MACON, Ga.-In 2011 the Lipscomb men's cross country team finished fourth in the Atlantic Sun, their highest finish in the conference.
That apparently caught the attention of A-Sun coaches who picked the Bisons to finish third in the 2012 preseason poll.
"I believe this is the highest ever A-Sun ranking for the men, coach Bill Taylor said. “We had a very strong recruiting class to add to a solid core of veterans.
“It will be a very exciting season for the men's program, and no matter what the ultimate finish, it should be the best season in Lipscomb Men's Cross Country history.”
Taylor is expecting this year’s team to be deep despite two veteran performers opting to redshirt this season.
"The men will be led by returners Tim Muller, Ashton Fisher, Ryan Gadsey and Ben Wright,” Taylor said. “They will be bolstered by a very enthusiastic and talented group of freshmen.
“So far we have been very impressed with Matt Hall, Matt Fry and Daniel Gardner up front. Some of our top freshmen from the recruiting class, sub-9:20 guys Grant Stromberg and Austin Casassa, have been nicked up to start the season and haven't contributed yet. It will be nice if they make the transition and contribute before the A-Sun meet.”
Isaiah Greer was an All-A-Sun performer in 2011 and Geoff Musick was a member of the 2010 All-A-Sun team. Both have asked to redshirt this season.
“They will provide leadership in practice,” Taylor said. “It means even more spots open for freshmen and other returners to make an impact. Of the other returners, Tate Honaker has looked the best so far. He looks a lot stronger than he did as a freshman.
“It's tough to rely on freshmen too, however this group looks ready to succeed in college. It's going to be a very fun year and we have been excited to see this men's team in action."
USC Upstate and Kennesaw State each earned five first place votes. Upstate edged Kennesaw State for top preseason honors.
"The men's side of the conference is so tight,” Taylor said. “It could easily be just a few points separating the first place team from the sixth place team. I think the conference is wide open.
“Teams like Kennesaw and USC Upstate have a big advantage with top level No. 1 runners. We will have to close up a group on them to have a chance.”