Women's track and field adds dozen for 2014
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Women's track and field adds dozen for 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – By adding 12 track & field specific recruits in addition to the 10 cross-country/distance runners announced last week, the Lipscomb track and field coaching staff secured the largest women’s recruiting class in  school history.

“This is definitely the largest track & field specific class we’ve had and will instantly help us achieve our goal of being the dominant women’s track team in the Atlantic Sun Conference.  But more importantly, these incoming women are incredible students and are all a great character fit for our team”, says assistant track and field coach Luke Syverson.  “With this class, we were able to add needed depth to almost all event areas, especially the sprints, throws and pole vault.”

“With this group, our relays instantly get a boost from Abbey McMurray and Cassidy Proce.  We also double the size of our throws and vault event groups”, says Syverson.  “Annika Backlund and Sarah Browning already have marks that top our current school record in the vault.  They will likely contribute team points at the conference championship as freshmen.  I also think that Jazmyne McGill has the gifts to join current Lady Bison thrower, April Terry, as one of the top female throwers in our conference.

“It’s exciting that all these young women will join what is already the top distance event group in the ASUN as we continue to build this program.”

In addition to securing some great local talent, the coaching staff scanned nationally as the 12 signees represent nine different states.  Tennessee leads the way with five, with one recruit each from California, Virginia, Washington, Connecticut, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.


Below is the list of incoming 2014 Lady Bisons along with background info and highlights from their high school careers:

Annika Backlund

Wildomar, Calif./Murrieta Valley HS/Pole Vault

PR’s: 11’9

  • 2013 CIF SS Div II Champion in the pole vault
  • Team Captain of her team since her sophomore year
  • Senior Student of the Year for Murrieta Valley High School
  • 2nd All-League and All-Scholastic team Volleyball Player in 2012
  • Ranked in top 15 in CA and top 50 in the US in 2013 class for vault

Coach Syverson on Annika: Annika is a perfect fit for Lipscomb; a strong student, outgoing with her faith, fun to be around, and a competitor.  Murrieta Valley has a strong vault program and she will continue to get better here.  Her family is great and very supportive much like our team family.  Annika plans to follow a familiar family career plan and major in Nursing. 


Sarah Browning

Nashville, Tenn./Lipscomb Academy/Pole Vault

PR’s: 10’7

  • 2013 TSSAA State Champion in pole vault.  Helped lead team to first ever state championship team title
  • Lipscomb Academy school record holder in the event
  • TSSAA District meet record holder
  • National Honor Society

Coach Syverson on Sarah: I’m excited to keep Sarah on campus. One of the things that impressed me about Sarah in watching her compete this season is her demeanor.  She is a very mature competitor and always seemed calm during competitions.   We know what we are getting with Sarah.  She knows how to win as an individual and knows what it means to be part of a state championship team.   Coach Cunningham and Coach Taylor, along with her private vault coach, Brandon Grass, have done a great job in mentoring her.


Molly Crawford

Maryville, Tenn./Maryville HS/Pole Vault-Relays

PR’s: 9’6

  • 3 time qualifier for the TSSAA State Championships in the 4x400 relay
  • 3 sport athlete competing in Cross-Country, Basketball, and Track

Coach Syverson on Molly:  Molly has competed in a number of different events for Maryville but will most likely train specifically for the pole vault here at Lipscomb.  Depending on her development, she may see time in the relays as well.  She is still fairly new to the vault and has spent time this past year with Tim Mack with his vaulting program.  She is very involved in her church and service/mission projects and will be a great fit.


Rachel Dixon

Stephens City, Va./Sherando HS/Throws

PR’s: 31’4 SP/104’3 Discus

  • 3-year letterman in Track & Field
  • 4.0 GPA and honor roll student

Coach Syverson on Rachel: Rachel is another example of the type of student-athlete we look for.  She has a strong academic background and wants to succeed.  She is academically driven and is excited to join our team environment.”


Abbey McMurray

Franklin, Tenn./Lipscomb Academy/Sprints

PR’s: 12.75 100m/26.57 200m/60.38 400m/5’ HJ

  • Helped lead 4x200 and 4x400 to 3rd and 4th place finishes at 2013 TSSAA State Championships
  • Helped lead team to 2013 TSSAA Girl’s Track & Field Championships

Coach Syverson on Abbey: “Abbey will bring a ton of positive energy to our team.  She is incredibly nice.  She has spent most of her high school career filling up her schedule with relays so we are excited to see what she can do in the open races.  She is a leader on her team and her school.  Because she is from the Academy, she knows who we are and what we are about.”


Abby Newby

Puyallup, Wash./Emerald Ridge HS/Hurdles-Multi’s

PR’s: 16.22 100H/47.04 300H/5’1 HJ/101’5 Jav

  • Awared Coaches Award and Most Inspirational while at Emerald Ridge
  • Team Captain of both Track and Gymnastics teams senior year
  • Was member of 2013 WIAA State Champion Gymnastics team

Coach Syverson on Abby: I’m really excited about Abby.  I’m very familiar with the program she is coming from in WA as I coached not too far away.  She has experience competing in a number of different events and will adapt to the collegiate heptathlon well.  She is a strong student and is very outgoing.


Sarah Lavoie

Wallingford, Ct./Lyman Hall HS/Throws

PR’s: 30’ SP/102’ Discus/84’ Jav

  • 3-sport athlete (Volleyball, Softball, and Track)
  • 4.0 GPA and honor roll
  • Conference All-Academic team in the sports of Volleyball, Basketball, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track

Coach Syverson on Sarah:  “Sarah’s PR’s are not as far as some of our other incoming throwers, but she makes up for that in the other areas that are important to us.  Sarah was one that was planning on coming to Lipscomb from the start and wanted to be a part of our environment.  I really think she will improve rapidly in all three throws, and I’m excited to work with her.”


Jazmyne McGill

Plymouth, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong HS/Throws

PR’s:38’2 SP/108’2 Discus

  • Team Captain and MVP of her track & field team
  • 2012 Northwestern Suburban Conference All-League Team in VB

Coach Syverson on Jazmyne: Jazmyne’s best event is the shot but I think she has the potential to be one of our top all-around throwers.  She has elite thrower size as she stands 6’1 but even more telling is her athleticism.  She has a number of years of competitive volleyball experience under her belt and I look forward to her learning the hammer this fall and even getting a javelin in her hand.  She has a great personality and will be a good training partner and mentee for April Terry.


Bridget Perine

Franklin, Tenn./Centennial HS/Sprints

PR’s: 2:30.5 800m/59.67 400m/27.83 200m

  • 4-year letter winner in both Cross-Country and Track
  • MVP in both XC and Track her freshman and sophomore year

Coach Syverson on Bridget: “Bridget is a fantastic addition to our team.  She is very personable and always seems positive.  She has experience with the longer distances and tougher training than what most sprinters go through.  That will pay big dividends in training with Coach Evan’s 400m group.  She is a great student and has been involved in her school and community in a number of activities.  We are excited that she chose Lipscomb.”


Cassidy Proce

Holland, Mich./Zeeland West HS/Sprints

PR’s: 12.70 100m/26.49 200m/60.17 400m

  • 4-time qualifier for the MHSAA State Track  & Field Championships
  • School record holder in 100, 200, 4x100, 4x200, and 4x400
  • Team Captain and MVP honors for 2013
  • 4.0 GPA and 31 ACT

Coach Syverson on Cassidy: “Cassidy is great all around student-athlete.  She has great potential in all three sprints and will be a staple on our relay teams.  She is also the type of student we look for when we recruit and is a leader.  In addition to her studies and role on our team, she will be involved in the ROTC program as well.”


Sydney Sloan

Mason, Ohio/Mason HS/Pole Vault

PR’s: 10’4

  • Four year letter winner for Mason Track & Field
  • Helped lead her team to four consecutive conference and district championships
  • Team Captain both her junior and senior year
  • Honor Roll

Coach Syverson on Sydney: Sydney comes from a very successful Mason HS program.  She is another  one that will benefit greatly from being a part of a great young vault group.  She is an athletic vaulter with gymnastics experience.  She intends to major in Nursing like Annika which is a strong draw for our university.


Sarah Wagner

Greentown, Ind./Eastern HS/High Jump

PR’s: 5’4.25” (11:30 3200m/5:14 1600m/2:28 800m)

  • Three time IHSAA State Championship qualifier in the HJ (placed 12th in 2013)
  • Two time IHSAA State Championship qualifier in Cross-Country
  • Member of the 2013 IHSAA State Championship 4x800m relay team that broke the Indiana state record and set #1 US ranked time in event this year.
  • 4.0 GPA and Valedictorian of her class

Coach Syverson on Sarah:  Sarah has spent her HS career splitting her time between high jumping and distance running.  She is an accomplished distance runner but will focus her career at Lipscomb on the HJ. I’m excited to see Sarah’s progression when she is able to train specifically for the HJ, working on strength, speed, and explosion.  She is one of the nicest gals and she is a perfect fit on our team.


In addition to the above track & field signees, the Lady Bisons also add the following Cross-Country and Distance student-athletes who were highlighted in the Cross-Country signee release last week.

Barbara Lee Ball         Nashville, Tenn. (Lipscomb Academy)

PR’s: 2:16 800m, 5:00 full mile…4:58 1600m equiv., 11:00 3200m, 18:04 5000m

Katie Bianchini           Fall City, Wash. (Glacier Peak HS)

PR’s: 2:19 800m, 4:39 1500m, 4:55 1600m, 10:31 3200m, 17:36 5000m

Brooke Gordon          Arden, N.C. (TC Robinson HS)

PR’s: 2:21 800m, 5:07 1600m, 10:57 3200m, 18:02 5000m

Hannah Feiten           Knoxville, Tenn. (Hardin Valley HS)

PR’s: 2:20 800m, 5:00 1600m, 10:49 3200m, 17:51 5000m

Kelsey Ibarra              York, Pa. (Central York HS)

PR’s: 5:13 1600m, 11:06 3200m, 18:36 5000m

Meredith Kilburn       Fort Mill, S.C. (Fort Mill HS/Wake Forest Univ)

PR’s: 5:06 1600m, 10:07 3000m, 10:58 3200m, 17:48 5000m

Sally Larson                Snohomish, Wash. (Cedar Park Christian)

PR’s: 2:16 800m, 4:37 1500m, 4:58 1600m, 10:32 3200m, 18:09 5000m

Taylor Romine           Lake Forest, Calif. (El Toro HS)

PR’s: 5:18 1600m, 11:05 3200m, 18:09 5000m

Lana Sydenstricker    Bartlett, Ohio (Warren HS)

PR’s: 6:26 1600m, 13:35 3200m, 22:09 5000m

Kendra Weitz             Spokane, Wash. (Shadle Park HS)

PR’s: 2:22 800m, 4:51 1600m, 10:20 3200m, 17:38 5000m