Track & Field picks up two wins on first day of A-Sun
Saturday, May 16, 2015
By Logan Butts
Track & Field picks up two wins on first day of A-Sun

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Day one of the Atlantic Sun Outdoor Championships was a successful one for the Lipscomb track and field squad.

The Bisons ended the first day of competition with two wins, six All-Conference honors, two school records and one A-Sun record.

"Across the board we were happy with the effort and results today,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “The teams really competed hard and put it out there.”

The highlight of the day was the 3000m steeplechase in which the Bisons earned both of their victories.

Madi Talbert led the way in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, taking home the win for the third consecutive year. Her blazing time of 10:00.01 broke both the A-Sun and Lipscomb records. She is now ranked fifth in the East Region and ninth in the nation in the event.

"I think it was a consensus that the women's 3000m steeplechase was a major highlight,” Taylor said. “Madi really went after it hard and soloed her way to a very fast time.” 

The Bisons dominated the event, taking four of the top five spots. Freshman Paige Stoner finished second, earning an All-Conference spot, with a time of 10:20.12. Like Talbert, she also finished under the previous A-Sun record time. 

Minna Fields and Kaitlyn Llewellyn took fourth and fifth with times of 10:59.19 and 11:11.63 respectively. Fields broke the 11-minute barrier for the first time in her career, while Llewellyn her fastest race of the season. Kelsey Ibarra came in ninth with a mark of 11:53.27.

“Paige improved by more than 20 seconds to get a National Prelim qualifying time,” Taylor said. “That was awesome. 

“This was Minna's first steeplechase in three years. We just decided last weekend to put her in it, so she only got a week of practice. Her water jumps were horrible, but she looked terrific in the rest of the race and was very aggressive. She ran amazing, especially considering the late decision and lack of practice in a very technique important event.”

Lipscomb has historically had success in the women’s 3000m steeplechase. Talbert is a two-time All-American in the event, and now Stoner joins her as the second Bison to qualify for the National Prelims for the race.

Lipscomb has had at least one All-Conference performer in the event during all eight years of Taylor’s tenure at Lipscomb, and three different Bisons have won the A-Sun title in the steeplechase in the past five seasons.

In the men’s 3000m steeplechase, Christian Freeman took home the Purple and Gold’s second victory of the day with a time of 9:13.56.

"Christian Freeman left the pack early and ran away with the men's 3000m steeplechase,” Taylor said. “It was fun to get the win in both steeple races. Christian looked strong. Unfortunately he wasn't able to get a National Prelim qualifying time, but he has learned a ton and will be there in this event next year.”

Annika Backlund finished in second place in the pole vault with a leap of 3.81m.

The mark not only earned her a second team All-Conference spot, but it broke the school record in the event as well.

"Annika had a terrific day, breaking the school record twice,” Taylor said. “It was exciting to watch her compete, and to see the back and forth with the North Florida girls. It was a great performance for her.”

The women’s 10,000m was another source of highlights from the women’s distance runners. Sally Larson and Barbara Lee Ball both earned All-Conference spots in the event, finishing second and third respectively with times of 35:23.14 and 35:28.60.

Kayla Montgomery (37:53.20) and Hannah Munyan (38:05.48) finished sixth and seventh, while Avery Franklin (38:39.63) finished ninth.

With another day of events still left to complete, Devon Wade is currently in fourth place in the decathlon.

"Devon Wade is sitting in fourth in the men's decathlon,” Taylor said. “He fought really hard today, and hopes to move up a spot in the final day of decathlon events tomorrow.”

With a day of success in the rearview mirror, the Bisons are looking forward to another victory-filled performance tomorrow.

"After a strong first day, we are looking forward to an equally strong day two," Taylor said.

Day two of the Atlantic Sun Outdoor Championships starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday.