Nine of the top women and six of the top men will fly to Burlington, Vt. to race against the University of Vermont and Columbia University on Sunday at the Catamount Family Center in Williston, Vt. The men race 8000 meters at 10 a.m., while the women race 5000 meters at 11 a.m.
Both Columbia (No. 6) and Vermont (No. 15) women’s teams are ranked in the Northeast region. Columbia’s men (No. 4) are ranked in the Northeast region as well.
“This race will be a challenge for both of our teams,” coach Bill Taylor said. “This will be the smallest meet we compete in this year (in terms of numbers of competitors and teams), yet both teams we face are regionally ranked.
The Bisons are only traveling with six men, as one of the varsity men got sick this week and will stay home.
“The challenge is terrific though, and it should be a great experience for us,” Taylor said. “I am most interested in seeing the teams work well together and to continue to develop. Wherever we finish is fine right now, as long as we are growing and getting better at the things that will pay off at the end of the season.
“I know we are all excited to see this part of the country and to represent Lipscomb well in the Northeast.”
The rest of the men’s and women’s teams will compete on Friday at the PowerAde Invitational, hosted by the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. The women will race two miles at 3:45 p.m. The men will race 5000 meters at 5:15 p.m. Fifteen Lipscomb women and eleven Lipscomb men are expected to compete in Chattanooga.
Teams scheduled to compete at the PowerAde Invite include host UT-Chattanooga (No. 11-ranked men , No. 14-ranked women in the South Region), Alabama-Huntsville, Austin Peay, Covenant College, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee State, Alabama, West Georgia, and Atlantic Sun Conference rival Kennesaw State (men ranked No. 1 in A-Sun, No. 8 in South Region, women ranked No. 3 in A-Sun).
“This meet is a perfect second competition for our developing runners,” Taylor said. “The shorter courses will serve us well in working on race tactics and improvement. I am excited to see how our athletes respond, especially our freshmen. Although it appears on paper that our top runners aren’t competing, we have a lot of talent and depth this year, especially on the women’s side, and anyone can be one of our top runners at any time.”
Taylor stresses that varsity spots are available and all athletes competing at this meet have a full chance to make the varsity squad.
“We have strong goals for this meet and I expect great performances from our athletes at both meets,” Taylor said. “The conference championship roster at the end of the season is totally up for grabs. Every time our athletes compete, and wherever they compete, they are building their case to race at conference.
“I have no idea who our top nine men and women will be by the end of the season. I do know that several of our runners in this race will be on our conference championship roster. Practices keep getting better, more of our athletes step up each day, and we have some great talent that will develop throughout this season.”