NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After a successful indoor season the Lipscomb track and field squad is kicking off their outdoor season with the Lipscomb-Belmont Dual, track and field’s version of the “Battle of the Boulevard.”
"The Lipscomb-Belmont dual meet will be a terrific opportunity to start the season in a low-key fun way,” Lipscomb track and field head coach Bill Taylor said, “We've been talking with Belmont for about three years now about doing a dual meet. Prior to this year it just didn't work out with our scheduled. It's great that we were able to make it work this year.”
It is rare for a track meet to only involve two schools, but the Dual is a good way to begin the season in a low-pressure atmosphere while also being able to compete with Lipscomb’s biggest rival.
"Lipscomb and Belmont have a natural rivalry of course,” Taylor said. “It just makes sense for us to compete. It's also fun to have a three hour, two-team meet. College meets are almost always one to three full days. The days of the dual meet have pretty much disappeared. We love the idea of just having three hours, where every event has a Belmont and Lipscomb athlete, and the meet is done in such a short time.”
The meet also carries some historical significance. It is the first home meet that Lipscomb has hosted since moving to NCAA Division I athletics.
"In a way, hosting this meet is a throwback to the Lipscomb past, and while I can't verify that Lipscomb hosted a Lipscomb-Belmont dual in the 60's, 70's or 80's, I would be surprised if we hadn't,” Taylor said.
With the meet being at home, Taylor and the athletes are hoping a Lipscomb-heavy crowd will be in attendance.
"We are hoping that we get some fans out to support the team as well,” Taylor said. “While we compete at other Nashville meets each year, this one is on our home track and compact. So it is a great opportunity for Lipscomb students and supporters to easily see us in action.”
The Dual will provide the Bisons with a transition to outdoor season after spending the last few months competing indoors. The focus of the meet will be on preparing for the season, with the actual results taking a back seat.
"Although the meet will be scored, that is really a foot note,” Taylor said. “We expect the kids that compete to fight for points and have fun with that, but we aren't using our top distance runners, and we are missing or sitting some other runners. I believe Belmont is sitting some and moving some of their kids around to other events as well. You always like to win a meet, but the bigger purpose of this is to get the season started in a low-key, local and fun way.”
After the dual with Belmont, Lipscomb will dive headfirst into a daunting schedule.
"Our top distance runners have some very big competitions ahead of them,” Taylor said. “Alabama Relays, Raleigh Relays and Stanford are the next three meets for us. Those are big opportunities, especially in the 5k, 10k and steeplechase. So it didn't make sense to race them this weekend.
"After those three big meets, we will have meets at Tennessee, Princeton, Stanford and Georgia later in the season, with the big goal being to get our athletes qualified for the NCAA Division I National Championship Preliminaries and Finals. We have to be smart about how, when and where we race our top distance kids.”
Despite the top distance runners not participating in the Dual, several of the team’s best track performers will be ready to go Friday.
"At the same time, some of our track standouts, such as Gemikal Prude and Wayne Newman, will be competing in this meet. For Wayne, it will be his first collegiate outdoor season after missing all of last season with an injury. I know he is excited for the longer hurdle races."
The Lipscomb-Belmont Dual will begin at 2 Friday afternoon.