NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb track and field teams were split this week between two different meets and the results were positive on both fronts.
Some team members went to Birmingham, Ala., for the Samford Invitational at the Birmingham Crossplex. Another group headed north for the Southern Illinois Invitational.
"It was a good solid weekend for us,” head coach Bill Taylor said. “We were a little flat in some areas, and we excelled in others.
“In some aspects it was the opposite of last week, with more action and success on the track, than in the field events. Obviously we want to pull it all together at Atlantic Sun in two weeks.”
Christian Freeman and Daniel Gardner both performed well at Samford. Freeman finished third and broke Ryan Chastain’s school record in the 3000 meters with a 8:26.64. Gardner was close to breaking the record with a time of 8:31.43, an 11th place finish.
"Those two guys are really leading the team, while we wait for Juan (Gonzalez) and John (Kingstedt) to get back,” Taylor said. “I'm really proud of those guys.”
Also at Samford Dani Walker was seventh in the 3,000 meters (10:02.22) and Minna Fields was 10th with a time of 10:08.08.
"Dani and Minna ran great in the 300 meters,” Taylor said. “Katie Bianchini made a terrific season and college debut with a 5:04 mile.
Madi Talbert ran an Atlantic Sun-leading 17:25 in the 5000 meters.
“Madi really struggled last week, so her performance in the 5000m this week was that much more impressive,” Taylor said. “She also ran a faster mile in the DMR, a little after her 5000m, than she ran in the open mile a week ago. So we are really excited for her.”
Overall Taylor was happy with the distance and middle distance performances.
“We had our first week of quality workouts of the season last week,” Taylor said. “That is enough to get our kids sore, but really doesn't provide any benefits physiologically.
“We are three weeks behind where we have been in any previous season. It's going to pay off in the long run. I was worried about the psychology of our distance runners being behind and racing on no training. They have done amazing, and we will now just get stronger and stronger.”
Gemikal Prude continued his early season success in the high jump. He won the event at the Samford meet with an effort of 7-01 feet.
"Coach (Luke) Syverson moved him up to 2.22m after he had the win, trying to move him up in the national rankings,” Taylor said. “He had three good misses and showed that it's just a matter of time before he goes even higher.
Kevin Floyd vaulted a season best 14-9 feet.
Tucker Peabody set a school record in the 200 meters, finishing first at Samford with a time of 21.20 seconds.
"Tucker ran strong,” Taylor said. “He is just looking for one big drop to get to Nationals.”
With all of the success at Samford, Taylor thought the highlight was the 4x400 relay team.
"They took almost three seconds off our indoor school record,” Taylor said. “We've been waiting for a breakthrough there. Last week, and the week before, it just didn't click.
“The guys (Peabody, Kenny Smith, Brian Gentry, Colin Dempster) were motivated and committed to putting up a good time this week. The exciting thing is they can run even faster.”
At Southern Illinois the distance runners also had a good weekend.
"Barbara Lee Ball moved to third in the A-Sun in the mile with a 5:03,” Taylor said. “She doubled back and put up a nice 10:14 in the 3000m to move into seventh in the A-Sun.
“I was also impressed with D.A. Lowery, who put up a solid 8:56 3000m in his first ever 3-K race.”
Taylor added that Nelson Scott “put up some nice performances” in a simulated Pentathlon.
“Nelson will be a contender for All-Conference honors in that event,” Taylor said.
The A-Sun Indoor Championships are the main goal for the track and field teams. The time for preparation is getting shorter.
"We have one more weekend to fine tune before A-Sun,” Taylor said. “I like our progress and effort. Next weekend will be a dress rehearsal. We are moving in a very good direction for the indoor conference championships."