Powell MMA punctuates the race, and the job with a top 10 country medal
Written by Jeremy Jacob, Sports Editor
No matter the obstacle, Bryson Powell passed it at the Missouri Military Academy.
Powell faced more Saturday morning during the Category Two state meeting at the Gans Creek Cross Country Tournament in Columbia. Powell had been battling illness for more than a week and then the cold, windy and even rainy conditions in the state, and Powell ranked above his 21st all-state medal a year ago to finish 10th. The oldest was 11th after 4,000m but passed another to break the top ten with a time of 17:18.2.
Cross country fair
Of all the obstacles Powell has faced in his football career, he said Saturday’s weather didn’t bother him at all after his first two years in Alaska.
“It just felt like we were at home,” Powell said. “It was my first two years of running in Alaska, so the muddy track, the wind, the weather felt like home, I did a lot of running in the winter, so it’s fun here.”
About a week ago, Powell had been feeling sick all week before meeting the district, reaching seventh, where he put in a year ago. Powell said breathing was still an issue in the state, but it was his being mentally tough that got him to this point.
“I was still very sick,” Powell said. “Lungs felt a little messy, and I was coughing and hacking. It was more than the same (preparation) — try to be mentally tough here.”
Head coach Ryan Novelin said he expected Powell to at least finish in the top 10 in the state early in the season, and felt he could have been in the top five if he was at 100 percent. He said Powell was about 80 percent in line with the top five runners this year and even beat three of the runners who finished ahead of him on Saturday.
Impressive, but still personal, Nowlin said, Powell was able to fight through adversity to culminate his career with a top-ten finish.
“He’s learned to persevere through any kind of adversity since he was a little kid until now,” Nolen said. “Bryson Powell thrives on adversity. He is one of those men where he must feel challenged. When faced with a challenge, he rises to the occasion and overcomes it. If, for an opportunity, he fails to overcome that adversity or that challenge, he strikes himself hard. about that and working 10 times harder and that challenge is not an issue anymore.”
When COVID-20 entered the country two years ago, during Powell’s sophomore year at South Anchorage High School, he finished 23rd out of 39 runners at the Alaska State Championships four seconds slower than his time on Saturday.
A season before in MMA, Powell sustained an injury during the wrestling season and noticed that he started the track season feeling sluggish. Some training over the summer brought Powell back to the cross-country podium in the fall.
Regarding the weather, Nolen said, it never spoiled Powell’s MMA career, which was the “most handsome” for the colonel. Since Powell made his MMA debut as a junior, Nolen said he’s usually won a medal and finished his career with about 20 medals not counting area and state encounters.
“Looking at where he’s at — Alaska and spending some time in Colorado — he’s in that (mind) state where, ‘It’s cold? Great, let’s run. While Missouri kids might be out there wearing long sweats, gloves, and earmuffs, he loved it. So that it was cold and rainy, and even more so because he used to run in wet conditions. I knew it would be good on Saturday.”
Naulin said MMA is losing Powell and two other top seven MMA finalists to graduate but is optimistic for the colonel next year as the young and upcoming student brings a lot of potential. This year’s edition of the MMA team was “probably the most successful cross-country team” in the school’s history, Nowlin said, with the colonel regularly in the top five or at least “middle of the group” at meetings after they were in the bottom 40 percent of the overall standings. Past.
Powell, of course, was a big reason for this success, and like every other student on the team, he did well despite the MMA agenda. Nolen said the boys usually get physical training in the morning, then work out and walk among other tasks that keep them “on their feet for hours a day.” Competing at a high level with a busy schedule like this shows Powell will be successful in whatever he plans to achieve in the future, which he won’t actually be competing with, Nolen said.
“He’s flexible and focused and really focus on whatever goals he has in his life,” Nolen said. “I have had several colleges contact me about making him come to run for them. Last year, that was his goal – to go for a run somewhere in college. Now he has decided to focus his talents and enlist in the military. He will serve his country.”
The only thing that will prevent Powell from getting a medal next year is graduation. He said he was sad because it was his last cross-country race but happy to finish on such a high note.
“I am a little shocked that this was my last cross-country race,” Powell said. “I’m sad to see the sport go but I finally got at least the top 10.”
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