During the month of September, our Alumni Spotlight is going to profile our 2018 Belmont Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees.
Our fourth and final profile is Ryan Snellen.
Snellen, who ran for BU from 2002-2007, stands among the most decorated distance runners in the proud history of Belmont cross country and track & field. A four-time First Team All-Atlantic Sun honoree, Snellen won the 2004 Atlantic Sun individual cross country championship and 2004 Atlantic Sun Runner of the Year honors. He also became just the second man in program history to qualify for the NCAA National Championship meet.
The Elizabethtown, Kentucky native was part of five consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference cross country team championships for Belmont (including a redshirt season) and is one of only 11 men to earn All-South Region honors from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Snellen was All-Atlantic Sun in five outdoor track disciplines, and remained a competitive distance runner following graduation.
Snellen recently spoke to BelmontBruins.com about his Belmont career and life after graduation in Nashville.
Why did you choose Belmont?
Belmont was high on my list because it is a relevant NCAA D-I school located in a growing city with great post graduate career opportunities. I detected the athletic talent and momentum that the cross-country program at Belmont was generating and I wanted to contribute to the program’s long-term success. Another major draw was that is Christian based and meshed well with my upbringing and morals. It also helped that it was only 2 hours from my hometown of Elizabethtown, KY.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
Qualifying for the NCAA Cross Country Nationals as an individual and breaking the 5K school record
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont? How?
No question, it would be Coach Langdon. Reason being he had more faith in me during my developmental years when I second guessed myself and didn’t see the potential that lay ahead. He remained convinced in my abilities all the way to the last race where I broke the 5K school record. I had the fire in my belly all along, but he was the key to unlocking the beast.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
You can’t give up even when things seem impossible. For example, my first few years at Belmont as a Kentucky boy fresh off the farm it seemed impossible to achieve anything more than 30 miles a week. By the time of graduation not only had I clocked repetitive 80 mile weeks but I was setting records and winning titles.
What advice would you give to current members of the cross country team?
Refuse to be average. When you think you’re done, find the spark to ignite your fire to win.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
Dr. Jeff Cornwall. Aside from having him for the totality of my Entrepreneurship student career, he challenged me to plan deeper and think more critically about any business idea I dream up. He also promised that upon completing the Entrepreneurship program that I’d have him as a lifetime professional consultant.
Where do you live now?
Who is your employer and what does your position entail?
I am a certified financial planner for Bluegrass Financial Partners. Building relationships with people and clients as their independent financial consultant. I create a plan specific to my clients that makes sense to them and their goals and advise fiduciarily responsible financial planning products and services.
Tell us about your family.
I am newly married, just under one year, to my wife Brittany. We actually met at a running group here in Nashville and continue to frequent that group. We have a puggle named Render, and plan to expand our family soon. My parents, Jim and Debbie, live back home in Elizabethtown along with my older brother Roger and his wife and my younger sister Allyson.