NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Lipscomb men’s cross country and track and field team signed five men during the early signing period this week.
The signees come from all over the country including California, North Carolina, Ohio, Maryland, and right here in Tennessee.
The five men have all celebrated decorated high schools careers. The coaching staff is adamant they will play a key role in propelling the men’s team to new heights.
Bill Taylor, Director of Cross Country/Track and Field, comments:
“We are really happy with this early signing class. We’ve got an incredible returning group next year, especially our top four guys. This early signing class already makes us significantly better. We’ve got two guys that should immediately impact our team, and we’ve got three guys with great potential that are just like guys we’ve developed to be incredible in the past. It’s a great mix.
“Most of all, these guys are a terrific fit for our culture at Lipscomb. That is what is most important to us.
“The other thing is that this early signing class is a start. We expect to bring in at least five more guys in the April signing period. We have huge goals for this men’s program. The biggest goal is to be a national qualifying team. That is how we are recruiting and what we want our recruits to be after as well.”
Benton Reed, Assistant Cross Country/Track and Field Coach: Men’s Distance, comments:
“This group is going to have a big impact on our program. Each individual we signed will play an important role on the success we have as a team on and off the track. These guys are determined to help us continue to become a better program. This class makes me really excited about our future!”
“They understand our goals for the program and want to be part of a dynamic team. “
Luke Syverson, Assistant Cross Country /Track and Field Coach and Recruiting Coordinator, comments:
“In echoing Coach Taylor’s comments, this is a great start to what we expect to be our best and deepest recruiting class. We weren’t quite sure how the early signing period was going to impact our recruiting but in the end, we stayed true to how we always go about recruiting by developing relationships with the young men we want in our program and at our University.
“We are excited about these five making the commitment early and look forward to them continuing what has already been a very successful high school careers. We hope this sends a message to what will be the rest of this recruiting class how serious we are about continuing the success we’ve had and our desire for a consistent NCAA qualifying team.
“We really wanted Psalm Ocampo and Ryan Speer from the start of the recruiting process. California has been a great resource for us and we are once again excited to add another top California runner to our team. Ryan is just a great all-around fit for us. There is no other way to put it. His faith, academics, and character are what attracted us the most, he also just happens to be one of the top distance runners in the nation for the 2015 class. Both Psalm and Ryan chose Lipscomb over schools like Arizona State, Cal, NC State, UNC, and Virginia Tech. Chase, Brent, and Austin all bring us much needed depth in the middle and will be guys that will develop into quality role players on our team. We are excited to work with all of them.”
Psalm Ocampo - Clovis North High School - Fresno, Calif.
1:55-800m, 4:11-1600m, 9:12-3200, 14:34 3 Mile, 15:20- 5k
Finished 6th place in the California State Meet in the 1600 in 2014
Ranked 31st in the nation for juniors with his 4:11 1600 in 2014
Ranked 66th in the nation for juniors in 9:12 3200 in 2014
Benton Reed on Ocampo: “We are tremendously excited to get Psalm here next year! He is one of the highest recruits we have ever signed. Psalm is an extremely talented runner that also works hard. He will be an incredible runner for us and we know he will continue to develop. He also has great experience as he raced in some premier races against national-level guys. Psalm is an intelligent racer and will have the potential to help us out right away his freshman year.”
Ryan Speer - North Raleigh Christian Academy - Youngsville, N.C.
50.14-400m, 1:52-800m, 4:15-1600, 9:20-3200m, 15:24-5K
Ranked 21st in the nation for juniors with a 1:52 800 in 2014
Won North Carolina State Championship in 800 in 2014
Owns state record in 800
Reed on Speer: “Ryan is a great young man. We wanted Ryan as soon as we talked to him in July. We knew with his character, grades, and faith that he would be a great fit for our program. He has leadership qualities and is certainly a team runner. We are grateful to get Ryan on campus next year. Ryan will have an excellent career with us and we can’t wait to see how he develops the next four years.”
Chase Hampton - Hilliard Darby High School - Columbus, Ohio
1:57-800m, 4:29-1600m, 9:58-3200m, 15:48-5k
Invited to run at Mid-East Cross-Country Championship
Team Captain in 2013 and 2014
Qualified for Ohio’s Regions meet in 800m
Reed on Hampton: “I got to meet Chase when he was a junior. He came on an unofficial visit and really stood out from the rest. He is a very hard worker and will continue to develop as a runner. Chase has strong academics and will fit in great with our team. We are excited to work with Chase and can’t wait to get him to Nashville next year.”
Brent Leber - Middletowne High School - Myersville, Md.
PR’s 4:36-1600m, 9:52-3200, 15:20-3 Mile, 16:09- 5k
Finished 7th at Maryland State Meet in 3200m
Reed on Leber: "Brent is another guy we are excited to join our team. He has so much potential and will be a great teammate. He is willing to put in the work it takes to be successful and we are happy to be able to help him improve. He fits the high standards we place on recruits and will have a great experience as part of our team."
Austin Chitwood - Ravenwood High School - Brentwood, Tenn.
1:58-800m, 4:31-1600m, 10:14 3200m, 16:24-5k
Qualified for Tennessee State Cross-Country Meet
Helped team Finish 4th at TSSAA State Cross-Country Meet
Reed on Chitwood: “We are excited to get Austin on the team next year. We have been able to watch him in person, and we know there is great potential. He has done well and has continued to break his personal bests every year. We love that he has strong academics and will add positive aspects to our culture.”