NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb cross country squads return to their home course Saturday to compete in the Vanderbilt Invitational.
"We are excited to race on our home course again,” said Bill Taylor, director of track and field. “The familiarity and the home crowd are always nice. It will be the last time we race in Nashville this cross country season.”
Many of the girls who were absent from competition during the Belmont Opener will see running time at Vanderbilt.
“In addition to the girls who ran at Belmont, Minna Fields and Kayla Montgomery are two important additions to our squad this week,” Taylor said. “Kayla Droessler, Kelsey Ibarra, and Kendra Jones (Lobley) are also strong past contributors who will be racing for the first time Saturday.
"We will still hold out our top three runners (Sally Larson, Madi Talbert, and Dani Walker) this week. We hope to race them at Boston in two more weeks.”
Sophomore Barbara Lee Ball and freshman Paige Stoner competed well at Belmont two weeks ago. Ball, last week’s Atlantic Sun Runner of the Week, placed 10th with a time of 18:04.40 while Stoner crossed the line in 18:22.75 placing 18th.
"We are excited to see Barbara Lee and Paige Stoner continue their development,” Taylor said. “Both ran great season debuts at Belmont and with cooler weather conditions and a familiar course, they should enjoy this opportunity.”
As for the men’s team, many of the top runners will sit out this weekend’s meet including Juan Gonzalez and Daniel Gardner.
Gonzalez and Gardner were two of the top men’s runners to preview the course for this year’s A-Sun Championships two weeks ago in Florida. Gardner placed second overall at the Hatter Invitational with a time of 26:44.71 and Gonzalez finished third crossing the line in 26:44.71.
"It's hard to hold out some of our best men and women, especially for races on our home course,” Taylor said. “Our goals are for the end of the season though. We are more focused on A-Sun, regionals and hopefully nationals.
“We have some big regular season meets before that too. Boston, Louisville and Pre-Nationals will all offer competition against many nationally ranked teams. We have a plan and want to be ready for the second half."
The men’s race will begin at 9 a.m. and the women are scheduled to start at 10 a.m.