Sports updates

James siblings continue to thrive in collegiate athletics

Ally excels in diving at Saint Michael's; Ryan in running at Berry College
By Mark Haskell | Nov 12, 2012

Belfast — Siblings Ryan and Ally James of Belfast are no strangers to athletics at a high level, with the two Belfast Area High School graduates thriving in their respective sports through their years as Lions.

And while their colors — and, ultimately, their schools —have changed, little else has as both continue to be athletic standouts in the collegiate ranks.

Ally, a 2012 BAHS graduate, attends Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vt., and is a member of the Purple Knights' women's swimming and diving team.

Ally was an integral part of the Belfast swim squad the past four years and even won the individual KVAC Class B diving championship her junior year.

She will continue in that role for the Purple Knights as a freshman as the team's lone diver.

Saint Michael's swim coach Eileen Hall said her team did not have a diver last year and were forced to automatically forfeit points each week in the diving category. Hall said "in addition to [Ally] being a lovely diver, she is an extremely positive and energetic presence on our team."

"She does rigorous dry land training three days a week and dives with our diving coach Chris Cochran five days a week," said Hall. "I believe she will be the first SMC diver [in two years] to represent the college at the NEISDA championships. She came to us with a great deal of skill and grace and I only see her getting better."

Ally also thrived as a member of the indoor and outdoor track teams with Belfast, winning the state Class B indoor pole vault title as a sophomore, while also being active in field hockey.

While Ally is starting her collegiate athletic experience, her older brother, Ryan, is thriving in the midst of his own.

Ryan, a 2010 BAHS graduate, attends Berry College in Floyd, Ga. and thrives as a member of the Vikings' cross-country and track teams.

The junior finished third at the 2012 Southern Athletic Association Men's and Women's Cross-Country Championships Oct. 27, which earned him first-team SAA honors by virtue of his top-five finish. He crossed the finish line of the 8-kilometer (5-mile) race with a time of 25 minutes and 25.33 seconds, a personal record.

"We are pleased to have Ryan James as a member of the Berry cross-country team," said Berry coach Ryan Deaton. "He is a high caliber student-athlete that leads the way for us."

Of the 12 team members, Ryan is the only runner who hails from the Northeast, with nine coming from Georgia, one from Alabama and another from North Carolina.

Deaton said that he "really cannot take credit for recruiting [Ryan] to Berry" as the BAHS graduate sought out Berry.

Ryan participated in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track for the Lions.

Ryan is a strong all-around distance runner. In fact, in May he finished first in the St. Jude Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tenn. It was his first marathon. He finished the 26.2-mile distance in two hours, 32 minutes and 47 seconds and won the race by seven minutes.

He also won the Flying Pig Half-Marathon in Cincinnati in a time of 1:13.26 last year.

Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at mhaskell@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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