In October 2012, Neal Anderson, a cross-country and track athlete for the Division II Colorado School of Mines, kept experiencing headaches and vertigo. When a brain tumor was found days before the November NCAA regionals, the Bettendorf, Iowa, native had surgery to remove what turned out to be a benign mass, surrounded by a fluid-filled sac the size of a golf ball. Anderson was cleared to run a month later, but a string of injuries kept him from making his comeback until this April. When two runners ahead of him opted out of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, he earned the last spot at nationals, finishing sixth with a personal record of 8:57.60. "Regardless of what I'd been through, that's not taken into account when they give out trophies," said Anderson, who graduated in May with a master's in materials engineering. "So I wanted to give it everything I had."
BRYAN DESCH/COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES (ANDERSON)