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Lady Bisons must replace several top runners in 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Aug. 28, 2007

The 2007 Lipscomb Lady Bisons Cross Country team heads into the season without many of the top runners from last season.

The top three runners, and five of the top eight from the 2006 team that placed 6th in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships, are no longer with the team. Although those losses would be devastating to most programs, head coach Bill Taylor, who was hired one week before the season started, is very optimistic.

"The women's team has a ton of talent...much more than they realize," Taylor said. " It's tough to lose your top three runners and expect to get better, but that is what we plan to do this year.

" We are actually down to two of our top eight for at least the first half of this season, as Paige Griffin is sidelined, but the attitude, effort and development I've already seen has been very impressive. There is a desire in this young team to take the next step forward and I see great things in our future...our immediate future. It's an absolutely terrific group of women in every way and we are going to have a lot of fun this year."

Returners for the Bison women's team include Julie Alley (SO-Scottsboro, Aal.), Anna Day (SO-Orlando, Fla.), Paloma Floden (SO-Chattanooga, Tenn.), Paige Griffin (JR-Franklin, Tenn.), Carolyn Latham (SO-San Rafael, Calif.), Erin Pyles (JR-Point Pleasant, W.V.) and Shannon Shoemake (SO-Nashville, Tenn.).

"Carolyn and Erin have been impressive in practices so far and are ready to move way up, but the rest of the team is right there too," Taylor said. "Shannon has been outstanding and improving more each day, Paloma has been up in the group and Anna has the talent to impact our top group in a big way. Julie is a little behind from her summer training, but I believe she will be there by the end of the season. And we are really looking forward to getting Paige out there and in the team mix."

Newcomers include freshmen Caitlin Anderson (Franklin, Tenn.), Jenny Randolph (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Valerie Winkler (Wheeling, Ill.).

"I am very excited about what I've seen from our freshmen," Taylor said. "Valerie, Jenny and Caitlin will make an immediate impact on our top group this year. They are very talented and have fit perfectly with every aspect of this program. I'm impressed with the quick transition they are making to collegiate running.

"I really couldn't be happier with the group that Karen (former coach Karen Robichaud) brought in. It is a great foundation for both immediate and long term success here."

Lipscomb begins the season ranked 6th in the conference. They will compete in five regular season meets before hosting the A-Sun Conference Championships at Vaughn's Gap (Percy-Warner Park) on October 27. The season opens at the Vaughn's Gap course for the Belmont Opener on August 31, followed by the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic, also at Vaughn's Gap on September 15.. Then the Bison hit the road for meets at Auburn University, Memphis and Evansville.

The A-Sun Championship meet will be the first time Lipscomb has played host in Cross Country.