TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Tuning up for the Atlantic Sun Championships in two weeks, the Lipscomb cross country squads concluded the regular season wrapping up competition at Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Indiana and the Front Runner Invite in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
"We had mixed results today,” said Bill Taylor, director of cross country. “The women ran quite well overall. Finishing 12th out of 43 teams in the fast race is a solid accomplishment.
“We aren't very satisfied though because we know we can run a lot better. So it wasn't a bad race by any means, but it wasn't what we expected either.”
Testing out the course for the National Championships, the Lady Bisons recorded a total time of 1:50.02.30 averaging 22:00.46. Junior Madi Talbert clocked in at 21:21.0 to secure 33rd out of almost 300 runners.
The next Lady Bison to reach the finish line was Paige Stoner who logged a time of 22:04.1 placing 97th followed by Dani Walker who placed 104th in 22:07.5.
"The big thing for the women is committing to the plan and working together,” Taylor said. “We see pieces of what needs to happen, but we haven't had at least five women willing to do exactly what has been asked of them. They are close, but not quite there.
“One of our goals is to qualify for nationals. We are close, but not quite there yet. We have four weeks to prepare physically, but way more importantly mentally, to give it a go. I hope we make some significant changes in our paradigms during this four weeks.”
Leading the men’s team for much of the season, Juan Gonzalez and Daniel Gardner struggled to find their tempo in Terre Haute. Gonzalez placed 103rd out of 309 runners in the 8-K with a time of 25:28.4 while Gardner fell to 195th registering a time of 26:06.8.
"The men at Pre-Nationals were just plain bad,” Taylor said. “I don't really know what to say and Coach Benton Reed doesn't either. They didn't really compete. Juan and Daniel don't go out with the top runners.
“I think they were in the 100's, maybe even the 200's the whole race. Our guys behind them looked passive and petrified. Coach Reed is trying to get them going. I had a big talk with them two weeks ago, which didn't seem to have any impact. I hate it because they are talented.”
With Christian Freeman leading the way in Chattanooga in his season debut, the men competing at the Front Runner Invite placed third overall with a time of 1:24.52 and an average time of 16:58.37.
"We had some good performances at Chattanooga too,” Taylor said. “Most notable was Christian Freeman's return. He ran a solid season debut and has to have confidence about what he can accomplish."
Freeman guided the pack crossing the line in 15:28.03 to secure a seventh place finish. Derek Peterson followed behind Freeman posting a time of 16:46.49 to lock in 14th place overall.
Hannah Munyan closed out the day for the women at the Front Runner Invite placing 15th with a time of 11:47.70 while Alex Newby picked up 17th place overall with her time of 11:52.40.
"For both the men and the women the regular season is over,” Taylor said. “The season that was, is a learning experience.
“We have a new season ahead of us now. The championships stand on their own, and it doesn't matter what has or has not been accomplished previously.”
The teams will put their conference championships on the line on Nov. 1 as the Bisons hit the course at Sanford, Florida for the A-Sun Cross Country Championships.