NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The weather has been hot and humid since the last time the Lipscomb cross country squads took to the course but Saturday at the Vanderbilt Invite there will be a cool down while the Purple and Gold tries to heat up.
“The weather has been unseasonably hot lately,” Bill Taylor, director of cross country and track and field, said. “Saturday we’ll find out more and it is supposed to be pretty cool. We are excited to get out there in a little bit cooler weather and see where we stand.”
Both the men’s and women’s squads will have a chance to compete against quality competition.
“It will be a real good meet on both sides,” Taylor said. “Vanderbilt’s women are ranked No. 20 in the nation in the preseason poll. It will be a good test to see where we are. We really have nothing to lose running against a team that good. Wherever we finish will be a good reference point.
“Also running are Mississippi and Mississippi State, two teams that are ranked in the South Region.”
The men’s squad will also do battle with Ole Miss and Mississippi State along with getting its first look at three schools from the Atlantic Sun.
“Mississippi and Mississippi State will be good tests,” Taylor said. “More importantly, ETSU and Northern Kentucky are coming. Mercer will be here as well. I ranked Northern Kentucky second and ETSU first in the conference poll.
“I think of this weekend of our guys being up against our top two teams in the A-Sun. It is really solid competition to see where we are at.”
Released on Thursday, the A-Sun Coaches Poll placed ETSU first with Lipscomb second on the men’s side. Northern Kentucky was placed sixth and Mercer seventh.
The Lipscomb women were a unanimous first place choice. ETSU was third with Northern Kentucky sixth and Mercer eighth.
As far as how the meet will look for Lipscomb, coach Taylor said it is a little difficult to predict.
“It is a little hard to predict what this weekend is going to look like,” Taylor said. “In the scope of things, this weekend isn’t that important. It would be nice to do well and build momentum.
“The Belmont Opener was a really good start. It showed that our women are really good. And our men, in particular, really made a statement about themselves.”
After the meet, Lipscomb freshman Sally Larson was named the A-Sun Runner of the Week, finishing second overall and top runner collegiately.
The men’s side saw freshmen Juan Gonzalez and Christian Freeman lead the Bisons with seventh and eighth place finishes, respectively.
With the Belmont Opener only being a 5K race for the men, Taylor thinks the men’s race will be exciting as the distance is increased to 8K.
“The big test is that Juan, Christian and John (Kingstedt) have never ran an 8K,” Taylor said. “Our course is not an easy course, so it will be interesting to get their first 8k under their belt.”
The men’s race takes off at 9 a.m. and the women are slated for 10 a.m. at Vaughn’s Gap in Percy Warner Park.