NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb track and field groups will be taking their talents to the Rhodes Open in Memphis, Tenn. to kick off the first competition as part of the outdoor track and field season.
Coming off a very successful championship run at the Atlantic Sun Indoor Championships, it seems the track and field squads are ready to delve into the next chapter of the season.
"We've had a solid three weeks of training since the A-Sun Indoor Championships, which has been really nice,” said Bill Taylor, director of track and field. “We should be stronger, and since we haven't raced in a while, we should be hungry to compete.”
The conversion from indoor to outdoor track and field will come with several pros and cons for both track and field squads.
"The transition to outdoor track is always interesting,” said Taylor. “Tracks are faster, the air is better, yet the weather is more unpredictable. This weekend’s forecast is for some rain, but relatively warm, so it shouldn't impact performance potential.”
Also at this event, many sprinters will be subjected to some strengthening practices by changing up their usual event participation.
"At Rhodes our sprinters are going to be moving up to get some strength. So 400 meter runners are competing at 800 meters for the first and only time this season,” said Taylor. “Short sprinters are going 400 meters. Coach (Marcus) Evans has a tradition of doing that for one of the first two outdoor meets each season. It helps our sprinters perform stronger.”
Those athletes participating in the hurdles will also see a slight change in their events after making the transition to outdoor season.
"For the hurdlers they get their first chances at longer hurdle races. The sprint hurdle race moves from 60 meters indoors to 100 and 110 meters outdoors, and we add in the 400 meter hurdles,” said Taylor.
The shift from indoor to outdoor also means some long awaited performances from some of the field athletes.
"Field events will be doing their normal thing. Now that we are in the outdoor season, we finally get to see our javelin throwers compete,” said Taylor. “Indoor weight throwers also transition to their first opportunity to throw the hammer.”
"Most of our distance women are competing in the 5000 meter in this meet. There isn't much competition, so they have a plan to use our talent and depth to help us run fast. Our goal is to get a few new girls into the 16's so we can take a bigger group to Stanford in a few weeks,” said Taylor. “We will also have a trio of men planning to pace themselves to fast times that will hopefully get them into Stanford. Although we have fewer athletes in the middle distances, we have some strong potential there. For the men, several of our top middle distance guys will run for the first time this year.”
The meet in Memphis this weekend is sure to be just what both squads need to enliven the beginning of a new phase of the season.
"Overall this meet is an opportunity to get the outdoor season rolling,” Taylor said. “To see where we are and how much we have improved in the three weeks since A-Sun Indoors. It should be a fun meet."