GULF SHORES, Ala. -- Rocky Mountain College's 3,200-meter relay team placed eighth in the finals on Friday night at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
The Battlin' Bears ran a 7:55.02 at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium. The Rocky team included Fred Petsch, Johnny Barnes, Colton Wood and Shawn Peden, who earned All-America recognition for their performance.
The Bears ran a school-record time of 7:38.39 in Thursday's prelims, which would have placed them fourth on Friday.
Rocky's relay entered nationals ranked 14th.
"They were all tired and beat up, but I'm so proud of the guys," coach Alan King said. "No one expected us to be here (in the finals) as a team. We're the only ones that felt we had a chance to get in."
Petsch, a freshman, and Peden, sophomore, are former Billings West athletes. Wood, a sophomore, is from Cody, Wyo., and Barnes, a senior, is from Zillah, Wash.
Indiana Tech won the relay at 7:31.12. Eight teams made the finals.
Senior Noah Kiprono of Rocky will be running in Saturday's 26.2-mile marathon. He has the second-best half-marathon time (1:09.47) among the marathon's 51 entrants.
Kiprono, 26, placed third in the marathon last year at the national meet in Indiana and received All-America accolades.
He is from Nairobi, Kenya, and will be making his fourth appearance in the marathon.