NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A blend of newcomers and old hands are part of head coach Bill Taylor’s big plans for the 2011 track and field season as they head into the teeth of the schedule with this weekend’s Ed Temple Classic, at TSU’s Gentry Center beginning at 8 a.m., Saturday.
Joining Lipscomb and the host Tigers at this event will be Alabama A&M, Austin Peay, Chattahoochee Tech, Florida A&M, Jackson State, MTSU, Savannah State and Western Kentucky.
“We are very excited about the men’s program this year,” Taylor said. “It’s a balanced squad with representation in all events and strength in all events.
“We are a little disappointed to lose two of our top incoming freshmen to grades and another to injury. However, it is a much stronger men’s team than last year. They are excited and motivated for the season and want to put together the best season yet.”
Leading the men into this event is sophomore Tucker Peabody, an A-Sun all-conference selection and U.S. Junior National qualifier in the 100m and 200m dash. Peabody owns Lipscomb records in the 200m dash (indoor and outdoor) and the 55m dash (indoor) and ran a leg on the 4x200m relay team that broke the school record last season as well. He set two of those in December’s MTSU Christmas Invite (Indoor 200m: 21.77s, 55m: 6.48s) and found the podium at last season’s Ed Temple with a runner-up 200m dash of 22.48s.
“Tucker is definitely the first one you think of as our stand-out guy,” Taylor said. “He looks stronger than ever this year. He has matured a ton mentally and physically and he should just build on what he started last year.”
Another stand-out returner is junior Dillon Seigenthaler, a multi-event specialist who earned all-conference honors in his first season with the Bison in both the heptathlon (indoor) and decathlon (outdoor). He set school records in both events, along with the 55m hurdles, 60m hurdles and 110m hurdles.
“Dillon is also an exciting athlete,” Taylor said. “What he did last year, after three years of not doing athletics, was incredible. His goals are huge this year and he will be fun to watch.”
Juniors Adam Austin (high jump) and Ashton Fisher (3000m steeplechase) were all-conference athletes last season and look to continue that this year. Fisher and classmate Isaiah Greer were both all-conference athletes during the 2011 cross country season as well.
Other returners to watch will be juniors Bobby Bassett and Ryan Whitley, while newcomers Houston Ward (throws), Colin Dempster (400m dash) and Matt Deery (pole vault and multi events) are also expected to contribute.
“I am probably most excited about our 4x400m relay this season,” Taylor said. “It’s my favorite event and I believe it is the foundation of a track program. It’s your four best athletes on the team. Bassett has been training hard, Tucker has stepped up to compete for a big spot on that relay, Dempster should be a huge addition, and Whitley, among others, should be fighting for a spot or pushing others to go faster as well.”
Following this week’s meet, the Bison will move on to the Saluki Booster, Jan. 13-14, hosted by Southern Illinois in Carbondale.
“It will be fun to get the season really going this weekend at the TSU meet with the sprints, jumps, hurdles and throws,” Taylor said. “We have a great schedule once again, which will give all of our athletes the opportunity to improve and will give our top tier athletes the chance to compete against the best in the nation.”
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