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Successful Emory Invite led by wins from Newman, Bucknam, Sperry
Monday, January 25, 2016
By Logan Butts
Successful Emory Invite led by wins from Newman, Bucknam, Sperry

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Lipscomb track and field squad completed another fruitful trip down to Birmingham, Alabama for the Emory Crossplex Invitational on Sunday. It was the third consecutive year the Bisons have participated in the meet, and each time the team has come home with top-notch results.

"It was a great second meet of the season for the men and women down in Birmingham,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “We have always competed very well at this meet, and over the past few years have put up a lot of personal records, and this year was no different.  There were some great performances.”

The meet was highlighted by three individual wins for the Purple and Gold.

Junior Wayne Newman came through again for the Bisons, winning the 60m hurdle final with a time of 8.07 seconds.

“Wayne once again shined, winning the hurdles race in 8.07,” assistant coach Marcus Evans said. “I am excited to take all three of these guys to a special meet in North Carolina next week. They have earned the chance to compete at an elite meet at the JDL Fast Track in Winston- Salem."

Newman finished second in the preliminaries with a mark of 8.17 seconds before shaving ten seconds off of his time to win in the finals.

Senior Kate Bucknam also earned a win, taking home first place in the 3000m with a final time of 10:06.00.

"Kate Bucknam had a great season debut,” Taylor said. “Because she is a transfer, the meet directors put her in without a time, which meant she was in a slow heat. Despite that she just hammered out on her own and posted the fastest collegiate time of the day for all heats of the 3000m.”

Katie Sperry notched the Bisons third win of the day. The freshman placed first in the 5000m thanks to an 18:11.93 mark, besting her own best time by 24 seconds.

"Sperry ran super well,” assistant coach Benton Reed said. “She was determined and had to take the lead early on. Her aggressiveness paved the way to a great performance. She deserves a lot of credit.

"I'm proud of the team today. We had to wake up early to compete and some didn't get entered in the best heats. Yet everyone brought a positive attitude. They came prepared and they performed great overall.”

Several Bison distance runners earned career-best marks on the day including: sophomore Avery Franklin (10:29.01 in the 3000m), senior Hannah Munyan (10:30.17 in the 3000m), and sophomore Mitch Zabka (8:56.12 in the 3000m).
"Like last week there were a lot of hard-earned personal records,” Reed said. “Kate Bucknam ran in an early section and pushed it from the start. By the end, 2nd place was nearly 50 seconds back.

“Avery Franklin and Hannah Munyan again ran excellent, finishing 1st and 3rd in their heat of the 3k while running personal records. They are on a tear, and we are excited at where they are this early in the season. Mitch Zabka ran the fastest 3k of the day for the men. He stepped up today and deserves the personal record.”

In the men’s 800m, the trio of freshman Ryan Speer (1:55.36), freshman Nathan Morgan (1:57.23), and freshman Andrew Ayers (1:56.23) finished second, fourth, and fifth. Speer set the school individual freshman record for the event.

Bri Holland also set a personal record on the women’s side of the event with a time of 2:25.49 and an eighth-place finish.

"The mid distance group ran awesome,” Reed said. “Nathan Morgan and Ryan Speer won their heats in dominate fashion. Andrew Ayers also put in a solid race. Sam Woodford ran tough in the distance medley relay. This group is hungry to race. They have set the bar high and are driven right now. It's fun to watch."

In the field events, senior Kevin Floyd and freshman Stephen Gibson both sent personal records.

Floyd won the pole vault with a mark of 4.55m, his personal-best indoor mark. Gibson finished third in the shot put thanks to a personal record 13.40m throw.

Despite a taxing set of conditions, the team still pulled through at Emory.

"It's been a crazy weekend for the team too,” Taylor said. “We had the snowstorms on Friday through Saturday that shut down everything in Nashville. Then the meet schedule was changed because of the number of entries, which meant the team had to leave at 5am this morning, much earlier than they expected, and yet they went down there and stepped up.”

Next up for the Bisons is a third meet at Vanderbilt for the season, the Vanderbilt Invite, as well as the Camel City Invite in North Carolina, both on Friday.

"This has been a solid start to the season,” Reed said. “Lots of athletes have season personal records or are very close. It's going to be a fun season with these athletes."