Oct. 8, 2007
The Lipscomb men's and women's cross country teams competed in the Memphis Twilight meet Saturday night. While most cross country races are contested in daylight hours, more than forty college teams toed the line at the Mike Rose Complex in Memphis to compete at night under the lights.
"I had never heard of a collegiate cross country race at night, so when I found this meet I felt we had to get that experience." Said head coach Bill Taylor. "As a track athlete, I always loved racing under the lights at night."
The Bison's ran well under the lights, finishing 10th out of 42 full college teams. The men were led by Ryan Chastain who finished the 8-K course in 25:16, finishing 19th out of 341 competitors. Jordan Wilson (25:57), Andrew Shankles (26:42), Jared Carlson (27:06) and Jeff Hoover (27:18) rounded out the top five.
"The conditions were very tough," said Taylor. "We expected a nice cool night race, but the temperatures were still in the 80's during the night races and the humidity was very thick. I have mixed feelings about this one.
"On the positive side seven of our nine finishers ran their all-time 8000m PR's. That is a big day, especially on a night like this and Ryan Chastain ran with the leaders again, which is big for him and the team. "
On the negative side the Bisons lost a couple of runners for various reasons during the race.
"We lost two key guys during the race," Taylor said. "David Wolfe, always No. 3 guy, fell out, and Clint Carter, who has been a top seven runner got spiked and tripped out of the race. I was really surprised we finished as high as tenth. Our No. 5 is still way to far back, even if David and Clint had been in the race. We've got some work to do still."
The size of the race and the design of the course combined to make the conditions less than optimum.
"The size of the race was also difficult," Taylor said. "Usually a big race like this helps you run faster. There are always people around you, so there is always someone to pull you forward or to pass. But this course is not conducive for a huge race.
" Last year they had 24 teams. This year 47 college teams entered. There are too many sharp corners and the lanes are too narrow for that many teams. But, it's good to experience tough conditions and fight through them."
The Bison's compete again next weekend in the Evansville Invite in Evansville, IN. The men's 8-K starts at 11 a.m. at the Evansville XC Course. The women's 5-K will follow.
Two weeks later Lipscomb will host the A-Sun Cross Country Championships at Vaughn's Gap in Percy Warner Park.