Dani Walker (FR - Wichita, Kan.) led the way for Lipscomb at Willamette, finishing 10th out of 247 runners in a time of 17:50 for the 5000m course. That time is the fastest any Lipscomb woman has ever run for 5000m in cross country or on the track.
Eight Lipscomb women broke 19 minutes at Willamette. Dani was followed closely by Alex Newby (FR – Knoxville, Tenn.) in 18:06, Tessa Hoefle (FR – Winnebago, Ill.) in 18:07, Louisa Van Batavia (JR – Burns, Ore.) in 18:11, with Ashley Lehman (JR – Harrisonburg, Va.) rounding out the top five in 18:19.
The next five finishers for Lipscomb were Jenny Randolph (SR – Knoxville, Tenn.) in 18:20, Shelby Marvel (SO – Ashland City, Tenn.) in 18:24, Cortney Thomas (FR – Lacey, Wash.) in 18:55, Amanda Twigg (SO – Cumberland, Md.) in 19:21, and Ali Keith (FR – Mililani, Hawaii) in 19:23. The top nine women for Lipscomb ran their all-time 5K PRs.
As a team Lipscomb finished fourth out of 24 teams. The University of Idaho won the race.
“It was nice for the girls to run on a fast course,” said head coach Bill Taylor. “Our meets prior to this have been on challenging courses, which is great and makes you tough. However, it’s nice to be able to go to a faster race with great competition and take advantage of it.
“We get better every week, which is very exciting. The PRs are really fun of course. Most of our women here will drop 2-plus minutes from their previous PRs. The training works, the environment here is exceptional and this has been common throughout my coaching career. Several of our freshmen have already taken more than a minute off their high school best."
Walker has been one of the top newcomers this season.
“It was also nice to see Dani go under 18,” Taylor said. “She’s a tough competitor, as are all our women. Someone had to be the first to do that here and she raced very aggressively. It’s going to be common to go under 18 for us now, but you have to have someone step up first."
Taylor called having eight women go under19 a milestone for this program.
“I don’t think it will be long though until we have eight or more women going under 18,” Taylor said. “We develop runners better than almost any program in the nation and this is all planned and expected. It’s just great to watch it all unfold.
“And the excitement within the team is really fun. The girls are almost amazed about it all, and at the same time I see them maturing. They are learning to expect great things and to see themselves as a powerful program. That is key and is the foundation from which you build a powerhouse program.”
At Louisville, the Lipscomb women may have been listed as a “B” team, however they asserted themselves as a varsity team. The women were pushed to the Silver race, the third of three women’s races on the day, because more than 100 teams entered the races there. They responded by dominating the race. They won easily with the top three finishers in the race, six of the top ten, and 10 in the top 14.
In the process they beat many A Teams from other programs and would have finished at least second in the Blue race against mostly varsity teams. They won with 21 points. Campbell and Emory were second and third with 142 and 172 points respectively.
Caitlin Anderson (SR – Franklin, Tenn.) led the Lady Bisons to the finish line, posting a time of 18:56 for the 5000-meter course. She was followed closely by Catherine Beals (JR – Glasgow, Ky.) and Priya Pappu (SO – Santa Clara, Calif.) in 19:03 and 19:04 to take the top three spots in the race.
The trio was closely followed by Jaimie McFarland (FR – Fife, Wash.), seventh place in 19:23; Lacey Printz (FR – Kent, Wash.) eighth in 19:25; and Katie Bunker (FR – Cedarville, Ohio) rounding out the top 10 in 19:41.
Right behind Katie were Anna Belner (FR – Johnston, Iowa) 11th in 19:43, Miranda Klein (FR – Nashville, Tenn.) 12th in 19:43, Missy Dowd (FR – Duvall, Wash.) 13th in 19:44, and Alyssa Miller (FR - Cheyenne, Wyo.) 14th in 19:57.
Other finishers for Lipscomb were: Meredith McFarliin 21:00, Laura Stewart (SR – Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) 45th in 21:05, Reba Francisco (FR – Chinly, Ariz.) 80th in 21:53 and Emily Wilson (FR – Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) 87th in 22:01. There were 235 women in the race.
“Our Louisville women ran amazing,” Taylor said. “I’m so proud of them! They showed pride in themselves and represented Lipscomb incredibly. They worked together and dominated the race.
“Even better, these women ran faster on this course this year than our top women ran on it last year. In other words, our “B” women are better than last year’s varsity team here (by 43 seconds). That’s how far and how fast our program is developing.”
All women ran either all-time 5000m PRs or season bests.
“What is most exciting though is that both teams are having so much fun with this and that every single girl on our team understands how important they are,” Taylor said. “It doesn’t matter if someone is first on the team or twenty-first, they know their effort, actions and attitude impact the whole team and that they are a vital part of what we are building.
“The girls at Louisville represented our team at the highest level and sent a message about what we are all about.”
Taylor singled out Anderson for winning the race.
“I’m also really happy for Caitlin Anderson,” Taylor said. “To get a race win in college is very difficult. She has been so important to our program since I arrived and has been either first or second for our team the past three years and has been an all-conference runner in cross country. It’s so great for her to get a big race win and to lead an amazing team at Louisville to the team win as well.”
The teams will have next weekend off, before returning to action for the final regular meet of the season, splitting between the Chile Pepper Invite, hosted by the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and the Evansville Invite in Evansville, Ind.