CLINTON, Miss. – Blue Mountain College men opened the season with a fourth-place finish here Friday at the Mississippi College Season Opener, led by Braden Hardy (JR/Blue Mountain, Miss.) who hit the podium in 9th place timing out at 17:01 in the 5K.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff took the team title at 1:26:31, with Jackson St. coming in second at 1:27:52 and UL-Monroe in third at 1:28:51, while the Toppers timed out at 1:30:26.

For Blue Mountain, Thomas Ratliff (FR/Corinth, Miss.) came in 24th at 17:46, Tanner Childs (FR/Corinth, Miss.) finished 30th at 18:01, Ja'Darius Scott (FR/Columbus, Miss.) was at 42nd in 18:49, Juan Ramirez (SO/Corinth, Miss.) was 43rd at 18:49, Owen Hill (FR/Ripley, Miss.) at 44th in 18:49, Ken Gassaway (JR/Saltillo, Miss.) finished 50th at 19:14, Will Crigger (JR/Corinth, Miss.) at 58th in 20:20, James Shea (JR/Corinth, Miss.) ended at 63rd in 20:25, Carlos Romero (FR/New Albany, Miss.) finished 75th at 22:10 and Caleb Malone (SO/Guntersville, Ala.) finished 87th at 24:36.

There were 98 runners overall at this season's opener in Clinton, with several NCAA DI teams present including Alcorn State who finished 9th behind Pine Bluff, Jackson St. and BMC.

"I'm very pleased with our results today," BMC head coach Heather Duley said. "Our guys got to run against some top competition and that will serve to better prepare us down the road. We're looking forward to improving as the season progresses."

BMC returns to the trails Sept. 7 at the UNA Invitational at McFarland Park in Florence, Ala.

dillon.barnes@journalinc.com

Twitter: @SS_Sports_

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