NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Lipscomb track and field had a successful weekend, accruing several first place victories and breaking a number of school records at the Raleigh Relays and the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invite.
Most of the Bison distance runners hit the track in Raleigh, well-known for its distance races.
"We had a solid trip to the Raleigh Relays with some of the distance runners,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “Christian Freeman and Paige Stoner had very strong debuts in the 3000m steeplechase. Christian set a new school record in his race. Both showed that they are capable of going much faster, and we think they both can qualify for the NCAA Division I National Championship Prelims in this event.”
Fresh off of a week that saw her named Atlantic Sun Track Athlete of the Week, Madi Talbert continued to excel.
"Madi ran a nice personal record in the 5000m with a time of 16:33,” Taylor said. “It was a strong race for her. She really stepped it up and did some things she hasn't done before. It will serve her well in her future races.”
Gonzalez added to his successful steeplechase debut with a personal record (14:22) in the 5000m, a new school record.
“He gutted it out over the last few laps to claim his time,” Taylor said.
"All in all, we really felt that the athletes at Raleigh Relays looked flat. The effort was certainly there, but they just looked a bit off all day. We expect that to happen at times during a season, and to walk away with two school records, two personal records and two solid event debuts, is a very positive statement.”
Assistant coach Benton Reed also felt that despite grabbing several school and personal records, the team did not quite feel right at the meet.
"We came into the meet with big goals and we took a step in that direction,” Reed said. “Jared Wingerter was just off. He has had killer workouts and it just didn't translate to the race this time. He needs to adjust some things, but he is a competitor and will not let one race affect him.”
Both Gonzalez and Chrstian Freeman performed well in Raleigh, but Reed feels that even bigger things lie ahead for the pair.
"Both Juan and Christian showed a lot of promise and I'm really excited to attack these events again. They are smart racers and gained some valuable insight with these races. They have continued to develop all year and they are motivated to drop some bigger times in a few weeks. We are extremely excited with the results, but these guys aren't done yet."
A few miles from campus at the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invite, both track runners and field athletes earned first place finishes.
"Overall the field event group did a pretty good job this week improving on many of their early season outdoor marks, especially today given weather comparison between last night and today.” Assistant coach for jumps and throws Luke Syverson said.
In the field events, Karly Hibbard continued to build upon her successful early season form in the javelin.
“Karly continues to improve her Javelin mark and she did a great job competing today to earn the win and a new school record,” Syverson said. “I'm excited to see how she continues to progress as she learns to control and use some of her natural speed.”
Both Jalen Thompson and Gemikal Prude performed well in the jump events.
Gemikal did a good job today earning the win in the high jump,” Syverson said. “We are still working on getting back to his form from last year, and today was a step in the right direction. Junior Jalen Thompson had a great series in the triple jump Friday night in the cold and rain coming away with a third place finish and new personal record.
Freshman Grayson Webber set a personal record in both the hammer and discus events.
“That was a good birthday present for Grayson earning the fourth place finish in Discus,” Syverson said. “He still has a lot of work to go in both events, but I know that things will start clicking soon. When his brain and body start to connect the dots, he will be a contender in both this season in the A-Sun.”
On the track at vanderbilt, a handful of distance runners had some of the best races of the season.
"Sally Larson and Barbara Lee Ball had a great race today,” assistant distance Coach Kristin Cupido said. “The weather conditions and the quality of the field played out perfectly for both of them to get personal records with times of 9:36 and 9:41. Sally’s time was also a school record. Hannah and Avery also had solid performances and personal records in the 3000m.”
The Black and Gold Invite was the season debut for both Katie Sperry and Katie Bianchini who had previously been injured.
"We had some great first time showings this season for with Katie Bianchni winning her respective heat in the 1500m, while Katie Sperry debuted in a solid 2:27 for the 800m," Cupido said.
The sprinters also came away from the meet with a school record in tow.
"Our sprints group took a huge step forward towards lofty goals we have set for the end of the season,” assistant coach for sprints and hurdles Marcus Evans said. “In regards to the sprints group, I am excited because we are a few steps from making a lot of noise. We have to focus on the little things in practice and we will be as good as we want to be."
Wayne Newman broke his own school record in the 110m high hurdles, and his time qualified him for the NCAA Division I National Championship East Preliminary round.
“Wayne broke his school record in the 110 hurdles, and is working through strategy in the 400 hurdles,” Evans said. “Alex Berry also had a good opener in the open 400m.”
In a weekend that saw several records broken, Taylor is confident that his squad is only getting better on their way to the A-Sun Championships.
"We only have five race weekends left before the A-Sun Championships,” Taylor said. “I keep saying this we have to take advantage of every opportunity because the season is flying along. A lot of people did take advantage this weekend. We need to keep that going.”
With several Bisons stepping up and putting together season best performances in Raleigh or at Vanderbilt, Taylor is ready for even more athletes to do the same.
"I want to see someone new and unexpected take that next step in the next meet or two,” Taylor said. “We have some athletes that are consistently performing every meet. We want them to continue to get even better, and we want to see another person or two take a big step and get their name in there too.”
With the Big Blue Classic and Stanford Invite & San Francisco State Distance Carnival coming up next weekend, Taylor is optimistic heading forward.
"It's been an exciting season. I love seeing school records fall. I love seeing big PR's. We should see a lot more of both over the remaining meets."