NASHVILLE- The defending Atlantic Sun men’s and women’s cross country champions jump back into action on Saturday with two meets to commence the 2015 season.
After winning the women’s A-Sun title for the fourth consecutive year and taking back-to-back men’s titles, the Lipscomb cross country squad is ready to hit the ground running once again.
With both the Belmont Opener and the North Florida A-Sun Preview set for Saturday, the Bisons will have a busy opening weekend.
"The Belmont Opener will give us a baseline,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “It's a good starting point to see where we are and what we are doing well, so we can see where we need to go and what we need to do better.
"In a certain sense the results of the first two meets don't matter. There is no record or at large points aren't available yet, so meets like this are lower key.”
Most of the runners will race at the Belmont Opener, which takes place at Vaughn’s Gap, a course the Bisons are familiar with.
"We are really excited to see both teams in action,” Taylor said. “They've been training all summer. We've been together for about three weeks. A lot of base work has been put in. We do all that to get these opportunities. More importantly, they get to put on the Lipscomb uniform and go compete together.”
The women’s team received all the first place votes in the A-Sun preseason coaches’ poll, and were voted third overall in the South Region by the USTFCCCA. Senior Madi Talbert was selected as the A-Sun Preseason Runner of the Year.
"We are running most of the women's team,” Taylor said. “I want to see how we work together as a team, and what we need to improve on.”
The men’s squad also received all the first place votes in the A-Sun coaches’ poll, and finished ninth in the USTFCCCA South Region poll. Junior Juan Gonzalez earned the A-Sun Preseason Runner of the Year award.
"Four of the top guys are traveling down to Jacksonville to run in North Florida's Invite,” Taylor said. “They will preview the A-Sun Championship course we will race on at the end of the season. The rest of the guys will go after it at Belmont. We have some great newcomers, and it will be fun to watch them compete for the first time in a Lipscomb uniform."
For the Belmont Opener, the men will start at 9 a.m. and the women will begin at 9:40 a.m. At North Florida, the men will kick off at 8:30 a.m.