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More school records fall at Birmingham-Southern meet
Dani Walker
Dani Walker

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Six more Lipscomb school records were set in the second outdoor meet of the 2011 season this weekend at the Birmingham-Southern Invite.

The women’s 5000 meters led off the meet with stellar results. Lipscomb put seven women in the top 10 (out of 47 competitors), three under 18 minutes and eight under 19 minutes. Six of Lipscomb’s top seven women ran their all-time personal records in the meet.

Dani Walker led the way, finishing first overall out of 47 competitors in a new school record of 17:47.98, barely edging teammate Tessa Hoefle who finished second in 17:48.18. Both women ran their all-time personal best times, and eclipsed the previous school record of Susan Worden (17:53.46) set in 2006.

Close behind Walker and Hoefle, Catherine Beals broke 18 minutes for the first time in her career, finishing fourth in 17:56.92. Ashley Lehman ran 18:01.66 for fifth place overall. Shelby Marvel ran a career best 18:07.10 for seventh. Rounding out the top 10 in the race, Emily Longden ran a PR of 18:27.95 for ninth place and Missy Dowd dropped about 50 seconds off her all time PR, running 18:33.99 for tenth.

“The weather was great for the women’s 5000m,” said head coach Bill Taylor. “However, the race didn’t go the way we had hoped. No other runners would take the lead or push the pace, so our girls did most of the work. We would have liked it to be a more competitive race.

“That being said, with just 600 meters to go our top girls were on pace to run around 18:08. So they dropped the hammer for that last lap and a half and showed some serious power at the end of the race. It was pretty impressive.”

Taylor had been waiting for the 5-K record to fall since he started coaching at Lipscomb.

“It took a bit longer than I would have liked to get it, but now that it has, I expect it will continue to get broken for many years,” Taylor said. “I expect it to be in the 16s soon.

“The best thing about this race though was the number of PRs posted. This was also either the first or just the second 5000m of the year for all of these women. I saw some great things from this group today.”

Taylor singled out Missy Dowd for her efforts.

“Missy ran so tough and has improved so much in a very short amount of time,” Taylor said. “You can’t understate how incredible a 50-plus second PR is in one race.”

Four other women’s school records were set on the day.

Sara Stephens broke her own 400 meters school record from last year. Her time of 56.97 was good enough for second place overall, and was under the previous meet record.

O’Neisha Smith made her collegiate track debut in style, setting a school record in the high jump, with a terrific leap of 5-6. The former Georgia state high school high jump champion has only been training for a week, joining the track team after competing for the Lady Bisons basketball team. Her leap earned her a second place finish out of 22 competitors and she surpassed the previous meet record.

“Sara ran an incredible 400 meters,” Taylor said. “It was a complete race.

“O’Neisha did a terrific job in the high jump. She handled the transition so well, and created some more excitement for our team.”

In the pole vault, Taylor Mason and Anna Belner became the first Lipscomb women ever to clear a height, both hitting a mark of 2.45m. Taylor and Anna just started learning to vault this year.

The 4x400m relay set the final school record on the day for the women. Katie Bunker, Amanda Twigg, Dani Walker and Sara Stephens broke their own school record of 3:56.83, set last week, with a time of 3:56.19 for third place overall, also under the previous meet record.

One men’s record was set on the day; Dillon Seigenthaller in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 16.37. No previous mark was on record.

Tucker Peabody again led the other top finishes for the men, posting a victory in the men’s 100m and a second place finish in the men’s 200m. His 100m time of 11.08 was into a headwind. His second place time of 21.82 was his all-time PR and was under the previous meet record.

In the men’s 5000m, Isaiah Greer, Tim Muller and Geoff Musick finished fifth, sixth and seventh out of 45 competitors. Isaiah and Tim posted identical times of 15:31.01, while Geoff was just behind in 15:35.81.

Alex Jerkins led the way in the throws with a fifth place shot put finish and an eighth place in the discus.

Jonathan Williams was the top middle distance finisher for the Bisons, finishing fourth in the 800m with a new PR of 1:57.73.

Lipscomb earned a pair of seventh place finishes in the men’s jumps, with Adam Austin in the high jump, and Ryan Powell in the long jump.

Bobby Bassett led the team in the men’s 400m, posting a sixth place finish in 50.33.

In the women’s javelin, Taylor Mason finished fourth of 26 competitors with a toss of 36.96m.

Katie Bunker led the women in the 800 meters, finishing third out of 46 competitors in a time of 2:18.40. Amanda Twigg, Priya Pappu and Alyssa Miller finished fifth through seventh for the Lady Bisons. Amanda and Priya finished fifth and sixth overall out of 48 competitors in the women’s 1500 meters earlier.

“We actually struggled a bit in the middle distances,” Taylor said. “Maybe my expectations are a bit unrealistic though. We’ve had so many great marks and performances this indoor and outdoor season, that we start to expect every meet to be incredible."

Taylor stressed that the weather was major factor to overcome.

“It was a tough day too. In the women’s 800 meters nobody would push the pace so all our women had to have big negative splits just to get the times they got. Katie, for example, ran a 71 first lap, so she had to go 67 on her second. That’s tough to do, especially on a windy and very hot day.”

“The wind was significant and the heat waseven more impacting,” Taylor said. ”You could tell it was taking more and more out of us as the day went on. Unfortunately most of the team has sunburns, so we have to do a better job of coping with the conditions.

“I thought we competed very well, even when the conditions were tough. It’s another step in the right direction.”

The Bisons and Lady Bisons will compete in the Shamrock Invitational March 17-19 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.