Thursday, September 20, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Prior to the start of the season two of the goals expressed by the Lipscomb Lady Bisons cross country team members were repeating as the Atlantic Sun Conference Champion and making a first ever appearance In the NCAA Nationals.
Coach Bill Taylor will have a good idea of what to expect from his team the rest of this season after the Lady Bisons compete Friday night, Sept. 21 in the Toledo Bubble Buster in Ohio. The men’s team is not competing this week. The women’s race will start at 6:10.
Eight of the teams competing are ranked in the top 35 in the country led by Michigan at No. 11 and Toledo at No. 18. Six participated in the NCAA Nationals last year. Fourteen of the 17 teams are ranked in their respective regions, including the Lady Bisons at seventh in the South Region. Seven of the nine regions are represented.
“It is going to be a good test,” Taylor said. “The biggest thing it is going to tell us is are we ready to take that next step.
“We have progressed as a program pretty dramatically. We are really close, but we are not elite yet. There is a swagger and a confidence and the way you race that is different from the teams that are really, really good and the teams that go to nationals. If we are going to go to nationals then this type of competition has to be the norm.”
Taylor admits he doesn’t expect his Lady Bisons to win the meet, but he adds that his Lady Bisons have more to gain than they have to lose.
“We aren’t going to win this so we don’t have any pressure,” Taylor said. “It is just an opportunity to go and compete against amazing teams and show that we are amazing.
“If we finish in the top 10 we will feel good. If we finish in the top eight we will feel great.”
Taylor counts heavily on the trio of captains - junior Dani Walker, junior Tessa Hoefle and sophomore Maggie Lawrence.
“Each one has different traits, but they are all three amazing,” Taylor said. “Dani is the fire on the course. She usually sets the tone in practices and competition with her feet. She has that killer instinct kind of attitude the team needs.
“Maggie really takes care of people. Tessa has traits of both of them. She is more of the vocal person. She reminds people what we are there for. She rallies the team and solidifies them.”
Taylor stresses that reaching the main goals set by the Lady Bisons will be a challenge.
“The South Region is getting stronger every year,” Taylor said. “It has two of the top six teams in the nation in it.
“Our goals are pretty steep. This is the type of meet that can help get us to that level.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.