JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Madi Talbert took her turn representing Lipscomb at the NCAA East Preliminaries Friday night finishing fourth in her heat in the 3000-meter steeplechase.
Her time of 10:08.21 advances her to the national finals for the second year in a row.
"Wow, she ran great,” said Bill Taylor, director of track and field. “Whether she qualified for finals or not, I was very happy with her toughness and her race.
“To qualify for national finals for the second year in a row, as a sophomore, is amazing!”
Talbert already has significant experience on the national stage, but looks to come home with better results this year.
"Last year didn't go well at national finals,” Taylor said. “I wasn't surprised. It's tough to go to nationals, by yourself, as a freshman, and her nerves got the best of her.”
Talbert finished 23rd at last year’s national finals with a time of 10:41.98.
Talbert not only recorded a personal best with Friday’s time, but she also shattered the school record, which she set last year.
"Madi really turned a corner mentally at the end of the season,” Taylor said. “Her practices have been great. She is so incredibly talented and has just scratched the surface of what she can do.”
Taylor believes this is another huge moment for the track and field program and hopes the rest of the distance girls can step up to Talbert’s level.
“I know Madi wants company in the distance races at nationals next year, and we definitely have the talent to get a lot of her teammates there,” Taylor said. “Madi shows that your ranking doesn't matter, just belief, toughness and giving your best in the moment. I want that to spread through our team."
Talbert closed out the preliminaries with a historic finish, but Lipscomb still has one more athlete on the prowl for a victory.
Gemikal Prude is set to vie for a spot at nationals Saturday night as he competes in the high jump.