SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Lipscomb men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the Notre Dame Invite in South Bend, Ind., Friday afternoon. The women finished in 11th place while the men had a disappointing 23rd place finish.
“The women ran well overall,” Bill Taylor, director of cross country and track and field, said. “We knew it would be tough without Katie (Bianachini) and she was definitely missed. To finish 11th without her is pretty solid.
“I look at the results though, and see that we should have finished seventh. That could be significant at the end of the season when at-large points are determined.”
Winning the meet was No. 2 Florida State followed by New Mexico. The Lady Bisons finished ahead of Northwestern, Ohio State and Baylor in 12th, 13th and 14th, respectively.
Freshman Sally Larson was the top runner for the Purple and Gold for the third meet. She finished 27th overall in 17:41.10. Junior Tessa Hoefle finished 53rd in 17:58.40.
“A lot of good stuff happened individually,” Taylor said. “Sally ran like a star. She’s just going to get better and better. She is willing to sell out, which is what it takes to be elite.
“Tessa took a big step forward today. It was definitely one of her best races and certainly her best big race. She has made terrific progress.”
Lipscomb also got a strong run out of sophomore Madi Talbert who finished 56th in 18:01.70.
“Madi ran great, too,” Taylor said. “She was with Sally for quite a while. She faded a bit in the middle but is really close to figuring this out in a big way.”
The top five for Lipscomb rounded out with freshmen Brooke Gordon in 86th place in a time of 18:22.50 and Barbara Lee Ball in 126th place in 18:44.10.
“Another freshman on the rise is Brooke, who stepped it up to be our number four today,” Taylor said. “I’m very proud of her. Barbara Lee also moved her performance up as she gets stronger every week.”
With the first points race of the season over, Taylor will be looking forward to the next meet at Pre-Nationals.
“We have a lot we can learn from this race and a lot of room for improvement,” Taylor said. “It’s tough to be so close to picking up at-large points and miss them, however we are moving forward and will be far stronger in two weeks.”
The men finished 23rd with freshman Juan Gonzalez continuing to be the top runner for the Bisons finishing 74th in 25:31.60.
Columbia won the meet followed by No. 7 Tulsa and Princeton.
“Obviously we are pretty disappointed in the men’s result,” Taylor said. “Apparently a number of our guys fell around 200 meters into the race. So it is hard to judge their performance which also makes it tough to comment.
“We were in dead last at the mile and moved up some, so that is good. We really expected more.”
Freshmen Christian Freeman and John Kingstedt finished 108th and 112th, respectively. Freeman had a time of 25:52.60 while Kingstedt’s time was 25:55.10.
“Juan had another good race,” Taylor said. “I am very happy with his progress. John and Christian ran really well too.”
With the result not being what Taylor had hoped, he isn’t making excuses for the performance.
“When you fall, you’ve got to get up and race,” Taylor said. “I’m not sure we did that to the best of our ability. It’s something we will assess and talk through over the next few days. Beyond that, we just have to look forward.”
The next meet for both squads will be Oct. 19 at the Pre-Nationals held in Terre Haute, Ind., the site of the NCAA National Meet. A contingent of the squad will head to the Front Runner Invite in Chattanooga, Tenn.