.