NASHVILLE - The Lipscomb cross country squad competed at a pair of meets on Saturday with top-notch results, as they finished in the top three on the men’s and women’s side at both the Willamette Invite and the Jacksonville State Foothills Invite.
At the Willamette Invite in Salem, Oregon, the women’s squad took second place while the men finished in third. Both scored exactly 68 points.
For the women, senior Julia Fritz nearly won the individual title, taking second overall with a time of 17:14.1.
Sophomores Lauren Flynt (17:32.2) and Kayla Rudie (17:38.1) were up next in 10th and 14th, respectively.
Junior Brooke Kingma (17:41.6), sophomores Grace Lahey (18:01.1) and Lindsey Marriott (18:16.1) closed out the Lipscomb crew in 16th, 26th, and 34th.
On the men’s side, sophomore Silas Griffith led the way in fourth place with a time of 24:33.4 in the 8K.
Juniors Zach Israel (24:48.5), William Kachman (25:02.9), John Green (25:04.8), and Owen Glogovsky (25:07.8) formed the rest of the Bison top five finishing in 11th, 16th, 17th, and 20th.
Sophomore Patrick Smith (25:18.5) and junior Kyle Johnson (25:20.1) were close behind in 24th and 25th.
Thoughts from Director of Cross Country Bill Taylor:
“We are really happy with what we accomplished today. Both the men and the women ran great races and improved in some key areas.
“The women had a big challenge to overcome. We planned to race nine girls here in Oregon. Courtney probably could have run, but she isn’t 100% and her goals and the team goals are bigger for the end of the season. We also ended up leaving Hannah Owens (sickness) and Bridgette Doucet (academic conflict) back in Nashville. So to see our women go out and race so hard for each other was awesome and a huge statement.
“Julia ran in the front pack the whole race, and really did some work to push the pace late. She ran so smooth and fast. It was a huge breakthrough for her today. She had the lead with 200m to go, and just got passed by a girl with a 2:05 800m PR. Julia ran amazing.
“Lauren had a big breakthrough day as well. Mid-race she was in the second pack and left it to run down and join the lead pack. That is really hard to do and takes a major commitment and decision. I am so proud of her for being brave and tactically smart.
“Kayla, Brooke, Grace and Lindsey had great days as well. It was probably the best cross country race ever for three of them. Brooke ran great despite feeling awful. It’s when you don’t feel good and you fight through anyway that you learn how tough you can be, and Brooke showed today she is super tough.
“The guys worked so well together today. It was a gigantic improvement over two weeks ago at Vandy. They were really happy with their performance today and really raced for each other.
“Silas again led the way, running up front. He is having a terrific season and is very important to this men’s team. The other guys are closing the gap now. We had a lot of guys who moved up closer to him. The men really worked well together.
“Zach had a big breakthrough race today. His last mile was awesome. It’s hard to isolate the other guys in comments because most of them ran as a strong pack today. I think 8 of our 10 guys ran their all-time 8K PR today.
“Both teams are really making the big steps forward that we want and need to make. They all know what they need to continue to improve on. I am really happy with our progress.
At the JSU Invite, both the men’s and women’s squads finished in third. The men notched 95 points and the women earned 116.
Freshman Jared Touart led the men with a ninth place finish at 22:55.0 in the 7K. Fellow freshman Adan Rodriguez (22:58.9) was not too far behind in 12th.
Senior Robert Rupp (23:41.3), freshman Sam Kuhn (23:42.2), and senior Ryan Speer (23:56.9) rounded out the top five in 26th, 27th, and 31st.
For the women, sophomore Haley Kling led the charge in 13th with a 19:23.7 mark.
Junior Haley Humphrey (19:33.6), freshman Ayse Allison (19:34.6), and junior Grace Oetting (20:08.6) placed in 19th, 20th, and 32nd.
Next up for the Bisons will be the Evansville Invite on Oct. 13.