Taylor expects success from Bisons cross country team
Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Aug. 28, 2007

The 2007 Lipscomb University Men's Cross Country team is young and hungry.

The men only lose one runner from the 2006 team that placed 7th in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships. Head coach Bill Taylor, who was hired one week before the season started, sees a very bright future for the men's program.

"I could see that spark in the men's team from our first day of training camp," Tyalor said. " They are eager to be one of the top teams in this conference and to make a mark regionally and nationally in the near future.

"The men's side of the A-Sun is especially tough, so they have their work cut out for them, but I know they will strive to be the best A-Sun team Lipscomb has ever seen. I'm also very impressed with the character and personality of the men here. It's a genuine group that cares about each other and is a team willing to put it all on the line for each other. It will be exciting to watch these young guys develop this year."

Returners for the Bison men's team include Jared Carlson (SO-Rockford, Ill.), Clint Carter (JR-Angleton, Texas), Ryan Chastain (SO-Mitchell, Ind.), Tim Cotton (JR-Louisville, Ky.), Jacob Nelson (SO-Windfield, Ind.), Andrew Shankles (SO-Knoxville, TN), Jordan Wilson (JR-Franklin, Tenn.) and David Wolfe (SO-Nashville, Tenn.).

"I am really impressed with our returners,"Taylor said. "Right now Ryan and Jordan are at the front of the team and both look great. They were the top two men for Lipscomb at the A-Sun Championships last year. They will both excel this year. Iin fact, I am really excited to see just how much faster they get.

" However, I can say the same thing about the whole team. David and Andrew are right behind and have a ton of potential for improvement. Jared and Clint are closing the gap as well. Tim is catching up from being a bit behind over the summer and Jacob has the talent to impact the team, but needs to transition from a middle distance runners mentality. The terrific thing is every one of these guys has shown me that they want to get better for themselves and for their team. Good things will happen with that attitude and focus."

Newcomers include freshmen Ryan Bell (Nashville, Tenn.), Jeff Hoover (Dickson, Tenn.), Jonathan Williams (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Paul Wright (Vincennes, Ind.).

"Paul has been a blessing for this team," Taylor said. "He was at Lipscomb last year, but didn't run. This summer he decided he missed the sport and put in a terrific summer of training. He's come into this season in shape and will have an opportunity to really impact our top group.

"The three true freshmen (Ryan, Jeff and Jonathan) are finding their way so far. They have talent and will move forward once they get the hang of college running and the 8-K distance the men race. In particular, Ryan Bell looks like he is ready to step up soon. I think we are in a fortunate situation in that it will be a bonus if one or more of them steps up and gets in the top group. At the same time they all need to develop through this season. We may need them to be up there this year, or it may be next year, but we will need them."

Lipscomb begins the season ranked 7th in the conference. They will compete in five regular season meets before hosting the A-Sun Conference Championships at Vaughn's Gap (Percy-Warner Park) on October 27th. The season opens at the Vaughn's Gap course for the Belmont Opener on August 31st, followed by the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic, also at Vaughn's Gap on September 15th. Then the Bison hit the road for meets at Auburn University, Memphis and Evansville.

The October 27th A-Sun Championship meet will be the first time Lipscomb has hosted in Cross Country.