NASHVILLE - The Lipscomb cross country squad competed in Nashville for the last time in 2018 on Saturday as the Bisons earned a pair of top-five team finishes at the Commodore Classic at Percy Warner Park.
The Lipscomb women’s team placed in fourth with 142 points, just nine points behind host Vanderbilt in third. Ohio State took home the women’s team title.
On the men’s side, the Bisons finished fifth with 144 points, which was a over 100 points higher than host Vanderbilt at 10th. Eastern Kentucky won the men’s team title.
Sophomore Silas Griffith paced the men, finishing 11th with a time of 25:18.4 in the 8K.
Junior William Kachman and senior Kyle Johnson were next up for the Bisons in 27th and 33rd place respectively with times of 25:56.2 and 26:04.0.
Sophomore Patrick Smith (26:16.1) finished 41st for Lipscomb, while juniors John Green (26:25.1) and Owen Glogovsky (26:36.1) were close behind in 45th and 52nd.
Juniors Jonathan Schwind (26:44.1), Zach Israel (26:52.0), and Sam Shaylor (27:00.7) rounded out the top 10 Bison runners at 57th, 65th, and 73rd.
For the women, junior Courtney Brenner led the way for Lipscomb, placing 14th with a time of 17:50.5.
Redshirt-senior Julia Fritz was hot on Brenner’s trail in 18th with a 18:02.6 mark.
Senior Brooke Kingma (18:27.8) and sophomore Lauren Flynt (18:30.5) finished nearly in tandem in 36th and 38th.
Sophomores Kayla Rudie (18:37.6) and Grace Lahey (19:01.3) completed Lipscomb’s top six, placing 52nd and 74th.
The Purple and Gold will be back in action on Sept. 29 as they split for the Willamette Invite and the Jacksonville State Foothills Invite.
Thoughts from Director of Cross Country Bill Taylor:
"Conditions were tough today, which primarily effects the times. Everyone is in the same conditions, so it doesn't create a competitive advantage or disadvantage. That being said, it was really hot and really humid. It was pretty miserable. It was bad for the men's race and worse for the women's. The same effort results in a slower time as the heat and humidity rise.
"Overall, we are quite happy with what we saw today. There was a lot of good. and there was a lot to work on. Both are positives. Both teams had great post-race meetings and celebrated the good stuff and openly talked about what they will do better.
"For the women, fourth place was a very strong finish, especially as close as the team scores were at the top. There were a lot of regionally ranked teams here and 21 teams represented. Fourth in this field is a big positive.
"Courtney ran great through most of the race. She had a rougher than normal finish, yet still put up a great performance and continues to be such an important leader on the course. Julia Fritz ran another very strong race and is a source of consistency for the team. Brooke Kingma is getting better in every way by the day, and went out there feeling ill and fought for the team. She is showing leadership, toughness and resilience. She's showing that desire and focus can overcome any obstacle.
"Lauren Flynt also showed toughness and courage. She was out most of this week with a slight injury from the Fordham meet. She wasn't sure how she would feel or how ready she was, yet she went out and ran hard and made a big difference for the women today. Kayla Rudie improved her time by 26 seconds over last year at this meet, despite the tougher conditions. That is a huge improvement on a day like today. She has been so valuable already, solidly in our top five both races.
"One of the biggest improvements came from Grace Lahey. She too, despite the conditions, ran 39 seconds faster than last year. Grace had a tough start to this season. The past week she clicked it in, decided she was a tough strong runner and has gone out and shown that to be very true. It was really exciting to see her race so well and improve so much. I'm really really proud of her. Lindsey Marriott also improved by over a minute over last year.
"I'm really proud of the racing effort and the increasing toughness and confidence on the women's team. There are a lot of things we can improve on too, and the girls have committed to doing just that.
"The men's race was a mix. We really didn't feel like we ran great, yet we didn't run bad. I was a little surprised by our fifth place finish, which shows us that on a day when we aren't at our best we can still run with and beat great teams. From that perspective it is a big confidence booster.
"At the same time there is a lot we can do better. The guys know where the biggest issues were and are committed to improving. The response to today was very positive both in the things we did well and in the intelligence and determination to improve dramatically. Ultimately, that is what these meets are about.
"Silas again led the way for the men. He is definitely our leader on the course and the guy that the other guys are working toward. Despite the conditions, Silas actually ran eight seconds faster than he did last year in this meet. Close behind him, Will Kachman also ran faster than he did last year in this meet. Will and John Green have been working hard both with Silas and together late in races. Will was a bit behind early today. John Green ran as our number most of the race before fading with some severe heat problems late. Even so, John ran 13 seconds faster than last year.
"Kyle Johnson is running great and moved up from sixth on the team last week to be our number three today. He has the opportunity to be a major impact runner for the men this year. Patrick Smith is another guy that has taken a huge step forward this year. He improved by 23 seconds today over last year and helped the team greatly as our number four guy today. He has been solidly in our top five both meets this season.
"We also had four guys that are really working hard and are close to big breakthroughs. Owen Glogovsky improved as the race went on and is close to having a big race soon. Jonathan Schwind has a ton of talent and is working to be a big asset to the men's team. He has run two solid races this year and could take a huge step forward at any time.
"Zach Israel is usually in our top five. Today he got sick during the race and had to stop to puke. That may be too much information, but it shows how much better he will be and it shows his toughness to run with that and to get back in the race and keep fighting. Finally, Sam Shaylor has been injured the past two years. He is healthy, and I think he kinda gets overlooked. But he is working really hard and slowly moving himself up the team rankings. It is awesome to see him showing such toughness and fight and for giving himself the chance to succeed and to help our team.
"I'm really proud of both teams today. We faced a lot of challenges with the very hot and humid weather, with some sickness, with a big travel meet last week, and still came out here and competed hard. We actually had a surprising number of men and women improve their times over last year despite the tough conditions. Both teams earned top five finishes, which is really strong. More importantly, both teams looked at this race and identified the good things and the things they will change. There is a lot of maturity in being able to examine oneself honestly and critically. Both teams are headed in the right direction and today was of great benefit to a very successful future."