BUCKINGHAM, Fla.-The Lipscomb Bisons cross country team entered the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship with no expectations.
After battling injuries, illness and roster shifts all season the Bisons finished seventh on the 8,000-K course at Buckingham, Fla., the home course of Florida Gulf Coast.
“The men ran pretty well overall,” Lipscomb coach Bill Taylor said. “It was certainly consistent with how they have raced throughout the season.
“It wasn't what we expect from our men's program. We want them right up at the same level as the women.”
Ryan Gadsey was the top finisher for the Bisons in 22nd place covering the course in 26:05.1. But Taylor was most impressed with freshman Jared Wingerter who placed 23rd with a time of 26:06.8.
“Jared had an amazing day,” Taylor said. “He essentially made the conference roster as the ninth guy, and was nearly our No. 1 today.”
Wingerter earned A-Sun Freshman of the Year for his effort.
Daniel Gardner placed 25th with a time of 26:14.1.
Tim Muller crossed the finish line in 35th place (26:31.7) followed by Fidel Leon in 37th (26:36), Ben Wright in 52nd (27:27.7), Dan Coleman in 54th (27:33.2) and Ashton Fisher in 61st (27:56.6).
Wingerter, Gardner and Leon all earned All-Freshman honors.
"We have to be very excited about the future after having three guys earn spots on the five-man all- freshman team,” Taylor said. “We are very proud of that accomplishment.
"Mostly, the men come away with a lot of young guys getting great experience and a very exciting feel about the future,” Taylor said. “It will not take much for us to move the men to be a contender.”
Taylor wouldn’t be surprised if the Bisons move into contender mode by next season.
“We had four other top freshmen not running here, three top returners redshirting, and another year to grow...not to mention our recruiting efforts, I'd say we have a very bright immediate future. We are close, and how big this springs us forward will depend on the men.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.