FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Lipscomb cross country coach Bill Taylor sent a team of runners to the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational in an effort to learn about the course which will be used for the Atlantic Sun Championships.
While he wasn’t sure what to expect from his teams the Lady Bisons, led by the first place finish of Dani Walker, won team honors in Fort Myers, Fla., Friday night in the season opener.
"The women did everything we set out to do,” Taylor said. “They had a lot of fun with this race, and it was a very positive start to our season. Though we still have a lot of work to do, we can build some amazing things upon this beginning.
"We learned a lot here. It has been a very valuable trip."
Also in the top 10 finishers for the Lady Bisons were Kendra Lobley, 18:25 (third); Tessa Hoefle, 18:26 (fourth); Madelin Talbert, 18:26 (fifth); Maggie Lawrence, 18:27 (sixth); Kaitlyn Llewellyn, 18:31 (seventh); Hannah Munyan, 18:36 (eighth) and Kayla Droessler, 18:50 (ninth),
Rounding out the finishers in the 5-K run were Missy Dowd, 19:31 (14th); Alex Newby, 19:39 (16th); Minna Fields, 19:46 (17th); Amanda Twigg, 19:47 (18th); Renee Menzie, 19:51 (19th) and Emily Longden 20:02 (21st).
The men, with three finishers in the top five, finished second to Florida Gulf Coast. Daniel Gardner, 26:28 in the 8-K was third with Tim Muller placing fourth with a time of 26:35 and Matt Hall clocked in at 26:48in fifth.
"I was disappointed in the men's overall team effort,” Taylor said. “It wasn't what we expected and we need to improve by a lot, especially in commitment to each other.
“Tim ran pretty solid and our top two freshmen were impressive in their collegiate debut. Their performance was even more impressive when you consider that their first ever college race was an 8-K. We always start the season with a 5-K. Daniel and Matt showed a lot of race maturity and a lot of guts. They are going to be really good.”
The rest of the finishers for the Bisons were Tate Honaker, 27:30 (10th); Ashton Fisher, 28:27 (14th), Ben Wright, 28:42 (15th); Matt Fry, 29:23 (18th) and Elliott Ramirez 32:28 (31st).
"I expect more from our seniors, Ashton and Ben,” Taylor said. I’m not trying to pick on them, but they need to show the experience and leadership the team needs.
“And we have to close up our 1-5 gap. Almost a full minute from our first runner to our fifth is ridiculous. That just can't happen if we want to be successful.”
The remainder of the team competed Friday night in the Belmont Invitational at the Vaughn’s Creek course in Percy Warner Park.
Alex Tate, in 29th place, was the top finisher for the Lady Bisons with a time of 15:56 in the 4-K run. The Lady Bisons were seventh overall.
Austin Casassa was the top runner for the men covering the 5-K course in for 25th place in a time of 16:14. The Bisons finished ninth as a team.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.