Six women’s cross country athletes will join Bill Taylor’s Lady Bison program in the fall, looking to enhance a squad that won Lipscomb’s first-ever Atlantic Sun Cross Country Championship in 2011.
“These six add depth to an already very strong team,” Taylor said. “Any of them could impact our top group this year. However, if it takes a year or two to develop them correctly, that is perfectly fine as well. We have a very strong returning group, and so we have a lot of flexibility and a lot of options and configurations that work.”
Kayla Droessler (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic HS) will bring immediate help to the women’s squad. A transfer from St. Xavier University in Chicago, Droessler represented the Cougars at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships.
Two California girls join the Lady Bisons this season. Hannah Munyan (Apple Valley, Calif./Sultana HS) earned All-American honors at the 2011 USATF Trail Half-Marathon Championships and has a half-marathon personal-best of 1:23.34s. She competed in the CIF Southern Section Championships on multiple occasions in cross country and track and field.
Joining her from the Golden State is Alex Tate (Clayton, Calif./Clayton Valley HS). Tate is a three-time CIF State Cross Country Championships qualifier whose high finish was 13th in 2010. She was the Diablo Valley Athletic League Champion in the 1600m run this past season.
Makenna Rickner (Edmond, Okla./Deer Creek HS) brings a ton of big-race experience to Nashville. She was a four-time state championship qualifier in both cross country and track and field, finishing 12th in the 5A State Cross Country Championships.
A two-time qualifier for the Virginia State Cross Country Championships, Alex Justice (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch HS) has finished in the top-five at the Foot Locker South Regional Cross Country Championships each of the last two years. She competed in the 5000m run at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in 2011 and 2012.
Charlotte, N.C. native Madeline Talbert rounds out the incoming class of Lady Bison cross country athletes. She finished fifth for South Mecklenburg High School in the 1600m and 800m runs at the NCHSAA 4A State Championships in 2012 after finishing seventh in the 1600m in 2011. In cross country, she finished ninth in the state in 2011 and was 50th overall at the Foot Locker South Region Championships.
Taylor thinks the small group has a large amount of talent.
“Madeline has proven herself in distance and especially middle distance,” Taylor said. ‘Hannah is a true long distance runner. Alex Justice has battled some injuries, so her best has not been seen yet – she will surprise people. Likewise, Alex Tate has spent her career split between running and soccer. I think with her focus and energy full on running, in a great program, some big things are going to happen.
“Kayla has the talent and a new environment sometimes makes all the difference. And Makenna is a perfect fit at Lipscomb. I have a feeling she is going to crush all her previous times.”
Each of these athletes will also be counted on to contribute during track season at some point. For a full breakdown of women's track and field-only incoming freshmen, check back Friday at LipscombSports.com.
Personal Bests (5K unless otherwise noted)
Madeline Talbert: 18:13s
Alex Tate: 18:22s
Alex Justice: 18:56s
Makenna Rickner: 19:53s
Kayla Droessler: 20:10s
Hannah Munyan: 17:50s (Three-mile run)