NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Bison herd will be heading in two different directions this weekend as Lipscomb track and field sends its student-athletes to two separate meets: the Raleigh Relays and the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invite.
Several of the distance runners will be headed to Raleigh, while the sprinters and field athletes will stay in Nashville.
"This weekend provides great opportunities for all of our athletes to continue their progress,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “We are taking eight of our distance runners to the Raleigh Relays. It's a very good distance meet.”
Madi Talbert will follow up her Atlantic Sun Track Athlete of the Week performance in the steeplechase with an attempt at the 5000m. She will be joined by Kayla Montgomery and Kelsey Ibarra in that race, both of whom will get to race close to their respective homes. Ibarra will also be tackling the 10,000m.
"The 5000m races will be interesting,” Taylor said. “We are there to run fast. I hope the early pace is strong enough. I think it will, since that is the purpose of this meet for everyone.”
On the men’s side, Jared Daedler and Juan Gonzalez will also be taking on the 5000m.
"The 5000m is a big event at Raleigh,” Taylor said. “We are hoping to get to that next level with Juan. Madi would like to go into the low 16:20s now. We'll see how their races unfold. They are ready to do it.”
Both Paige Stoner and Christian Freeman will be running in the steeplechase for the first time.
"It will be fun to watch Stoner and Freeman competing in their first full 3000m Steeplechase,” Taylor said. “We ran Paige about a mile of the steeple last week, just to get her some familiarity. She has the opportunity to be really good.
“We feel this could be a great event for Christian as well. We've had a lot of success in steeplechase, and want to have even more.”
The Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invite provides the Bisons with a chance to perform close to home.
"Vanderbilt is a nice 'home' meet for us,” Taylor said. “We do well there. Some of the events are highly competitive, some are not as competitive. So we need to adjust to each event and make the most of it.”
Although several of the distance runners will be at the Raleigh Relays, some are staying back to compete at Vanderbilt.
“Sally Larson and Barbara Lee Ball will be competing in the 5000m Friday night.” Taylor said, “Both are very fit for where we are in the season.”
Distance standout Daniel Gardner will make his season debut in the 3000m this weekend.
“He had a non-running related injury that cost him the indoor season,” Taylor said. “He is still working his way back, so this race will give us a benchmark on him.”
Wayne Newman, back-to-back A-Sun Track Athlete of the Week, will be running in multiple events at Vanderbilt.
"Wayne will have a bigger challenge this week,” Taylor said. “He's got the fastest time in the 110 hurdles, so he has to be ready to push himself without anyone to chase. The 400m hurdles will be a little stronger competition.”
In the field events Gemikal Prude is hoping to match his indoor prowess, while Karly Hibbard hopes to build on her recent A-Sun Field Athlete of the Week form.
"Gemikal looks to break out in the high jump,” Taylor said. “He's been a little off early in the outdoor season, but it's really early and he always performs as the season builds.
"Karly will look to build on her great performance at Alabama. We've done well in the past in the javelin at Vandy.”
As the team starts to get into a groove in the outdoor season, Taylor feels this weekend may provide some fireworks.
"I think we are starting to get to that part of the season where you want to see who will surprise us with a big break out performance,” Taylor said. “It's fun to see our athletes take advantage of the opportunities they have. I have a feeling something big will happen this weekend."