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Lipscomb track and field teams have their best A-Sun Championship ever
Kristin Ratzlaff
Kristin Ratzlaff

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Lipscomb Men’s and Women’s Track & Field teams competed Friday and Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., at the Atlantic Sun Outdoor Track & Field Championships. A program- best seven men and women earned All-Atlantic-Sun honors in four events Saturday.

“This Championship meet was a major success and not just because of the points scored or the number of All-A-Sun athletes,” said Bill Taylor, Lipscomb’s head coach. “In almost every event our athletes met or surpassed their ranking coming in. We had tons of PR’s in this last meet as well, and the team did a great job of cheering and supporting each other.”

For the men, this year’s A-Sun meet was the best in school history. The Lipscomb men scored 25 points, more than three times the previous best in program history (8 points in 2005). Five men earned All-A-Sun honors: freshman Steven Lindsey (2nd place High Jump), sophomore Michael Knox (2nd place 4x400 Relay), senior Clint Carter (2nd place 4x400 Relay), freshman Andrew Jones (2nd place 4x400 Relay) and senior Chad Roberts (2nd place 4x400 Relay).

Prior to this year there had only been one All-A-Sun athlete in Lipscomb men’s team history (Zac Yanis-Pickle in 2006). Both Lindsey and the men’s 4x400m Relay team qualified for the NCAA Division I Mid-East Regional Championships on May 29-30.

The women’s team equaled previous bests in All-A-Sun honors. Two women earned All-A-Sun status: freshman Catherine Beals (2nd place 3000m Steeplechase) and freshman Kristin Ratzlaff (3rd place javelin).

Two All-A-Sun honors ties a program best set last year (Hannah Joiner and Caitlin Anderson) and in 2006 (Ruth Mick and Elizabeth Schall). In total, six women from Lipscomb had previously earned All-A-Sun honors. Ratzlaff also qualified for the NCAA Division I MidEast Regional Championships.

The Lipscomb women scored 16 points, the second most points in school history (the Lipscomb women scored 21 in 2006), and beat Belmont University, the first time in A-Sun school history that has happened.

“We had a really great meet!” said Taylor. “It’s been a terrific season. So many of our athletes improved dramatically this year, and our team progress has been phenomenal.

“ I’ve told everyone we are going to be a top program, and here is the evidence already. We are moving rapidly in the right direction. We have a lot to accomplish still, but everyone is excited because they can see the vision and the progress.”

Catherine Beals effort in the 3000m Steeplechase was a great example of the type of improvement Taylor is talking about. Ranked sixth coming into the meet, she finished second with a 31 second PR. Beals also came back to run a tough 5000m race in a 6 second PR.

Caitlin Anderson, who earned All-Conference honors in the steeplechase last year, ran a PR in finishing fifth, despite falling hard in the race twice. In all, 14 of 22 Lipscomb athletes set a PR at the Championships.

“Our future is very bright,” said Taylor. “We have done some amazing things in such a short time already. I expect we will take another huge step forward next year. We are a very young team right now and all three individual All-A-Sun athletes are freshmen. They are just going to get better and better.

“We also have a great recruiting class coming in and are still working on recruiting a few more for next year. If you are here you can feel it and it’s really exciting!”

Atlantic Sun Conference Results for Lipscomb:

MEN:

Shot Put – Alex Jerkins 128-2 PR 7th place

Discus – Alex Jerkins 44-3.5 5th place

Javelin – Austin Ray 158-6 PR 4th place

High Jump – Steven Lindsey 6-6.75 2nd place

400m – Michael Knox 50.53 PR 7th place

800m – Andrew Jones 1:55.74 PR 7th place, Clint Carter 1:58.53 8th place, Nathan Brame 1:59.44 PR 10th place, Paul Wright 2:06.77 16th place

1500m – Jeff Hoover 4:04.21 PR 5th place, Tyler Youngs 4:06.36 PR 6th place, Paul Wright 4:13.48 8th place

3000m Steeplechase – Nathan Brame 10:11.50 8th place, Jonathan Williams 10:26.98 9th place

5000m – Chad Martin 15:48.41 PR 12th place, Jared Carlson 15:58.90 PR 14th place, Ryan Chastain 16:02.84 15th place, David Wolfe 16:29.55 19th place

400m Hurdles – Jonathan Williams 59.35 8th place

4x400m Relay – Michael Knox, Clint Carter, Andrew Jones, Chad Roberts 3:19.43 PR 2nd place

WOMEN:

Javelin – Kristin Ratzlaff 110-0 3rd place, Jessi Marshall 79-4 9th place

800m – Valerie Winkler 2:32.93 15th place, Laura Stewart 2:37.57 16th place

1500m – Laura Stewart 5:14.48 10th place

3000m Steeplechase – Catherine Beals 11:43.84 PR 2nd place, Caitlin Anderson 12:01.85 PR 5th place

5000m – Catherine Beals 19:19.63 PR 11th place