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Track and field finishes strong at A-Sun Championships
Sunday, March 1, 2015
By Logan Butts
Track and field finishes strong at A-Sun Championships

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Day two of the Atlantic Sun Indoor Championships was a successful one for the Lipscomb track and field squad.

Sunday’s action brought about some first place finishes for the Bisons and an improvement on the performance from Saturday.

“We had a much stronger day two,” Lipscomb head coach Bill Taylor said. “We saw improvement in every way today and had some very good performances.”

Wayne Newman took home first place in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.95 seconds, setting the Lipscomb and A-Sun record in the process.

"Newman had a terrific 60m hurdles,” Taylor said. “He defended his A-Sun title from last year, and set the Atlantic Sun Conference record and our school record in the process. That was definitely a highlight. He came back, literally 10 minutes later, to finish fourth in the 400m too.”

Newman’s fourth place time in the 400m was 50.70, just .18 seconds faster than teammate Kenny Smith who took sixth.

Lipscomb dominated the women’s 5000m, with four Bisons finishing in the top five. Madi Talbert won the event with a blistering time of 16:48.27. Sally Larson followed in second at 16:51.18. Barbara Lee Ball and Paige Stoner placed fourth and fifth at 17:03.69 and 17:04.62 respectively.

"The women's 5000m was a big race for us,” Taylor said. “Finishing one-two, and having both Talbert and Larson break the A-Sun championship record was awesome. Ball and Stoner were right behind in fourth and fifth. 

“Though we struggled a bit yesterday in the 3000m, I think we made a nice statement today taking four of the top five places. We learned from yesterday. It was fun to watch the girls work together.”

Christian Freeman and Juan Gonzalez followed a triumphant first day with more successful results. Freeman took second in the 5000m with a time of 14:36.21, and Gonzalez finished on his heels at 14:37.95 in third place.

"Freeman and Gonzalez were again impressive in the 5000m,” Taylor said. “Freeman ran a brilliant race, taking the lead with 800m to go to try and get the win.  JJ Webber (the winner from Northern Kentucky) is a champion with a great kick. I was very proud of Freeman for the way he ran the whole race, and especially seeing him take a very intelligent chance.

"Gonzalez also picked up a third place and all-conference finish in the mile early today. He pulled a tough triple this weekend.”

Gonzalez’s 4:14.74 time also placed him third in the mile run.

Kacey Kempur led a group of Bisons in the women’s mile run with a fourth place finish and a time of 5:06.99.

"Kemper led the way in the women's mile,” Taylor said. “I was happy with all our girls in the mile. They really fought hard, and each took their chances.”

Freshman Danny Marsh turned heads in the men’s 800m with a surprise second place finish thanks to a mark 1:56.04.

"Marsh was a bit of a surprise,” Taylor said. “He stepped up big in the 800m for second place and all-conference honors. It was a crazy race, with Marsh leading the first half, fading back, then rebounding and charging through the field in the last 150m.”

Jalen Thompson grabbed a pair of fourth places in the men’s triple jump and 60m dash.

"Thompson was another athlete we were very happy with,” Taylor said. “He earned two fourth place finishes for us. He is going to get stronger and stronger, and can be in the mix in the sprints and jumps.”

April Terry had another solid day, earning fourth in the women’s weight throw with a toss of 15.85m.

In the 4x400m relay Brian Gentry, Nelson Scott, Wayne Newman and Kenny Smith worked together to finish third overall with a time of 3:22.75.

"The men wrapped up the meet with a nice third place finish in the 4x400m Relay, to earn All-Conference honors,” Taylor said.

A number of hurdles hit the team at once right before the championships began, throwing them off of their typical routine.  

"We've had a rough two weeks, with some of the worst winter weather Nashville has seen in something like 30 years,” Taylor said. “We had a week-and-a-half where we couldn't get outside to train because of the ice. That has never happened before. It really disrupted our training.

"We don't train for indoor track specifically to begin with. All our training goals are focused on the outdoor season. That makes it pretty rough when something disrupts things. Add to that a stomach virus, which has hit five of our athletes down here. We are praying the sickness ends, but our number five 5000m girl got sick during the race, and is feeling absolutely horrible right now. I haven't had any athlete get sick at a championship since I've been at Lipscomb. Five is pretty crazy. It hurt us pretty bad in some areas.”

Despite the problems, Taylor is proud of how the Bisons performed over the weekend.

"There are no excuses though, and as I look at the weekend I see a lot of good, a lot to work on and a lot of potential for the future. If we can handle what we've dealt with the past few weeks and down here this weekend, and still put up some great results, we are only going to be so much stronger as the outdoor season progresses.”

Lipscomb’s outdoor season begins later this month with the Lipscomb vs. Belmont Duel on March 13.

"I'm proud of the team,” Taylor said. “I’m looking forward to a weekend off, and also looking forward to the outdoor season."

To check out photos from today’s action, you can browse the A-Sun’s photo gallery on Facebook. You can view the results from both days here