LipscombSports.com
Women’s cross country looking for third-straight title

Friday, November 01, 2013
by Ryan Hilgemann

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The two-time defending champion Lipscomb women’s cross country team looks to win its third-straight Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Saturday at Percy Warner Park.

The race gets underway at 10 a.m. in Vaughn’s Gap.

The Lady Bisons have been a unanimous pick all season as the top team in the conference as voted by the coaches.

“We should be the best team,” Bill Taylor, director of cross country and track and field, said. “We have the most depth. We aren’t going in with big heads. We are well aware that you have to earn everything you get.

“Just being ranked first all season doesn’t give you a title. Even more so, we have to prove that those rankings were correct.”

Lipscomb enters a roster full of A-Sun Championship experience and talent, led by Preseason Runner of the Year Dani Walker. The senior has a cabinet full of awards over her career and includes two First Team All-Conference awards.

The Lady Bisons also enter two-time A-Sun first team selection Tessa Hoefle, and a pair of second team winners last year in Kendra Lobley and Madi Talbert.

Taylor believes the squad has four women who are capable of winning the meet, including freshman Sally Larson.

“Sally certainly has had an amazing year,” Taylor said. “She has done things as a freshman that I haven’t seen any of my athletes do before.

“Dani is absolutely capable of winning it and has proven it over and over again. Tessa is capable and is a 5K champion in outdoor track and field. Madi is an All-American (outdoor track and field), so she can do it too. Any of the four have shown this season they have the ability to win it.”

Lipscomb also has freshmen Barbara Lee Ball, Hannah Feiten and Kelsey Ibarra along with junior Kaitlyn Llewellyn on the A-Sun roster.

The Lady Bisons would like to use the A-Sun Championship as a springboard into the NCAA South Regionals taking place Nov. 15.

“We have bigger goals than just the A-Sun,” Taylor said. “I’m not sure if we are ready to go to NCAA Nationals, but that has been the goal all year. How they perform Saturday is going to tell us about how prepared we are and how ready we are to make the next step two weeks later at regionals.”

But the first step to preparing for a strong performance at regionals begins with the A-Sun Championship and Taylor hopes the home crowd will provide support in the chase for three-straight championships.

“The home course advantage is mostly a home crowd advantage,” Taylor said. “We have done well having people come out and cheer. We are hoping for the best crowds the A-Sun has ever seen. We are hoping Lipscomb will make a statement for how we support our sports.”