NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two weeks removed from program-best finishes of first (women) and fourth (men) at the 2011 Atlantic Sun Cross Country Championship, the Lipscomb cross country squads return to the course, Saturday. Lipscomb will compete in the NCAA South Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on the Harry Pritchett Cross Country Course. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with the men’s 10-kilometer event; the women’s 6K is scheduled for 11:15 a.m.
The women’s squad won its first-ever A-Sun Championship two weeks ago and is preparing for what head coach Bill Taylor hopes will be the best showing for the team at a Regional.
Sophomore Tessa Hoefle and senior Ashley Lehman are expected to lead the squads this week. Both earned first-team All-Conference honors at the A-Sun Championships, as well as spots on the Academic All-Conference team, Thursday. Hoefle earned A-Sun women’s cross country Scholar Athlete of the Year honors.
Another duo with lofty expectations are freshmen Minna Fields and Maggie Lawrence. Both were named to the All-Freshman team at the A-Sun Championships, with Fields earning a second-team All-Conference spot.
Rounding out the line-up for Lipscomb’s women are freshman Kaitlyn Llewellyn, sophomores Missy Dowd, Katie Bunker and Emily Longden and seniors Catherine Beals and Louisa Van Batavia.
The women’s squad was ranked a program-best sixth in the USTFCCCA South Region poll following the championships. They are ranked behind Florida State and four SEC schools: Vanderbilt, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.
On the men’s side, juniors Isaiah Greer and Ashton Fisher look to help the Bisons build off a program-best fourth-place showing at the A-Sun Championships. Both were second-team All-Conference two weeks ago.
Freshman Ryan Gadsey earned an All-Freshman team spot with a 19th-place finish, making him the first Bisons freshman to receive that honor since Nathan Brame in 2008.
Joining them in Tuscaloosa will be freshmen Tate Honaker and Zak Vruwink, juniors Geoff Musick, Ben Wright and Mike Yang and senior Benton Reed.
The men broke into the USTFCCCA South Region poll following their fourth-place showing, coming in at 13th in the Oct. 31 release. The Bisons have a long road ahead, with schools such as Florida State, Florida and Georgia to face, along with local foes like Middle Tennessee, Chattanooga and Belmont.
If everything goes Lipscomb’s way at this meet, the Bisons will put athletes in the Nov. 21 NCAA Division I National Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. The top two teams from each regional will automatically advance to the National Championships, along with 13 at-large teams. Additionally, the top four runners per region not on an automatic or at-large team bid will qualify individually for the championships, along with two more at-large individuals out of the rest of the nation.
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