NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After a season involving several ups and downs, the Lipscomb track and field squads are ready to take the competition to the Atlantic Sun Indoor Championships this weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C.
"We are excited for the Indoor Championships and we feel like we are ready to go compete hard,” said Bill Taylor, director of track and field. "It will be our first time ever at the JDL Fast Track (in Winston-Salem, NC). We've heard good things. We've heard it is a great facility and a fast track.”
Tucker Peabody will be defending his title in the 200 meters after posting a time of 21.27 in last year’s championships to claim both the second and third fastest times in the conference for the event.
Peabody is expected to make a strong impact on the team at the championships after posting solid results so far this season as well after breaking the conference record for the 200 meters this past week at the Spire Invite in Ohio finishing with a time of 21.05.
"Tucker is over a second faster than the second-best time in the 200m. So he has a great chance to repeat,” said Taylor. “He is just a few hundredths of a second ahead in the 60m though, so that will be exciting. He's also part of a fast 4x400m relay. He has a chance for three event wins this weekend."
Germikal Prude will be a force to be reckoned with at the championships this weekend. Prude is tied for the top high jump in the conference with a jump of 2.18 meters and is also currently ranked eighth in the nation.
"Gemikal is always one of our most dynamic performers. First of all, watching a 5-7 tall guy jump well over seven feet is pretty amazing, Taylor said. “He has a friendly rivalry with Dorsey (Kennesaw State) and they bring out the best in each other.”
After redshirting last year with an injury, Collin Dempster came back strong landing himself the second place spot for best time in the conference this season in the 400 meters with a time of 48.28.
"The open 400 and 800 are too close together, so we had to choose. We decided on the open 400. Colin will also anchor our 4x400m relay (which has the fastest time in the A-Sun this season). He still gets an 800m though on Friday night as a part of our distance medley relay,” said Taylor.
Also in the distance medley relay with Dempster is Christian Freeman, who had an impressive freshman campaign breaking the school record in the 3000 meters with a time of 8:26.64. That mark stands as the second-best time in the A-Sun this season.
“We have a very talented young trio of distance guys doing really well. Christian is leading the way and has barely scratched the surface,” said Taylor. “The 3000 meter and the 5000 meter will be very competitive and those guys will be in the mix.”
Freshman Wayne Newman has made headway during his first season as well after capturing the second fastest time this season in the conference in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.19.
"Wayne is one of a number of freshman guys who are talented, motivated and are going to make a huge impact now and in the future. He's going to compete hard in the hurdles, said Taylor.
As for the women’s team, Dani Walker and Madi Talbert are sure to bring some competition to the A-Sun championships.
Dani Walker left last year’s championships having won the mile, 3000 meters, and 5000 meters . She was also MVP of the meet.
This year Walker will be competing in the 800 meters, mile, 3000 meters, and distance medley relay.
Taylor said, "Dani is an incredible athlete and has been a key leader in our women's cross country and track team success. Last year was special and we set things up to give her the chance to be MVP.”
Madi Talbert leads the A-Sun 5000 meters and is ranked second in the 3000 meters. Talbert will also be competing in the distance medley relay with Walker.
"Madi is a lot like Dani, said Taylor. She has great range and can do about anything she decides to do. I think she is happy we are competing in her home state.”
The one name that will be missing from the list of competitors for Lipscomb at this year’s championships is April Terry.
Terry, who is ranked second in the weight throw and fourth in the shot put, will not make the trip due to health issues.
"Not having April is a big blow to our team, and an even bigger blow to April,” said Taylor. “However, track is just track, it's not life, and all our prayers and thoughts are with her."
However, the Bisons still have exceptional odds at making an impact on the A-Sun championships.
"Every championship we have a goal to beat our previous best team finish and to score more points than ever before,” said Taylor. “The men are set up well to accomplish both goals. Without April, the women will have a tougher road, but I know they will give their best."
After the group finishes up the conference championships, they will head to Albuquerque, N.M. to compete in the NCAA I Indoor National Championships taking place on March 15.