Second-year head coach Bill Taylor has announced the signing of seven more men for the 2008-09 school year. This brings the total men signed for the upcoming season to 13.
"I was hired very late last summer and was an interim coach for the first three weeks." said Taylor, "I got a very late start on recruiting for 2008-09.
"My first focus was on our existing team, so I had limited time to really hit recruiting hard, and I am also just starting to learn about recruiting in the South. To think that we added thirteen men to our roster in such a short time is an indication of where this program is going and what the potential is here. It's a really great class of guys."
Taylor is expecting to welcome 23 runners for cross country this Fall, the biggest men's team in school history.
"And though we are young, we have talent," Taylor said. "It is the foundation of big things to come. This will likely be a development year as all these freshmen transition from 5k to 8k races and college life. I couldn't be happier with the direction we are going."
The seven new Bisons are:
Ben Fennell (Bearden High School - Knoxville, Tenn.): Ben will be the fourth Bearden runner in the program this Fall. He has an 800m PR of 1:59.66 and has split 1:57 in the relay. His 5k PR is 17:07. Ben is a five time state qualifier in cross country and track.
"I believe Ben has the ability to make a huge impact on the team in the future," Taylor said. "He is a great character fit with the program and has the potential to explode as an athlete in the next year or two."
Andrew Jones (Mt. Juliet High School - Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) : Andrew has the potential to be incredible in the middle distance and distance events for Lipscomb. Although he just started running the 800m midday through last track season, he boasts a PR of 1:57.84 already, which is also the Mt. Juliet school record. He attempted his first season of cross country last year, but was injured early in the season and didn't compete.
"Andrew is a super nice person and has barely scratched the surface of his ability," Taylor said. "To run 1:57 with limited experience is very exciting. I think he can also make a huge impact on our cross country program and will experiment with the 1500m this track season as well."
Aaron Todd (Bedford North Lawrence High School - Bedford, Ind.): Aaron is potentially a diamond in the rough. His 5k PR of 17:01 has been off limited mileage. This year he ran 2:00.27 for 800m and split sub 2min in the relay.
"Aaron is a great fit with our program and has been described by his coaches as a diamond in the rough," said Taylor. "I am excited to watch his development here."
Cormac Carolan-Tolbert (McIntosh High School - Peachtree, Ga.): Cormac has PR's of 16:53 for 5k, 10:20 for 3200m and 4:38 for 1600m. He was the team captain this past Cross Country season.
"Cormac is such a nice person and I believe he is going to develop into a standout distance runner here," Taylor said. "He has the work ethic and attitude it takes. He is a terrific addition to our team."
Josh Taylor (Barr Reeve High School - Montgomery, Ind.): Josh was a solid No.3 runner for his cross country team in 2007 and has a 5K PR of 16:41. This was his first year of track, after playing baseball the last three years.
"I think Josh has the potential to really explode in college," said Taylor. "He has a limited background in distance running since he played baseball. It may take a year to get him the foundation he needs, but if he is patient he is going to do some great things here."
Josh Baker (Ft. Frye High School - Beverly, Ohio): Josh is another recruit with very limited experience. This was his first year of cross country and was also the first year of moving up to the 800m in track. His 5k PR of 18:28 should improve with the training to come as will his 2:10.57 800m PR.
"I honestly don't know what Josh's potential is," Taylor said. "I am certain he can run a lot faster than he has, but until I see him run and start working with him I won't know. He is a character fit with our program, which is always my top priority. If he accepts the challenge of running at this level he will improve dramatically."
Brock Lutes (Franklin High School - Franklin, Tenn.): Brock is an interesting multi-sport athlete. He moved up from the short sprints this year to run the 400m for the first time, and posted a time of 50.60. Brock has also earned all-state honors in bowling, finishing second in the state of Iowa and seventh in the state of Tennessee.
"Brock has a great work ethic and an eagerness to succeed," said Taylor. "When I watched him run the 400m I saw that he has the potential to improve dramatically, and when I asked him to turn out for cross country to build his endurance and strength, he didn't hesitate.
"He has already expressed a willingness to experiment a bit with the 800m this track season as well. When someone has an `I'll do whatever it takes to succeed' mentality it makes it hard to not be successful and it rubs off on teammates. I expect Brock to be a valuable addition to our program."
Lipscomb University is an NCAA Division I member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, located in Nashville, Tenn.