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Walker places first; Lady Bisons dominate XC field
Saturday, September 21, 2013
By Ryan Hilgemann
Walker places first; Lady Bisons dominate XC field
Courtesy of Torrey Vail

SPOKANE, Wash. – Traveling to Spokane, Wash., for the Erik Anderson Invite, the Lipscomb women’s cross country team did not disappoint a pro-Lipscomb crowd placing 1-2-3 and winning the Erik Anderson Invite Saturday.

“Today was terrific for our program,” Bill Taylor, director of cross country and track and field, said. “We put on a great show and I think we gained a bunch of new fans. The support from parents and friends of our Northwest athletes was incredible.

“We also had incredible support from so many people here watching the meet, many of who hadn’t heard of Lipscomb.”

The Lady Bisons dominated the field, placing five runners in the top 10 and seven in the top 17. Lipscomb scored 20 points in the race

Second place was awarded to Simon Frazer with Gonzaga right behind with 65 and 71 points, respectively. 

Junior Dani Walker won the 6K event in 21.39.83. She was followed by freshman Sally Larson and sophomore Madi Talbert. 

The race started out slow which allowed Taylor to call an audible for the race plan. 

“The race started and nobody took it out,” Taylor said. “It was a mass of slow moving runners. We had 12 women at the front of the race and the entire field packed up behind. This was the same through at least 800 meters so I told the girls to ‘go, do whatever you want.’

“They picked it up and broke the race open. We had five together for at least 4000 meters, with two Gonzaga girls drafting. It broke up a bit in the final 2000 meters, which is expected.”

Taylor was proud of the entire team and especially of the top three.

“Sally, Madi and Dani stuck together through the end, with Sally putting in a hard charge in the final 200 meters,” Taylor said. “Dani has such great speed; she kicked hard in the final 150 meters to get the individual win.

“It was cool going 1-2-3 in the race. I am really proud of all the girls. Dani, in particular, has worked through a lot this season and today was a big confidence boost for her.”

Freshman Katie Bianchini crossed the finish line is sixth place in 22:03.72. Senior Tessa Hoefle was just behind in eighth place at 22:07.86.

“I’m really proud of the way the girls worked together and fought,” Taylor said. “Katie and Tessa were charging hard in the last 600 meters, trying to get a 15-point win. They came really close to pulling it off.”

Many accomplishments came from the race but Taylor in particular was excited about the way the pack ran.

“The biggest value from this race was that we were able to work on some tactical issues and make big improvements packing together,” Taylor said. “They got a great feel for how that works and another taste of how fun it is to race like that.

“We need to continue to make that better, especially when we get to Notre Dame in two weeks. We will face a significant number of nationally-ranked teams. This meet definitely served its purpose.” 

The Lady Bisons return to action Friday, Oct. 4 at the Notre Dame Invite in South Bend, Ind.