NASHVILLE – Barbara Lee Ball helped put an exclamation mark on the Lipscomb track and field squad’s first meet of 2016 thanks to a top-notch performance in the women’s 3000m. The junior won the event by seven seconds with a career-best time of 9:46.13.
Ball beat out competition from Alabama, Tennessee, and MTSU among a field of 31 racers to finish first in her first event of the year and only race of the weekend.
In the same race, freshman Brooke Kingma took sixth place with a 9:56.09 mark. The two have now taken over fourth and fifth place in the Lipscomb record books for the event.
"We had a terrific spring opener to the indoor track season,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “We have had a lot of great performances already. Wayne always competes with all he has. Juan broke Ryan Chastain's indoor mile school record from 2010, which was a great accomplishment.
“Barbara Lee and Brooke ran excellent in the 3000m. Our distance runners are still doing base mileage. We aren't in the quality workout phases yet, so the great performances are really a nice indication of how strong they are, how hard they compete and the possibilities later this season."
Junior Wayne Newman also had a big weekend, racing in three events and placing in the top 20 in each one.
Newman won his preliminary heat in the 60m hurdles to advance to the final field of eight where he placed fifth with a time of 8.05 seconds. He also won his heat in the 200m, placing him 20th overall with a time of 20.66. In the 400m, Newman placed 10th with a time of 49.41.
“Wayne is competing at a high level right now,” Assistant coach Marcus Evans said. “Whatever we ask him to do he shows up and is all in. Wayne set a personal record in the 400m by two-tenths of a second and is already knocking on the door to breaking eight seconds in the 60m hurdles, a mark he did not hit until our final indoor meet last year.”
In the mile run, junior Juan Gonzalez’s time of 4:11.04 broke the school indoor record and was good enough for ninth place in the event.
"The Commodore Invitational was a great meet to get back into the season,” assistant coach Benton Reed said. “We had a lot of highlights across the distance squads. Juan Gonzalez broke the school record in the mile with great effort. He stepped up and raced tough. I'm really excited to see how he continues to develop over the season. Barbara Lee also had an excellent personal record performance by winning the 3k.
On Friday, Avery Franklin ran a big personal record in the 5k and Ryan Speer ran well in the 4x800m. On Saturday, other highlights came from Sam Woodford and Daniel Lenart in the 800, Brooke Kingma in the 3k, and Psalm Ocampo in the Mile.”
Junior Daniel Lenart finished eighth in the 800m thanks to a time of 1:55.26. Senior Andrew Bosket also placed in the top 10 (1:56.96). The two raced in the same heat, finishing second and fourth, respectively.
In the 5000m, sophomore Avery Franklin placed eighth with a personal-best mark of 18:08.49.
Freshman Sam Woodford finished 10th out of 36 runners in the 800m with a time of 2:15.67.
Evans and Reed both saw not several successful performances in the Purple and Gold’s opening week, but some great improvements as well.
"The first meet with our full team was a success,” Evans said. “We are just getting back into training and are really excited about where this season can go. We had multiple personal records and are really excited about our next meet at Emory.
“Devon Wade is working toward improving in the multi’s. We were very happy with his progression in the events especially the 60m and 60m hurdles. We also saw great improvement from Sydney Sloan, Abbey McMurray, and Bridget Perine.
“Sydney made great attempts at opening height in pole vault, which would have been a personal best. Abbey is coming off sickness during the holiday break and has been working really hard and really worked on the right angles in the 60m. Bridget ran personal record in the 200m, and is looking strong right now. We are excited to see her get after it in the 400m next week."
“We had several personal records from many athletes from the 800m to the 5k for the men and women,” Reed said. “Some athletes beat their best times that were from over a year ago. It's exciting when our athletes succeed so early, as it sets the expectations high for the remainder of the season. It also shows that they have trained well over the break and are ready to challenge themselves at a higher level."
Photo credit to Mike Strasinger