NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb cross country head coach Bill Taylor released the 2012 cross country schedule, Wednesday. Each squad has nine potential meets lined up for the fall.
The upcoming schedule has been adjusted from years past. For the first time since 2008, Lipscomb will open the season outside the state of Tennessee at the FGCU Invite, Aug. 31. This meet will take place on Florida Gulf Coast’s Buckingham Property, the site of the 2012 Atlantic Sun Championships.
“Since we've never run there before, I feel we need to see what the course is like,” Taylor said. “I want to have our athletes run in hot conditions that will be similar to what we will face at the ASUN Championships.”
Lipscomb returns to Nashville for two consecutive meets at Percy Warner Park: the Belmont Opener (Sept. 7) and the Vanderbilt Invite (Sept. 15).
“Belmont and Vanderbilt are traditional local meets on our home course,” Taylor said. “We are probably going to sit many of our top runners this year for one or both of these meets, which is unfortunate in that it's local and on the same course we train on a lot, but we have bigger goals for the season.”
The women’s team will go to Toledo’s InterRegional BubbleBuster, a four-kilometer race at Ottawa Park, on Sept. 20 while the men’s team takes a week off.
“The women's team was invited to the Toledo BubbleBuster this year,” Taylor said. “It's a great meet with top Division I competition from many of the different regions in the U.S. This is the first opportunity for our women to earn at-large points for national championship qualifying. It's an honor to be invited to such a terrific meet and we are excited to go face tough competition.”
Both teams will be back in action at the Louisville Classic, Sept. 29, at Tom Sawyer State Park. A staple of Taylor’s schedule over the past few years, Louisville was the site of Isaiah Greer’s 10th-place eight-kilometer run last season that led the men’s squad to a team victory and a then career-best 17:51.24s five-kilometer run by Tessa Hoefle.
“We always go to the Louisville Classic,” Taylor said. “We have traditionally done very well there. If it's dry it is a fast course. If it's wet, it's not, but with the National Championships there this year, we get two opportunities to race there.
“Because it is the National Championship course, the fields will be loaded with fast ranked-teams, which also means these two races provide us with another great opportunity to earn at-large points for nationals.”
The women will get a weekend off following Louisville, while the men are scheduled for the Florida State Invite (Oct. 5) at Apalachee Regional Park.
“It's the first time we've ever gone down there,” Taylor said. “In addition to great competition and a new location, Florida State will host the NCAA I South Region Championships this year, so we will get a chance to preview the course.”
The Bisons and Lady Bisons return to Louisville and Tom Sawyer Park Oct. 13 for the Louisville Pre-Nationals.
The Lady Bisons will defend their 2011 A-Sun Championship and the men’s team will go for its first-ever title when they return to FGCU and the Buckingham Property on Oct. 27 for the A-Sun Championships.
Just over a month after their first trip to Tallahassee, the Bisons and Lady Bisons will return for the NCAA Division I South Regional Championship, Nov. 9.
“At the South Region Championships our women hope to put themselves in the mix to go to Nationals this year,” Taylor said. “We have a lot of work to do and we must make some significant progress to do it; however we are not far off. The men will look for their best ever Regional finish and want to show that they will be in the mix for nationals very soon.”
If all goes well at the South Region, the Bisons and Lady Bisons will return to Louisville on Nov. 17 for the NCAA National Championships.
“We would love to get a team to the National Championships this year,” Taylor said. “It's a tall order and would be a historic accomplishment. We love the Louisville course and are very familiar with it. Our goals are to get there. We will certainly do everything we can this year to try to see that happen.”
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