Alumnus Qualifies for U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon

Former cross country athlete Brian Ball runs record time, qualifies for Olympic Trials, and proposes to girlfriend

Nov. 23, 2011 By Elizabeth Mak

Brian Ball, former five-time NAIA All-American for the Eagles, is still running faster than ever.

After graduating from Biola in 2008 with his bachelor’s in art, Ball trained for more than two years in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., with Olympians Meb Keflezighi and Dan Brown. On Oct. 2, 2011, he qualified to compete at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, which will take place in Houston, Texas, on Jan. 14, 2012.

“This is my first Olympic Trials I have qualified for and it seems like each year I have been getting faster,” said Ball.

Ball qualified for the event after completing the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 49 seconds — beating the U.S. Olympic Trials required qualifying time of 1 hour and 5 minutes with 11 seconds to spare. As soon as he crossed the finish line, he ran over to his girlfriend, Hayley Rasmussen, and proposed. According to Ball, her “yes” was the most important event of the day for him.

During his years of competing with the Eagles, Ball was named an NAIA All-American in Cross Country, Indoor Track and Field in the 5,000-meter race, and Outdoor Track and Field in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase from 2006 through 2008. In 2007, he was runner-up at the Steeplechase Nationals race. He also received his first sponsorship in 2009 with Powerbar Team Elite.  

Running alongside Keflezighi and Brown has enabled Ball to step up his level of running to a professionally competitive level, he said. He also acknowledges that he could not have made it this far without the support of his high school, college and professional coaches who have worked alongside him throughout his life.

“The last couple years at Biola, [coach] Jonathan Zimmerman helped me believe I could do great things and always told me ‘think big’ and ‘think outside of the box,’" said Ball. Those two sayings have stuck with me throughout my post collegiate/professional career.”

The U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon will determine the three fastest men and women in the United States. The winners of the event will go on to represent the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games in London next summer.

Biola’s 2011 men’s cross country team capped off their season at the NAIA Championships.

Written by Elizabeth Mak, Media Relations Intern. For more information, please contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu or via phone at 562.777.4061

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