DES MOINES, Iowa - The track and field season continues for five members of the Lipscomb teams this weekend at the U.S.A. Junior Nationals at Drake University.
Tonight at 7:15 p.m. Jared Wingerter, Daniel Gardner and Grant Stromberg will compete in the 5,000 meters. With three qualifiers Lipscomb leads with the number of entries in the event.
"Having three freshmen qualify for U.S.A. Junior Nationals in the 5000m is a pretty cool accomplishment,” Lipscomb director of track and field and cross country Bill Taylor said. “We have a young and talented men's distance team. They have big expectations for their careers and this meet is an opportunity to continue their development.
“The guys are working off of three weeks of base training after taking a two-week break. Dani Walker did that two years ago and finished 12th in the nation, so they should be ready to have a really good performance, though they will not be at their best physically.”
Taylor was looking ahead to the cross country season in the fall in determining how hard the trio would work.
“We have to make decisions that are best for the team, and their goals for this upcoming cross country season far outweigh anything they want to accomplish here,” Taylor said. “So they will do well, though the experience of a big meet is the bigger win.”
Madi Talbert, also a freshman, will race Friday in the 3000m Steeplechase at 2:40 p.m. Talbert qualified for U.S.A. Junior Nationals in the 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 3000m Steeplechase.
“We were going to enter her in the 5000m, until her breakout performances in the 3000m steeplechase at the end of the season,” Taylor said. “She is ranked second in the field.
“However, we gave Madi a week of rest after the NCAA I National Championships, so she is racing off a week of rest and a week-and-a-half of easy distance running to prepare for cross country.”
Talbert has had a long season, but Taylor wants her to continue to build on her experiences in major meets.
"Madi has pushed our program to a whole new level,” Taylor said. “This is kind of like dessert for her. My expectations are that she competes hard. I really think if she is relaxed and focused. She will do very well.
“Like the others, my first concern is that she gets experience that makes her future success that much bigger. Ultimately, this is about the future and whatever her performance is, we gain from it.”
Tucker Peabody will compete Saturday in the first round of the U.S.A. Senior National Championships in the 200m. He is the first Lipscomb athlete ever to qualify for the U.S.A. Senior Championships and will be racing Olympians. If he qualifies through the first round, he will race on Sunday at 2:05 p.m.
"Tucker should be ready to go in the 200m,” Taylor said. “He has been training hard for this meet.
“He has been here before, qualifying for the U.S.A. Junior National Championships in Eugene after his freshman year. So he understands the atmosphere. This is another opportunity for Tucker to get big race experience, to push himself further, and to continue his development as an elite national sprinter.”
In addition to competing, the Lipscomb runners will also have the opportunity to learn from other outstanding athletes.
"The other thing about this meet for our athletes is that they get to watch some amazing races and learn,” Taylor said. “The top track and field athletes in the nation, the stars, are here competing.
“They get to be in another big meet atmosphere, and learn that it isn't a big deal. The more we qualify for meets like this, the more normal and expected it gets. And these athletes are adding to the Lipscomb name nationally. They are visible and show what is possible for Lipscomb University and Lipscomb cross country and track & field."