NASHVILLE – The Lipscomb track and field squad took on the Crimson Tide Invitational over the weekend and left Alabama with successful results as the Bisons grabbed a win and several top five finishes against a strong field of competition.
"We really had a great meet at Alabama this weekend,” Lipscomb Director of Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “The attitude and effort were terrific. It was a breakthrough weekend for many of our athletes.”
Junior Kacey Kemper earned the team’s only win for the weekend as she finished with an ASUN-leading time of 10:23.22 in the 3000m Steeplechase. Sophomore Clare Losito took third in the same event with a 10:43.71 mark.
"Kacey Kemper and Clare Lositio ran terrific,” Taylor said. “Both ran nice PR's. Kacey's time was over a minute faster than her previous personal best. 10:23 has also qualified for every NCAA Division I National Championship Preliminary round, so we believe her time will stand, and she will be in the National Championship prelims this year. Clare is getting close to a qualifying time as well. Both girls are going to improve a ton still. It's really exciting watching them develop.
"I take an immense amount of pride in developing steeplers. We've had at least one All-ASUN steepler all ten years I've been here. We've had the ASUN Steeplechase champion the past six years. We've had many NCAA Division I National Championship Prelim qualifiers, and Madi Talbert set the standard here with four NCAA DI National Championship finals, three All-American honors and qualifying for the US Olympic Trials.
“At Northwest, I coached the NAIA National Champion and Slovakian National record holder, Kristina Proticova, and a number of other All-Americans. The steeplechase is a really fun event, and I'm really happy we are continuing that tradition of elite development and excellence in this event.”
In the men’s 3000m Steeplechase, freshman Chase Hampton Finished second with a time of 9:28.75.
“Chase Hampton had a really good first ever 3000m Steeplechase,” Taylor said. “He is going to be good at that event.”
Senior Juan Gonzalez placed fourth in the men’s 1500m with a time of 3:49.51. Freshman Jonathan Schwind (3:50.55) came in sixth, while sophomore Ryan Speer (3:52.09) finished ninth.
"In the men's 1500m we had some terrific performances as well,” Taylor said. “Juan Gonzalez ran a great PR. He continues to run confident, smart and strong. We are really looking forward to seeing Juan run his premier event, the 5000m, at Mt. SAC next weekend. It will be his first 5k of the outdoor season.
"Ryan Speer improved by more than 10 seconds off his previous best,” Taylor said. “Andrew Ayers also ran a great PR. Jake Poyner was actually battling for the lead and on pace for a school record, when with just 200m to go he got tripped and didn't finish. He looked incredibly strong and is absolutely ready to do something big in the 1500m and every other event he goes after.”
Freshman Kyle Johnson took fourth place in the men’s 5000m with a time of 14:50.89. Sophomore Brent Leber finished close behind in sixth with a 14:51.32 mark. A trio of freshmen, John Green (14:56.66), Owen Glogovsky (15:00.29), and Kaleb Kunes (15:02.12), finished 11th, 13th, and 14th, respectively.
"The men's 5000m was another big highlight,” Taylor said. “We had five guys under 15:03, with three under 15. Even more exciting, our five were four freshmen and a sophomore. The future is very bright for our men's distance group.
“It is especially exciting as we also look to the next Cross Country season. We have Juan, Jake and Christian back next year for their last seasons. We've been looking for some young guys to develop into that upper tier to put us in position to qualify for nationals. We also want to make sure we keep moving forward after those three graduate. This was a big step forward for the guys that builds confidence and excitement for the present and the future.”
In the women’s 5000m, senior Barbara Lee Ball placed sixth with a time of 17:08.17. Sophomore Bridgette Doucet finished 19th with a time of 17:42.87.
"Barbara Lee Ball ran well in the women's 5000m, and Bridgette Doucet ran just a few seconds off her collegiate best,” Taylor said.
In the men’s 800m, both sophomore Austin Ray (1:54.19) and senior Daniel Lenart (1:54.35) set personal high’s as they finished 11th and 12th, respectively.
Senior Wayne Newman led the way in the sprints, placing second in the 110m hurdles with a time of 13.99 seconds and eighth in the 400m hurdles with a 53.62-second time. He currently leads the ASUN in both events.
"Wayne looked great in the 110m High Hurdles,” Taylor said. “That was another fun race to watch.
“His 400m Hurdles aren't were he wants them yet, but he split 48.5 in the 4x400 last week and he knows he is on the verge of a huge breakthrough there. He is always fun to watch and you always know he is giving his all.”
The track and field squad will be back next weekend as they split up between the Mt. SAC Relays, Bucknell, and Austin Peay.
"I'm very happy with where we are and where we are going,” Taylor said. “As I've said, the attitude and effort are terrific. I knew we were on the verge of a big breakthrough, just based on how hard are athletes have been competing this season.
“This meet qualifies as a breakthrough for many. At the same time, we can tell that there is a lot more to come. There are going to be some more big performances to come.”