MACON, Ga. – It was a clean sweep for the Lipscomb cross country program, as the men’s and women’s squads received all eight first place votes in the preseason coaches’ poll and Madi Talbert and Juan Gonzalez were named the Preseason Male and Female Runners of the Year.
"We are ready for another great year and looking forward to trying to defend our A-Sun titles,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “North Florida is tough on both sides, so we have to be prepared for them and anyone else.”
Following a year that saw the women’s program win its fourth consecutive A-Sun title and the men’s program win back-to-back A-Sun championships, expectations are high.
“Both teams have most of our top runners returning and we added a lot of new talent,” Taylor said. “We have a lot of work to do between now and the championships. We have a great chance to repeat.
"Our team goals are to win conference and to qualify for NCAA I Nationals. The teams are clear on what they want.”
After posting the best score in A-Sun Championship history (21 points) the women’s squad moved on to the Division I South Regional Championships where the team grabbed a program-best fourth place finish thanks to a 1:43.22 total time.
The men’s squad also competed in the Regionals, finishing 11th overall with a total time of 2:39.12
In the 2015 season, Talbert was named the A-Sun Runner of the Year, earned a First Team All-Conference nod and three Runner of the Week awards.
"Juan and Madi have been leaders on the course for us,” Taylor said. “Madi has a great opportunity to win the A-Sun again. There are a number of girls that will challenge her, both from the conference and from within her own team. We have a lot of fast girls, and they make each other better.”
After finishing first overall at the A-Sun Championships with a time of 17:35.95, she ran in the Regionals . At the Regionals, Talbert finished 16th out of nearly 200 runners with a mark of 20:20.5 earning an All-South Region spot.
In his 2014 campaign, Juan Gonzalez was named A-Sun First Team All-Conference thanks to a third place finish at the A-Sun Championships with a mark of 25:05.53.
"Juan is the top returning guy in the A-Sun,” Taylor said. “He has a great chance to win it this year. He, too, will have great competition for it from some great runners in the conference and from a number of his own teammates.”
Gonzalez also qualified for the Regionals, crossing the finish line in 26th with a time of 31:07.0. "That is a nice place to be for us,” Taylor said. “You really can't predict who will be our number one any given meet. It takes pressure off everyone and frees them up to just give their best. It's really hard for other teams to focus on just one or two of our runners. It's going to be a fun season."