NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb cross country teams are back in action as they open up the season with meets at Belmont and Stetson.
In the tradition of Lipscomb cross country, the squads will start off the season with an appearance at the Belmont Opener Friday at Vaughn’s Gap at Percy Warner Park.
“The men will race short there, only going 5-K,” said Bill Taylor, director of cross country. “It's a good way to start the season, especially for our freshmen who are more familiar with the 5-K distance.
“It creates a transition to the 8-K distance for them. Competition will be solid, but it’s not a huge meet. It's really the perfect size and competition to start with, and it's on our home course, so we have a lot of familiarity.”
While the women are set to compete at the Belmont Opener as well, several common names will take the weekend as a resting opportunity.
“We will be holding out most of our top returners,” Taylor said. “Sally Larson, Dani Walker, Kendra Jones (Lobley), Madi Talbert, Minna Fields, Kelsey Ibarra and others will sit out.
“We should see Kendra, Madi, Minna and Kelsey back in action in two weeks at Vanderbilt. We are going to hold Sally and Dani out until either Boston or Louisville.”
Taylor believes sitting out the top runners will give other returners and many of the freshmen the opportunity to contribute and score.
“Barbara Lee Ball looks strong this year,” Taylor said. “She should be joined by three freshmen, Paige Stoner, Katie Sperry and Kayla Montgomery.
“We aren't certain we will run Kayla at Belmont. However, those three have looked really good so far this season. I'm curious who else will step up Friday. Anything can happen in any meet."
Eight of the men will split from the pack to travel to DeBary, Florida Saturday to preview the A-Sun championship course at the River City Nature Park.
“We won't be running Christian Freeman or John Kingstedt there,” Taylor said. “Juan Gonzalez is a question mark for this one as well. Still, we expect to gain a lot of value by having our men get familiar with the course.
“They will be bringing back notes and video for the rest of the men and women to go over. So it's a very worthwhile scouting trip.”
The Belmont Opener begins at 5 p.m. The A-Sun preview is scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m.