NASHVILLE – In what was another full weekend of meets, the Lipscomb cross country squad gave a strong performance at the Princeton Invite and the Crimson Classic.
On Saturday at the Princeton Invite, the women’s squad defeated seven regionally-ranked teams on the way to finishing fourth overall, while the men grabbed 10th place over four regionally-ranked programs.
Freshman Lauren Flynt (21:45.9) and senior Kacey Kemper (21:59.4) were the top-finishing Bisons on the women’s side, placing 10th and 15th out of 179 runners.
Senior Katie Sperry (22:29.1) and freshman Jacie Legois (22:31.9) finished nearly back-to-back at 36th and 40th, while junior Bridgette Doucet (22:54.2) closed out Lipscomb’s top five in 53rd place.
On the men’s side, senior Jacob Poyner turned in the best individual performance of the day for Lipscomb, finishing fifth overall out of 205 runners with a time of 24:12.1.
“It was the most complete race for Jake so far this season,” Lipscomb cross country assistant coach Benton Reed said. “He was patient early and responded well with the leaders as they got deeper into the race. It was a great time and new school record.
“Despite a fall for a few of our runners, we still had some PRs. We know what we are capable of more and it's only a matter of turning a good day into a great one. We have some things to clean up, but the guys are hungry and excited for the postseason.”
Freshman Silas Griffith (24:51.9) and a trio of sophomores in William Kachman (25:18.7), Kyle Johnson (25:23.7), and Chase Hampton (25:25.1) made up the rest of Lipscomb’s top five, finishing 40th, 69th, 76th, and 79th, respectively.
At the Crimson Classic on Friday, freshman Jared Rodriguez earned the top time for the men at 27:04.6, while fellow freshman Lindsay Marriott (23:34.4) took the top time for the women.
Director of Cross Country Bill Taylor’s Thoughts:
"This was a really good race for us at this point of the season. It was the perfect size and level of competition for where we are.
"I'm really happy with the performance of the women's team. Everyone ran very hard and very tough. More importantly, the girls are making the important changes individually and as a team that are needed to get better. We accomplished some big things today that are valuable both for the final part of this season and for the future of the program.
"Lauren took chances and put herself up in the lead pack. She showed a lot of courage and learned a lot about herself today. She has so much ability and is developing quickly into a mighty tough competitor and an elite NCAA Division I runner.
"Kacey didn't feel very good today, yet she found ways to push through. In many ways I think this was Kacey's best race. Jacie ran terrific and those two really worked well together through most of the race. Jacie has been a big blessing to our team and has a very bright future. She can develop into a top tier elite runner for us.
"Katie Sperry ran the race of her life. It was awesome watching her compete today. She just keeps getting better. Today she raced very hard and she looked smoother and stronger than ever. It was a great performance and a big help to the team.
"Bridgette also ran her best race of the season and possibly the best of her career. She took some intelligent chances and put herself where the team needed her. It was a nice step forward and a taste of what she can accomplish.
"Avery ran tough as she works her way back from an injury. Today was a desire and guts race for her, as she gets stronger and stronger every week. Two more weeks of training will set Avery up very well for the Conference Championships.
"Kayla Rudie also ran amazing. It was her best collegiate race for sure. She not only put herself up there today and took a big step forward, she looked really strong and relaxed.
"I was very pleased to finish fourth as a team. We beat some regionally-ranked teams, and were only four points from second and 30 points from first, in a field of 20 teams.
"For the men, Jake ran incredible. He was in the lead pack the entire race and looked smooth and strong the whole race. He broke our school record for 8000m today. Jake is a terrific leader for the men on and off the course.
"Silas is having a terrific freshman year. He ran the second fastest time ever for a freshman at Lipscomb. He is learning and growing each week.”
As this weekend marked the end of the regular season, the Bisons will next be competing at the ASUN Championships in Kennesaw, Georgia on Oct. 28.