LipscombSports.com
Cross country sets school records at South Region Meet
Tim Muller
Tim Muller

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Lipscomb women and men both had record setting days at the NCAA Division I South Region Championships in Hoover, Ala.

Led by freshman Dani Walker, the Lady Bisons broke every Lipscomb school record from NCAA South Regional participation and for the 6000m race distance.

Walker finished 38th, the best ever individual finish for a Lipscomb runner. She led two other LU women, Ashley Lehman 49th and Alex Newby 59th, under the previous Lipscomb best finish of 66th by Ruth Mick in 2004.

Walker also broke the all-time Lipscomb school record for 6000m with a time of 21:14. She led six LU women (Ashley 21:35, Alex 21:49, Louisa Van Batavia 22:06, Tessa Hoefle 22:14, and Cortney Thomas 22:33) under Caitlin Anderson's previous school record of 22:34, set last season. Four of those six women are freshmen,

Lipscomb finished ninth as a team, the best finish in school history by ten places. The previous best was 19th set last year.

"The girls finished the season in style," said head coach Bill Taylor. "We've had a record breaking season from day one and we finished the season with big records.

"We actually had our worst race of the season two weeks ago at Conference. Not a bad race, but just off what we had done all season. Saturday the girls bounced back and really attacked this race. It was fun to watch them really compete hard.”

The Lipscomb women entered the meet ranked 9th in the South Region. The ninth place was the best for Atlantic Sun teams, ahead of North Florida (11th), Belmont (16th) and Mercer (21st).

The Lady Bisons team time of 1:49:00.95 was over 7 minutes faster than the previous best, and the average time was almost a minute and a half better than ever before, both besting marks set in 2009.

Four freshmen competed for the Lady Bisons in the meet, the most freshmen on any team in the top 20. Lipscomb was also the only team in the top 15 led by a freshman.

"We are a young team and the future is so incredibly bright for this program,” Taylor said. “It keeps getting better and will continue as we strive for the ultimate goals we have set.

"Our freshmen are gaining valuable experience, are learning how to compete and are learning to put races in perspective. I saw a lot of maturing just from two weeks ago. There was more focus, more relaxation, more of a look like they know they are supposed to be here and can do anything.”

But Taylor is quick to point out that many of the veteran runners also have distinguished themselves this season.

"Our returners have improved amazingly,” Taylor said. “Ashley ran 23:02 for 6k last year. She ran 21:35 this year...1:27 faster! Louisa ran 23:36 last year and 22:06 today, 1:30 faster! And Priya Pappu ran 23:40 last year and 22:52 today. It's been a big team effort for all our success this season. I'm very proud of all 28 women on the team.

"It's funny too. We just finished our season and these girls have two weeks of rest ahead of them. Yet on the bus ride back everyone was talking about how excited they are for next year and how much better they want to be. We have the right culture and foundation set. Now we just need to build something amazing on that foundation."

The Lipscomb men bounced back from a very disappointing conference finish two weeks ago, to post the best team finish in Lipscomb history. The men finished 13th, besting the previous best ever NCAA South Region finish of 16th, set last year.

"We have some key components for a lot of future success,” Taylor said. “Our top three guys are sophomores. We are too thin though and really need a good recruiting class to take the step to the next level."

The men were led by Tim Muller who finished 52nd in 32:07. His finish was the third highest ever for LU men, behind Ryan Chastain’s finishes of 38th in 2007 and 48th in 2009.

Muller was followed closely by Isaiah Greer and Geoff Musick, in 32:16 and 32:32. Benton Reed, Ashton Fisher and Hunter Hethcoat rounded out Lipscomb's scorers.

"It was nice to see the men rebound from a dreadful conference meet,” Taylor said. “Tim and Isaiah really worked well up in the race too. It was one of Isaiah's best races ever.

“Geoff looked a bit off, but really fought hard and actually smoothed out later in the race. It wasn't his best day, but he made the most of it. I really enjoyed watching them race. They worked hard.”