NASHVILLLE – The Lipscomb cross country squad kicked off its 2016 fall campaign with success as the Bisons earned a pair of second place finishes at the Belmont Opener on Saturday morning.
The race, which took place at Lipscomb’s home course Vaughn’s Gap, featured fellow Nashville schools Belmont, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee State among other local programs.
"This meet is always an opportunity to break the rust off and see where we are,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “It's nice that it’s on our home course, which is a fairly challenging course. We have familiarity with the course, and we can do an even better breakdown assessment of our performances than we can on other courses.”
The women finished second with 31 total points, just seven points behind nationally-ranked Vanderbilt and 55 points ahead of third place Belmont.
The Vanderbilt women were ranked second in the South region and 28th in the nation heading into the weekend.
"The women looked really good,” Taylor said. “We may have been a little too aggressive early, but I'll take that. I'd rather be too aggressive and tune it down just a bit. There were some great performances and some girls on the team were nearly a minute faster than they ran on this course in previous years.”
The Lady Bisons grabbed five of the top ten individual spots with sophomore Brooke Kingma leading the way with a second place time of 17:42.7. Senior Sally Larson was close behind in fourth with a mark of 17:43.9.
Senior Barbara Lee Ball took sixth with a time of 17:46.5, while sophomore Bridgette Doucet (17:53.5) and junior Avery Franklin (18:06.1) took ninth and 10th, respectively.
"The women's race was fun too as it essentially turned into a dual meet,” Taylor said. “Vanderbilt and Lipscomb each put five women in the top ten. It really went back and forth out there throughout the race, with Vandy finishing just a bit better. I enjoyed watching the competition between our two teams.”
On the men’s side, the Bisons took second behind host Belmont with 47 total points.
"The men looked very good early,” Taylor said. “They struggled in the middle and then finished pretty strong. So, we have to solve the middle of the race, which is completely solvable.”
Sophomore Brent Leber led the way for the men, finishing eighth with a time of 15:32.2. Fellow sophomore Ryan Speer placed 11th with a 15:38.5 mark.
Freshman Owen Glogovsky (15:41.6) and sophomore Kyle Johnson (15:41.9) took 15th and 16th, respectively.
"The biggest value of this first race is to learn where we are strong and where we need to improve,” Taylor said. “We certainly have more data to work with now and big opportunities to take it to the next level next time, so it was a very successful day."
The Purple and Gold’s next outing will be on Sept. 17 at the Commodore Classic.