After another record-breaking cross country season, the Lipscomb men’s and women’s team awards for the 2014 season have been announced.
Each year after the season, team members and coaches vote for their peers for each award. The awards represent the aspects of the program that are most important to the team philosophy.
“It is always wonderful to celebrate the best traits of our athletes and program,” said Bill Taylor, Director of Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field. “The problem we are having, and it is a good problem, is that the majority of our athletes have all of these traits. Each year the votes get closer and closer, and more and more people get votes from their peers. So it is now pretty unusual for one person to run away with an award.
“I’m very proud of our athletes, and the fact that so many people receive votes now, shows that the final winners of these awards really stood out amongst their peers.”
2014 Season Awards: (Comments are from Coach Taylor)
Women: Avery Franklin: Franklin improved dramatically this season and ran well in meets. The biggest reason Franklin was voted for this award is what she started doing in practice. As the season progressed Franklin’s confidence grew and she started putting together practices that were as good as the top girls on the team. The team and coaches are very excited about Franklin’s future.
Men: Daniel Lenart: Lenart ran big personal records for both 5K and 8K this cross country season, and did so in his first meets of the season. It was a big step forward for a guy who is primarily a middle distance runner.
Fightin’ Bison (toughest runner on the team)-
Women: Barbara Lee Ball and Kayla Montgomery: They tied for this award. Ball is one of the most competitive and toughest runners in program history. You always know she is fighting for all she can get in practice and competition. She is a great example of desire and courage.
Montgomery’s story has been told far and wide. In dealing with the effects of multiple sclerosis, Montgomery has to endure far more than most runners anywhere. Her body overheats and gives out for periods of time. She experiences no pain, then more pain. Yet, despite all her challenges, she fights through day after day.
Men: Christian Freeman and Jared Daedler: Freeman had an injury at the end of track that kept him out of almost the entire cross country season. Cross training on his own for the entire summer and about half the season, Freeman battled to get back. Despite all the setbacks and cross training, Freeman not only came back, he helped the men repeat as A-Sun Conference Champions and was a top-3 runner for the team. He kept the faith and committed to his best for the team.
Daedler showed how important the number five guy is. The number five guy is the most important guy on the team, where he or she finishes often determines how good the team is. The men really had nobody stepping up to be the number five guy all season. Going into the A-Sun Conference Championships, the men were ranked third and not expected to repeat. Jared fought with all he had for the team, finishing high and giving the men the essential five runner that they needed to repeat.
For the Team (most inspirational, accountability and giving award)-
Women: Dani Walker: Walker ended an amazing Lipscomb career as a fifth-year senior, helping the team win a fourth A-Sun Conference title, her fourth team title at Lipscomb. For the fourth year in a row, Dani served as a team captain. She inspired the team to strive for the A-Sun title and to qualify for nationals. She held the team accountable. She gave all she had to this team, both this year and for the past four and a half years. The program would not be where it is now without Walker’s gigantic contributions.
Men: Jared Wingerter: Wingerter served as a captain for the men for the first time in his college career. He is a big contributor both on the course and off the course. He has a great personality and a big heart for others.
Heart of Gold (high character award)-
Women: Kaitlyn Llewellyn: This award is for a person who shows the highest character at all times, gives their best in all they do, does the right thing always and gives their all for the success of others. For four years Kaitlyn has excelled in the classroom, striven for excellence athletically, shown the highest character and given everything to help others succeed too.
Men: Tate Honaker: A team captain, Honaker holds a special place in the hearts of the men. He has been a behind-the-scenes leader. He will drop everything to help anyone at any time. His heart for his team is huge, and he has made a big impact on the men here.
Total Commitment (the person who always does it all and always does it right)-
Women: Kaitlyn Llewellyn: This is the fifth time in her career that she has been voted this award in cross country or track. Llewellyn is known for her total commitment to everything she does. She has been a terrific example of how to strive for excellence in all things.
Men: Juan Gonzalez: He has already shown, in his young career, his intense desire to succeed and do the right thing. His practices are amazing. He strives for excellence and has been an incredible leader by example for the men.
MVP (award for the person that was most valuable to the team’s success)-
Women: Madi Talbert: This was not a close vote. Talbert was the number one runner for the women’s team in every meet. She led the team athletically, and stepped up huge as a vocal leader as well. She won the Atlantic Sun Conference; and earned NCAA South All-Region honors.
Men: Daniel Gardner: Gardner traded off with Gonzalez all season as the team’s top runner and the vote was close. He helped the men repeat as A-Sun champs, and ended the season earning NCAA South All-Region honors.
Freshman of the Year-
Women: Paige Stoner: She was the top freshman finisher for Lipscomb in every meet this season. She never finished lower than third on the team in any meet, and her second place finish in the A-Sun Championship helped the women win their fourth consecutive conference title. Stoner improved a ton this year and has a very bright future as an elite NCAA runner.
Men: Sam Remington: Remington and Mitch Zabka really traded spots as the top freshman on the team all season. The votes were very close. Both guys worked hard to help the men’s team, and both have great opportunities to develop into great runners for the program.