ATLANTA, Ga. - Despite taxing conditions that could have doomed the weekend, the Lipscomb track and field squad broke two school records and grabbed several first place finishes at the Emory Crossplex Invitational.
The team finished first overall in both the women’s and men’s team competition for the meet.
"We really challenged the team with the circumstances of this meet,” Lipscomb head coach Bill Taylor said. “It was the second meet of the season, so it is easy to let up. It was a rare Sunday meet, which isn't too common. We decided to travel to Birmingham and back on Sunday when we normally stay the night, which meant an early morning departure and all day at the facility. That's tough. For the distance runners in particular, we had our first week of quality training last week, which physiologically speaking provides no training benefit and actually would, if anything, make us slower and sorer.
"So circumstances and logistics really set up for this to be our worst meet of the year. It was certainly the most challenging in terms of prep and physical/psychological challenge.
"Our team met every challenge and put together an incredible meet. I think we had seven different event wins. Two school records and many personal bests were set. The team met a tough situation and excelled. It's a testament to our character and a confidence and trust builder.”
The women’s distance events were a big success for the Bisons. The mile run, 3000m run and 5000m run were peppered with Lipscomb names in the top spots.
"I was very happy with women's distance,” Taylor said. “In the women's mile, freshmen Paige Stoner and Kacey Kemper finished second and third with times of 5:02.48 and 5:05.49. Stoner's time was faster than the previous meet record.
"Madi Talbert, Sally Larson and Minna Fields went 1-2-3 in the women's 3000m in times of 9:57.33, 10:00.78 and 10:09.65. It was a very strong performances by all three, especially without much competition up front. Kayla Montgomery ran 10:34.54 for seventh, despite falling down half way through the race. She was up with our leaders until the fall.
"The highlight distance race for the women though was Barbara Lee Ball in the 5000m. Ball and Kendra Lobley finished 1-2, with Ball’s time at 17:04.00 and Lobley at 18:07.83. Ball lapped the entire field once, and she lapped everyone other than Lobley at least twice. She was an example of toughness, competitive character and determination as she knocked off laps and energized a crowd. It was fun watching her, and really fun hearing the Crossplex crowd enjoy her performance and cheer her on.”
April Terry took home two first places of her own in the women’s weight throw and the women’s shot put.
“April Terry got things going in a big way, winning the weight throw in a meet and school record, then coming back to lead a 1-2 finish for Lipscomb (with Karly Hibbard) in the shot put.” Taylor said.
Wayne Newman took home the top prize in the 60m hurdle after finishing second at the Vanderbilt Invitational.
"In other events, we had a ton of success as well,” Taylor said. “t was fun watching Wayne put up the fastest 60m Hurdle time in the prelims, then come back and win the finals.”
“This week our meet was another step toward big marks down the line for our sprinters and hurdlers,” sprints and hurdles assistant coach Marcus Evans said. “After a big first week opener at Vanderbilt our athletes came back with determination to get better Monday. We are seeing small improvements despite our most taxing and heavy training block. Once we enter the next phase of training our sprinters will be seeing times improve and feeling fresher moving into our later meets.
“We had great performances from Newman who won the 60m hurdles. Abbey McMurray also ran well tying her personal and school record in the second meet of the season. I am excited to see our team move along and continue to improve.”
The men’s distance events were not quite as dominated by Bisons as the women’s were, but records were still broken.
"I like what we are seeing with men's distance too,’ Taylor said. “Juan Gonzalez set the meet record in the mile and is ready to do big things. Christian Freeman and Jared Wingerter opened the season by finishing 1-2 in the men's 3000m.”
"Gonzalez had another solid performance,” men’s distance assistant coach Benton Reed said. “He led the mile from the start, which can be difficult. But, that’s him; he is tough and has a drive to have a great run every time he comes to the line.
"Freeman and Wingerter finished one, two in the 3k in their season debut. They worked together well throughout the race and finished strong. Fidel Leon also ran smart race by moving up when he needed to and responding to the competition. They are going to have an exciting season.
"Other distance guys competed hard in relays and other events. Although the time may not be there yet, they are training hard and will continue to develop."
"This meet was a very nice step in the right direction. We have things to improve for sure, however we are setting the bar higher than ever. Mostly, I am pleased with the attitude and effort. Those are key to all future success. Things look good."
Although there were a few missteps early on, the field events were another area of success for Lipscomb.
"Overall I'm really pleased with the 'take-aways' we earned in the field events at this meet,” jumps and throws assistant coach Luke Syverson said. “We had a few misssteps in the vertical jumps that we have to learn from but I expect that early in the season.
“April Terry competed well winning both the weight throw and the shot put. She was finally able to do a couple of things in her weight throw that we have been working on which led to her breaking her school record. Freshman Karly Hibbard, who is coming off a pre-season knee surgery, took second in the shot put with a new personal record. She also ended up breaking Terry's freshman indoor record by almost three feet, so that was good being able to do that in her first collegiate meet.”
A week after taking first overall in the high jump at the Vanderbilt Invitational, Gemikal Prude took second at the Emory Invitational.
“Prude had an off day in the high jump, but at this point, the goal is going after a height that will qualify him for NCAA Indoors like last year,” Syverson said. “This meet had a two hour time difference between the start of the event and when the bar was high enough for Prude to come in. By that time, there was only one other jumper in the competition. We took a few too many attempts to clear lower bars which didn't leave us a whole lot of energy or room later on when the bar went up.”
Several Bisons set personal records on the day, including Abby Newby in the 800m.
“I was as proud of Abby Newby's effort in the 800m and her coming back to clear several bars in the high jump,” Syverson said. “We had several others improve persona records and post marks in their events and I expect to see that trend continue."