The indoor season begins as always with the Tennessee State University Ed Temple Classic on Jan. 10th. The Bison’s and Lady Bison’s then return to the Niswonger Invite at ETSU in Johnson City to compete on the same track where the Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Championships will be held.
A limited roster will travel out to Seattle, Wash., to compete in the University of Washington Invite on one of the best indoor tracks in the nation Jan. 29-30.
The entire squads return to action at TSU on Feb. 6. for the TSU Invite. The next stop is a trip to Indiana University for the Hoosier Hills Invite for the second year.
The Indoor season technically concludes with the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships held at ETSU on Feb. 26-27. Any National qualifiers would continue on to the University of Arkansas for the NCAA I National Indoor Track & Field Championships March 12-13.
“Our indoor schedule fits our goals again this year” said Bill Taylor, head coach for both the Bisons and Lady Bisons. “We emphasize the outdoor season and strive to peak there. However, we need to have indoor opportunities, especially for our non-distance athletes. We have attended all of these meets over the past two years with the exception of Washington, and they are perfect meets for what we desire to accomplish. “
Each of the meets offers different incentives for the teams.
“Going to ETSU gives us a nice prep for our Conference meet,” said Taylor. “TSU’s meets are very solid and are great local opportunities, and the team loved going to Indiana last year. They have a terrific 200m banked track and a nice environment.
“The addition of Washington as a meet we take a small number of athletes to is a really great opportunity. It is one of the fastest indoor tracks in the nation and attracts incredible competition, particularly in the distance events. For me it is especially exciting to take a few athletes back there since I am from Seattle.”
The outdoor season begins immediately after the Indoor A-Sun Championships with a trip to Jacksonville, Fla., for the North Florida Spring Break Invite, held on the track that will host the Atlantic Sun Conference outdoor championships.
Two relatively close meets, at Birmingham Southern and at the Austin Peay Spring Fling, bookend Lipscomb’s spring break and provide good early outdoor season opportunities to get into competition mode. Some of the team will return to Austin Peay two weeks later for the Austin Peay Invite.
A bit of the Southeastern Conference flavors the schedule as well, beginning with the Alabama Relays on March 27-28. Lipscomb will also visit Florida on April 3-4, Tennessee or Vanderbilt on April 16-17, and Tennessee on May 8.
“In addition to those big meet opportunities, there are several elite level opportunities available to those that qualify,” said Taylor. “A few athletes will attend the Potts Invite at Colorado, while the Mt. Sac Relays, the Drake Relays and the Payton Jordan Invite at Stanford are three of the highest quality and most prestigious track and field meets in the nation.”
Rounding out the schedule are meets at Tennessee State University for the Boston Moon Invite on April 10 and the Western Kentucky Invite on April 24.
The Atlantic Sun Championship meet will be held in Jacksonville, Fla., at the University of North Florida May 14-15. Those that qualify will compete at the NCAA I East Preliminary Round of the NCAA National Championships in Greensboro, N.C., two weeks later. That meet will determine who qualifies for the NCAA I Outdoor National Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 9-12.
“It’s a great outdoor schedule,” said Taylor. “We strive to give all of our track and field athletes the opportunities they need to succeed. So we have multiple levels of competition, ranging from meets that everyone can participate in and mid-level competitions, to opportunities to go against the best in the nation.
“I also like the geography of our schedule this year. We have more relatively local opportunities than we have had since I’ve been at Lipscomb. That’s nice for us in terms of travel and for our fans.”
Taylor is also pleased that his teams will be participating in some of the more prestigious meets.
“At the same time, we again have some select meets in very cool locations,” said Taylor. “North Florida’s track is very fast, so it’s a nice start to the outdoor season. I’m looking forward to visiting Boulder, Colo. The Florida Relays will be warm and competitive. Drake is one of the oldest and most prestigious meets in the nation with an incredible atmosphere. And a trip to Southern California is always fun if we qualify athletes for Mt. Sac or Stanford.
“It’s going to be a great season. We have the largest group of track and field athletes that Lipscomb has seen in many years. The men’s team has especially grown in size and event representation. “
Taylor is expecting improved performances in all areas.
“Our distance runners just finished Cross Country and are already excited to get the track season here,” said Taylor. “We should also be strong in the sprints and jumps and we are getting better in the throws.
“We have been striving to add balance to our team and succeed in all the events. We’ve taken a big step forward this year in that regard. It’s a very exciting young team with a bright future. “
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations