NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The change of seasons transitions the Lipscomb track and field squad indoors, serving as a prelude to the outdoor season.
“Indoor season is getting things going and seeing where we are at,” Lipscomb head coach Bill Taylor said. “Coming off the Christmas break and having a meet on Jan. 5 is a good motivator to see where everyone is at.”
With a young squad, including 17 freshmen, the Bisons will lean on leadership from some top performers from a year ago.
The Bisons welcome back all-conference performer and defending 200-meter dash champion Tucker Peabody. The junior picked up the 200-meter dash victory in 21.30. The time was nearly sixth-tenths of a second faster than second place.
“Tucker has been working with the mental side of running,” said sprints coach Marcus Evans. “Mentally, with an athlete, is where a lot of improvement can come and to become an elite runner you need to have the mentality.”
Peabody fell just shy of qualifying for the national meet and looks to make the next step this year. His school-record of 21.28 set at the Niswonger Foundation Invitational left him two-hundredths of a second out of the national meet.
The 4X400 meter relay squad finished second in the Atlantic Sun Indoor Championships last season and pulled through for the gold medal in the outdoor leg of the season. They will look to carry the momentum back indoors returning three of the four runners. Peabody, junior Kenny Smith and sophomore Colin Dempster along with Bobby Bassett timed in at 3:19.28, a school-record, for the second place finish.
“The 4X4 got a taste of what it is like to be the best relay team in the conference in the outdoor season and they don’t want to lose it,” Evans said.
“We have created a culture where people want to be on the 4X4 as it is one of the most exciting events on the track featuring some of the best athletes,” said Head Coach Bill Taylor.
As a freshman last season, Dempster was the top-newcomer in the 400 meter run, earning all-conference with a time of 49.04.
Senior distance runners Geoff Musick and Isaiah Greer are anxious to get back into the competitive mode as they redshirted during the cross country season. Greer has previously earned all-conference honors in the 5000m.
“We have several freshmen coming off their first cross country season,” Taylor said. “We will continue to look for improvement from them throughout the indoor season.”
The throwers return sophomore Houston Ward, the top freshman thrower in the conference last season, after earning all-conference in the shot put. His throw of 15.26m (50’ 0.75”) was good for the bronze medal. He is first Lipscomb thrower to earn a medal at the indoor championships.
Logan Ray got off to a great start last season before an injury derailed the year for him. The junior had the third-best triple jump of the year at 14.63m (48’ 0”), which he achieved at the Ed Temple Classic.
“We look for Adam Austin to continue his improvement from the outdoor season,” jumps coach Luke Syverson said. “He will look to carry that momentum into the indoor season as he was also all-conference during the 2010 season.
“We also add Gemikal Prude who jumped 6’ 10” unattached in an outdoor meet last season. We look forward to having him join the squad this year.”
The Bisons first meet will be at the Ed Temple Classic, hosted by Tennessee State University on Jan. 5. They travel to the Blazer Invite in Birmingham, Ala., on Jan. 11. Partial squads will compete in those two meets before ramping up the entire team for the Niswonger Invite in Johnson City, Tenn., on Jan. 18 and 19.
Heading back to Tennessee State, Lipscomb will compete in the TSU Invite on Feb. 2. A pair of meets on Feb. 8 and 9 will have the Bisons at the Samford Invite in Birmingham and at the Indiana Hoosiers Hills Invite in Bloomington, Ind.
The A-Sun Indoor Track and Field Championships takes place on the campus of ETSU on Feb. 22 and 23 in Johnson City.