LipscombSports.com
Bisons take first place in Commodore Classic
Caitlin Anderson
Caitlin Anderson

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Lipscomb Bisons, led by Ryan Chastain, won first place Saturday morning in the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic at the Vaughn's Gap course at Percy Warner Park.

"I knew our men had a really good chance to win this invitational and I'm very happy we did," said Lipscomb cross country coach Bill Taylor. " It's a gigantic day for our program and another message about where Lipscomb Cross Country and Track & Field are headed.

The Bisons battled a wet course and drizzling rain to win their first ever first place in a cross country event under coach Bill Taylor. There were 16 teams entered.

"It is literally historic for this program. At the same time we have a lot of work to do. By no means did we run great today. There is a ton of room for improvement. "

It was the first race of the season for Chastain, the leader of the team. He finished sixth overall with a time of 26:54.07 over the 8-K course. Freshman Tim Muller also finished in the top 10. He was 10th in a time of 27:02.74.

"Ryan Chastain ran and gutted it out in his first race of the year despite being sick," said Taylor. " He didn't look great, but he ran hard. Our freshmen dealt with their first ever 8-K incredibly and will get a lot better."

The race was a challenge for the freshmen Bisons who were facing an 8-K distance for the first time. Ashton Fisher was 17th with a time of 27:14.77. Isaiah Greer was 30th with time of 27:39.49 and Jeff Musick was 31st with a 27:47.59 time.

"Tim Muller and Ashton Fisher are very special runners and are showing the desire and competitiveness that champions must have," said Taylor. "Freshmen Isaiah Greer and Jeff Musick are running strong and are close to taking a big step forward ."

A couple of veteran runners, Jared Carlson and Benton Reed, are also showing signs of moving into the top places in terms of finishes. Carlson was 21st with a 27:22.18 finish. Reed was 29th with a 27:38.28.

"Jared Carlson has improved so much over the three years I've been here," said Taylor. "Benton Reed is getting closer and closer to the level he was at last year when he was our No. 2-No. 3 runner."

Taylor is dealing with the deepest talent pool he has ever had with the men's team.

"We've got other guys that are hovering back just a bit that can be up with the top group at any time," said Taylor. "We can run so much better though and I believe we are going to be tons better by the end of the season."

The Lady Bisons placed fifth in a field of 17 teams. Caitlin Anderson was the top finisher for the Lady Bisons She was 18th on the 5-K course with a time of 19:34.93.

Rounding out the top five finishers for the Lady Bisons were Shelby Marvel (22nd, 19:43.79); Catherine Beals (29th, 19:58.31); Jenny Randolph (31st, 20:01.63) and Louisa Van Batavia (34th, 20:07.23).

"The women ran O.K.," said Taylor. "It is obvious to me that they miss the presence of Carolyn Latham, our top runner the past two years. She developed into a very aggressive runner and it really set the tone for the whole team.

"Our women's team has a ton of talent, but they look kind of lost right now. Belief must overcome doubt. Desire must overcome fear. They are such a nice and supportive team, but I am waiting for them to also get that fire that is essential for success. They aren't far away, they just need someone to step up and set the tone on the course."

A large crowd of supporters, including many athletes and members of the athletics department staff, were on hand for the meet. A free pancake breakfast was served by the Student Government Association/Student Involvement.