NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb track and field will be splitting their squad into two groups for the second weekend in a row as the Bison athletes participate in the Big Blue Classic and the Stanford Invitational.
Lipscomb will want to recapture the magic of last weekend’s performances at the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invite and the Raleigh Relays that saw several school records broken and first place finishes.
Madi Talbert will be running in the Stanford Invite, one of the top distance meets in the country.
"Stanford is a great opportunity for Madi to compete against strong competition and to put up a fast early season time in the steeplechase,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said.
“After two excellent races in the NCAA Division I National Championship preliminary rounds, against incredible competition, and two trips to the NCAA Division I National Championship finals, she is experienced and confident. She actually races better in these bigger races, than she does in small races without much competition.”
Coming off the heels of a recent Atlantic Sun Track Athlete of the Week performance, Talbert is looking to improve her already-impressive steeplechase time in preparation for the outdoor postseason. She currently ranks 12th in the nation in the event and 9th in the East Region.
"She is really excited to get out there, compete and be in a race that pushes and helps her to go fast,” Taylor said. “Our first goal is to get a sub-10:20 time. That would pretty much guarantee her a trip to the preliminary rounds again. The second goal would be a new personal, which would be 10:08 time. The third goal would be a bonus, and that would be sub 10-minutes. She is capable of all of those. We will be happy with any of them."
The rest of the Bison runners and field athletes are set to compete at the Big Blue Classic in Charleston, Illinois.
"It's a solid meet overall,” Taylor said. “I think it's very strong in some of the sprints, hurdles and throws. It's not as strong in the distance races. Weather could be a factor, especially traveling north after a harsh winter up there.”
Recent Atlantic Sun Athlete of the Week winners Karly Hibbard, Gemikal Prude and Wayne Newman plan to build upon their recent performances.
"It's a good meet for where we are in the season,” Taylor said. “It looks like Wayne will be pushed in both hurdle races. He needs that. Gemikal will look to build on his success from last week. Karly will go against great competition in the javelin. All of our athletes will have great opportunities this weekend.”
In women’s distance the Purple and Gold are running seven athletes in the 10k, the most Lipscomb has ever raced in one 10k.
Coming off of an A-Sun Track Athlete of the Week Award, Sally Larson will be expected to put up a blazing time in the 10k.
"Although the competition isn't strong, it will be an opportunity to put up good times,” Taylor said. “Sally Larson won the 10,000m at the A-Sun Championships last year. She's run faster than her 10k personal record in some of her tempo runs.
“If she relaxes and rolls through those early laps, she will earn her personal record and will probably get the school record. A bonus would be going under 35 minutes. It's going to take something under 35 minutes to qualify for the NCAA Division I National Championship prelims.”
A pair of the runners will be participating in the 10k for the first time.
"Barbara Lee Ball and Kayla Montgomery will run their first ever 10k,” Taylor said. “Barbara is great at knocking off consistent laps, so it could be a really great event for her.
“Kayla deals with her Multiple Sclerosis, which numbs her legs as she gets late in a race. At first I was concerned about going 10k, but as we thought about it, the intensity is less in a 10k versus a 5k. She runs fast, long tempo runs without the problems she has in 5k races, so the 10k actually could be a very good race option for her.”
Most of the men’s distance runners will not be running, but will pick it back up next weekend.
As the team enters the last stretch of races before the A-Sun Championships, Taylor is excited to see the performances the Bisons will turn in.
"It's an exciting weekend really,” Taylor said. “I can't wait to see what our results look like and how our athletes take advantage of these opportunities. We've had an incredible season so far. We are turning the corner for the home stretch, and want to get stronger every week."
The Big Blue Classic began on Thursday, while the Stanford Invite starts on Friday. Both meets will conclude on Saturday.