Lipscomb cross country coach Bill Taylor has placed a challenging schedule in front of his Lady Bisons and Bisons and he has realized the need to pace their performances in order to provide the highest possible success.
This Saturday at the Commodore Classic at Percy Warner Park the men’s team will have its top runners entered, but the top 15 women will not participate.
In Thursday’s Atlantic Sun Conference poll the Lady Bisons were picked first and the Bisons were ranked fourth. The Lady Bisons are also ranked fifth in the South Region.
Due to the large field expected, Vanderbilt officials have decided to have four races. The Men’s Gold 8-K race will begin at 9 a.m. followed by the Women’s Gold 6-K at 9:45. The Men’s Black race starts at 10:30 followed by the Women’s Black race at 11:15.
"We are resting our top 15 women this weekend,” Taylor said. “We have some very important meets coming up and our top women will benefit more from doing a practice and preparing mentally for the rest of the season.
“We will have about six or seven women in the race and it will be a great opportunity for some of them to move up the roster. It's a tough decision because this meet is on our home course and right here in Nashville. There will be a lot of great teams here, and our top women would love to race in front of the home crowd. We have to look at the bigger picture though and make the best decisions for our greater goals.”
The Lady Bisons, the defending A-Sun champions, finished first at the season opening meet at Florida Gulf Coast. The men placed second, but Taylor was not pleased with what he saw overall.
"Our men's team is young and most will race this weekend,” Taylor said. “We are sitting seniors Tim Muller and Ashton Fisher. I think almost everyone else is racing.
“The men have improved in practice the past two weeks. Now we want to see improvement in the race. This race is a great opportunity to see what progress has been made and whether the men are serious about the goals they have stated. If they run for each other, all will be good."
One of Taylor’s biggest concerns was the failure of the men’s team to follow his race plan at FGCU.
“If they do poorly because I gave them a bad plan then it is on me,” Taylor said. “When you don’t execute the plan from the moment the gun goes off then that bothers me. They need to listen to what I tell them to do. They need to race better together. They need to fight for every inch.
“I don’t know what my expectations were per se for the men in the first meet. Daniel Gardner and Matt Hall did a really good job for freshmen in their first meet.”
The Lady Bisons will compete at the Toledo Intercollegiate “Bubblebuster” meet in Toledo, Ohio Sept. 22. Both teams will race Sept. 29 in Kentucky at the Louisville Classic.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations for Athletics.