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Ryan Phillips expands running career after graduating from DSU
June 23, 2011
Ryan Phillips is considered by his former college cross country and track coach Buzz Stevenson as one of his finest distance runners at Dakota State University during the late '80s and early '90s, a period when DSU won three straight South Dakota-Iowa Conference (SDIC) titles (1989-91).
Phillips has kept up his running skills since graduating from DSU in 1993.
Back in his years at DSU, Phillips, a Dickinson, N.D. native, was the Trojans' outstanding male athlete as a junior and senior. He was a four-year All-SDIC performer in both cross country and track. He was an NAIA All-American in track his senior year.
These days, however, the 42-year-old is becoming an ultra-marathon performer, tackling 50- and 100-mile courses.
On Saturday, June 25, he will direct (but not run in) the Black Hills 100-mile trail race starting in Sturgis where he and his family live.
As a collegian at Dakota State, Phillips established himself as the Trojans' top male distance runner. His best cross country performance came on the 8K Madison Country Club course in the 1992 DSU Invitational where he had a first-place, 25-minute flat finish.
On the outdoor track, Phillips was an NAIA Nationals qualifier in the 1500-meters, where he had a career-best 4:01 effort. His personal best 800-meters came earlier in the Sioux City Relays where he turned in a 1:55 performance.
Indoors, he claimed NAIA All-American honors with a sixth-place finish in the 1000-meters in Kansas City, Mo. in 1993.
"Coach Stevenson was one of my primary motivators at DSU," smiled Phillips. "He was trying to build solid cross country and track programs. We all wanted to run hard for him and make that happen."
Stevenson is equally proud of what Phillips contributed to DSU's running programs.
He remembers well what high level of commitment that Phillips exhibited. Stevenson especially recalls a time during the tail end of the '93 outdoor season.
"When he was a senior, we were running at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.," said Stevenson. "While he was running the 1500, he was knocked down. He suffered a severe ankle injury. I had never seen an ankle well up so much."
"The following Monday, he came to practice on crutches," recalled Stevenson. "We had him in the training room three times a day until the Thursday prior to our conference meet here at Trojan Field. He limped around the track a couple times that day, and then jogged it twice on Friday. On Saturday, Ryan went out and won both the 1500- and 800-meter runs and placed third in the 5000. That should tell you something about Ryan's character!"
"The main thing I learned at DSU was a good work ethic - not only in athletics, but also in the classroom," added Phillips. "Patricia Ericsson, one of my English instructors, taught me a lot. I learned how to set and achieve goals at DSU."
From DSU, he went to Wall where he taught and coached. Currently, Phillips is a media product specialist for Technology & Innovations in Education in Rapid City.
He and his wife Debbie are living in Sturgis with their four daughters. Kristen, 15, is a sophomore at Sturgis High School. Brooke (12), Skyler (10) and Morgan (8) are respectively, seventh-, fifth- and third-graders.
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant
Edited by Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director