EUGENE, Ore. – For the third time in their prolific careers, Gemikal Prude and Madi Talbert will be competing for a National Championship this week in Eugene, Oregon.
The NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships take place from June 10-13 at the historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon’s campus.
"We are really excited to be here at Nationals again,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “It's comfortable. It's where we are supposed to be, and where more of our team should be in the near future.”
The Bisons begin action on Thursday when Talbert hits the track for the semi-finals of the 3000m Steeplechase at 6:38 p.m. The top five finishers in each heat and the next two fastest times will qualify for the final on Saturday at 2:27 p.m. Prude will compete in the high jump finals on Friday at 4:00 p.m.
"Both Madi and Gemikal have had incredible practices,” Taylor said. “They are definitely physically ready. It's been exciting to see their focus, physical skill and the ease in which they are doing things.”
This is Talbert’s third consecutive year competing in the 3000m steeplechase at the National Championships. As a freshman in 2013, she took home honorable mention All-American honors. Last year she earned a Second Team All-American spot. An air of familiarity will be there for the junior.
"This is Madi's third straight National Championship finals,” Taylor said. “We have routines now. She has grown a ton and is ready to take herself to the next level.”
With two previous National Championship performances and three consecutive Atlantic Sun titles under her belt, Talbert will come into the meet as one of the most accomplished performers in her field.
“Her mindset has been different each year,” Taylor said. “I have really enjoyed seeing her progression of expectation and mindset grow over the years. It will be fun to watch her compete Thursday evening and hopefully again on Saturday.”
Prude will also be taking part in his third National Championship this week, albeit his appearances came in a slightly different manner.
The redshirt-junior landed a spot in both the indoor and outdoor National Championships last season. He earned a Second Team All-American spot during the indoor finals, and was an honorable mention All-American for outdoor.
"Gemikal is also experienced,” Taylor said. “This is his second Outdoor National Championships, and he has experience at the Indoor National Championships. He knows how it works and what it feels like. He is ready to go.”
Taylor believes that he six combined National Finals appearances will help keep both athletes from succumbing to the magnitude of the moment. For these two Bisons, it’s almost become routine to make it this far.
"I think that is the big thing for both Madi and Gemikal,” Taylor said. “Making it to the National Championship finals is a terrific accomplishment, of course. The first time they each qualified was a victory in itself. But now, it's business as usual for these two.
“They've been here. They know it's not that big. They have consistently competed against the best in the nation and know that is what they are too. Both have plans and know what they need to do. It's just a matter of relaxing and executing what they already know they can do. It's simple, and it's fun.”