NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Three Lipscomb track and field athletes will be competing in the NCAA National Championships Preliminary Round. Junior Tucker Peabody and freshmen Gemikal Prude and Madi Talbert will be competing in the event in Greensboro, N.C., beginning Thursday, May 23.
“It is a progression for our program,” Bill Taylor, director of cross country and track and field, said. “We are moving forward and although we have the same number of participants as last year, they are all far higher ranked. We have made progress that way. We had a lot more people that were close to getting in.”
The top 12 finishers in each event will qualify for the finals which takes place June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.
Peabody will be making his second consecutive trip to the preliminary round. For the first time ever for a Lipscomb athlete, he will be competing in two events at the meet after qualifying in the 100 and 200 meter dashes.
“Obviously he has been dropping his time significantly,” Taylor said. “He had a big time PR in the 100 at the conference meet, which really put him in good position for the preliminary round. We are looking at the 100 as one last chance to run a fast time and get warmed up for the 200. The 200 is what he is really focused on.”
Peabody defended his 200-meter dash conference championship this past weekend, finishing in an A-Sun record 20.68 seconds. He also claimed the silver medal in the 100-meter dash in 10.36 seconds. He enters the meet ranked 11th in the 200 and 21st in the 100.
Prude will be making his first appearance on the national stage after having a leap of 2.15 meters in the high jump at the Sun Angel Classic in early April.
“Gemikal has a chance to make it through,” Taylor said. “He is ranked 20th right now, so he needs to get by eight people. He has room to go high and we have seen him jump higher. At the same time, everyone in front of him won’t jump that high.
Prude won the A-Sun Championship in the event with a top leap of 2.11 meters.
“Is he expected to advance?” Taylor asked. No. But he has a legit chance if he stays relaxed and goes and jumps his best. Our first goal is for him to get a PR. Then the rest takes care of itself.”
Talbert will also be making her first run through the preliminary rounds having qualified in the 3000-meter steeplechase. She ran her top time at the A-Sun Championships winning the event in 10:31.12.
“She is going in and shouldn’t have any pressure at all,” Taylor said. “This is an experience moment for her. She is there to get more experience in the steeple and get a PR. She is there to learn what a preliminary round competition is like.
“Getting there as a freshman is really big for her development. It is an opportunity to start thinking that big meets aren’t a big thing.”
Even though she is there to get experience, Taylor wants her to do her best and hopefully move on.
“She really isn’t that far from the top six,” Taylor said. “She is going there without any expectation but with an opportunity to throw it out there and see what happens. It is pretty cool.”