NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb women’s cross country and track and field team signed eight women during the early signing period this week.
The women hail from eight different states across the country, but will bring the same depth and skill needed to further the success of the program.
Bill Taylor, director of cross country/track and field, comments:
“This was the first year since I’ve been a Division I coach that we’ve had the early signing period. It really changed recruiting in a lot of ways and we are still trying to learn how to work with it the best in the future.
“We are very happy with our early signing class. I think this was a very tough situation for everyone, especially the distance kids. To have the pressure of taking up to five visits, competing in their senior cross country season, taking care of academics, then making a decision by November on their next four years right in the heart of their state championships and post-season…it’s a lot to deal with. I’m really pleased that these girls worked through all that and decided that Lipscomb was the best choice for them.
“We signed eight great women in the early signing period. I expect we will sign two or three more in the April late signing period as well. It will be another strong class for our program as we continue to grow into national prominence.
“The big thing is finding girls who fit with our incredible culture. Lipscomb offers the strongest Christian environment in the nation at the NCAA Division I level. We have the best team environment in the nation, where the girls are truly a family that takes care of each other, motivates each other, and helps each other grow. It’s very genuine here.
“Academically we have incredible programs, nationally ranked academic programs, combined with some of the smallest class sizes in the nation for NCAA Division I. So we are looking for girls who are ready for the academic challenge and want to excel. Our professors know the students in their classes and are fully in to help them learn. It’s just a very different, much more personal environment than other NCAA Division I schools.
“It’s also more about the whole person here than about anywhere, both within Lipscomb University and especially in our cross country and track program. We have goals of being the best in the nation and the opportunity to do that, but our athletes are not just athletic assets. We genuinely value each of our student athletes and strive with them to achieve growth and success in every aspect of their lives. I think this is what stands out to the girls who have chosen us. They know we care in every way, and they expect to be national champions too. They want to be excellent in all things and be supported in all ways.”
2015 Early Signing Class:
Bridgette Doucet - Canyon Del Oro HS - Tucson, Ariz.
5:01 1600m, 10:40 3200m, 16:55 5k
2014 Arizona state D2 Cross Country Champion, won 6 of 8 XC meets this year (2nd and 3rd in other two), second in state D2 1600m and 3200m.
Taylor on Doucet: “Bridgette is a great person and a terrific fit at Lipscomb. She is academically excellent, has a big heart for people, and wants to help a team succeed. She has run very fast, yet she missed her junior year as she recovered from eating disorder issues, so she has a lot of room to improve. Bridgette is very brave and open about her struggles, and we are committed to helping her succeed in dealing with those challenges. “
Brooke Kingma - Jackson HS - Mill Creek, Wash.
2:19 800m, 4:47 1500m, 5:00 1600m, 10:50 3200m, 17:53 5k
2014 and 2013 Wesco XC Champion, 7th in state 4A XC Championships, 8th in 4A state 3200m, South Whidbey and Sandelie Invite Champion.
Taylor on Kingma: “Brooke came on an unofficial visit last spring and an official this fall. We knew right away she would be an incredible fit at Lipscomb. I was really hoping she would sign early. Brooke is super nice, has a huge desire to improve and succeed and will really benefit from training with our top girls. She comes from a very athletic family and understands what it takes to get to the top.”
Hannah Owens - Dodgeville Mineral Point HS - Mineral Point, Wis.
5:06 1600m, 10:46 3200m, 14:37 4k, 18:28 5k
3x SW Wisconsin Conference XC Champion, 3rd in Wisconsin State Championships 3200m
Taylor on Owens: “Hannah also came on an unofficial visit and an official visit. However both of hers were this fall. I think she wanted to make sure we were worth the official, and I was so happy when she decided we were, and more happy when she decided to commit to Lipscomb. Hannah is an amazing fit here and she is going to run very fast. I am excited to see how much she improves in her career at Lipscomb.”
Kelli Nesky - Unity Christian HS - Hudsonville, Mich.
5:05 1600m, 11:03 3200m, 18:09 5k
6th Michigan state LP XC Championships, Region Champion in XC, 1600m and 3200m, 2nd in Michigan state LP-2 3200m Championships.
Taylor on Nesky: “Kelli is another amazing fit. She has a few years of cross country experience, but just ran her first track season ever last year. Kelli has the character and personality that we’ve built our program on. She has run very well, yet has so much room to grow still. It will be fun helping her find out how good she can be.”
Grace Oetting - Charleston HS - Charleston, Ill.
11:28 3200m, 17:46 3-mile
10th Illinois state XC Championships, 12th Illinois state championships 3200m
Taylor on Oetting: “It was very obvious when we first talked to Grace that she matched our culture. Grace has only been running for two years, and her times this cross country season have been two to three minutes faster in the same races over last year. So she is quickly figuring this sport out and has unlimited potential to improve. The funny thing is that because her times were so much slower last year, we really didn’t know about her. She pretty much pursued us first, having her coaches make contact and sending an e-mail. I’m so glad she did that and I’m excited for her to be a part of our team.”
Clare Losito - Williamsville South HS - Williamsville, N.Y.
4:51 1500m, 10:27 3000m, 19:01 5k, 7:11 2000m steeplechase
14th at New Balance Outdoor Nationals 2000m steeplechase.
Taylor on Losito: “Clare has amazing character and is a terrific fit. I’m excited to help her improve dramatically, and am really excited that she has steeplechase experience and wants to work on that event. We’ve had so much success with the steeplechase, and it takes a very specific type of person to do it. I am excited to see her improve in every event, and especially to get her working with our steeplechasers.”
Hannah Holbert - Blue Valley NW HS - Overland Park, Kan.
5:19 1600m, 11:14 3200m, 14:43 4k, 18:39 5k
8th at Kansas state Xc Championships, 9th at Kansas State Championships 3200m.
Taylor on Holbert: “Hannah is another great fit for Lipscomb. I think she is going to benefit so much from our team environment and the way we improve distance runners. She has a ton of potential. We are excited to help her unlock it all.”
Brianne Holland - Royal HS - Simi Valley, Calif.
5:14 1600m, 10:47 3000m, 11:16 3200m, 17:47 3-mile, 18:31 5k
6th CIF Southern Prelims.
Taylor on Holland: “The thing that struck me the most about Brianne on her visit was how positive and happy she is. That is a terrific trait. Brianne is a hard worker and is clear about her goals. I know she will come in and give it everything she has. We are excited to help her continue to improve.”