Cross country grabs pair of top-two finishes in ASUN preview
Saturday, October 1, 2016
By Logan Butts
Cross country grabs pair of top-two finishes in ASUN preview

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Lipscomb cross country squad turned in a successful performance on Saturday morning at the USC Upstate Invitational.

The race took place on the same course that will host the ASUN Championship at the end of the regular season, so the meet gave the Bisons an opportunity to preview the course.

"The women ran solid today," Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bil Taylor said. "We used this race to work on key tactics and styles of racing."

The women took first overall in the meet, compiling 20 total points to finish a full 66 points ahead of second place Appalachian State.

"I was especially happy with how many of our women stepped up for the team," Taylor said. "We didn't race Brooke Kingma and Barbara Lee Ball, two of our top women. The team didn't miss a beat."

Although Kidan Kidane of Kennesaw State took first overall individually, the Lady Bisons swept spots two through seven.

Senior Sally Larson (18:00.74) led the way with a second place finish, following closely by junior Avery Franklin (18:05.23) in third.

"Avery Franklin made a bold move in taking the lead for the Bisons early in the race with a strong group of six of our girls clsoe behind," Lipscomb assistant coach Steven Mason said.

"We ran a strong and confident race today. We put ourselves in an excellent position early in the race and held strong throughout." 

Junior Kacey Kemper (18:09.05), freshman Courtney Brenner (18:11.45), and sophomores Hannah Owens (18:16.76) and Bridgette Doucet (18:17.70) finished fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively, while sophomore Grace Oetting rounded out the top 10 in 10th place with a time of 18:30.09.

"Kacey Kemper deserves special recognition," Taylor said. "She's run terrific the past three races and is calm and confident. 

"Sally ran up front as usual. Avery stepped up another level and led the team through much of the race. Courtney is getting stronger and stronger. Hannah Owens took a huge step forward today. Those are just some of the people we saw run really well."

On the men’s side, the Bisons finished second with 37 total points, just two behind winner Flroida Gulf Coast.

"We learned a lot from today's race," Lipscomb assistant coach Benton Reed said. "Some guys took some big steps forward, while others need to adapt. 

"Overall, we know we are capable of more. This is a great challenge for the team. I'm excited to see how the guys rspond."  

Sophomore Brent Leber earned the top time for the men for the fourth week in a row, 25:15.03, as the finished third overall.

"Brent continued his great season," Reed said. "He is racing with a lot of confidence." 

Freshman Zach Israel (25:44.49) was close behind in third, while junior Sam Remington (25:54.44) and sophomore Andrew Ayers (25:57.91) placed eighth and ninth. Freshman Kyle Johnson (26:08.64) closed out the top-five spots for the Bisons in 12th overall.

The Bisons will be back in action on Oct. 14 at the Alabama Crimson Classic. 

"We are also excited because there are things we can do better," Taylor said. "We have room to improve, which is exciting. It will be nice to have two weeks of just training to prepare to go to another level."