NASHVILLE – The Lipscomb track and field squad continued into the outdoor season as the Bisons split between the Raleigh Relays and the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invite over the weekend.
Several of the distance runners travelled to North Carolina while the rest of the athletes competed in Nashville.
"Vanderbilt was a very solid meet,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “For a lot of our athletes it was their first outdoor meet of the season, which means it has been four weeks for some, longer for others. So a lot of our kids were shaking the rust off.”
In her first meet back from a series of injuries, junior Kendra Weitz won her heat in the 1500m at the Black and Gold Invite, and finished 22nd overall with a time of 4:45.76.
"This was especially true for a few of our distance women that are coming back from significant injuries,” Taylor said. “Kendra Weitz has had a series of significant injuries since her sophomore year of high school. Friday night she finally made her return to the track and ran a terrific 1500m, winning her heat in a dominating performance and posting a very solid time. That really excited everyone.”
Likewise, Hannah Feiten has had a long road back. It was really cool to see her out there in the 5000m racing, and racing well.
In the 5000m, Freshman Avery Franklin (17:47.85) and senior Hannah Munyan (17:57.34) came in 11th and 12th, while Feiten came in 17th (18:20.90).
"Avery Franklin has been making such great progress and took another step forward and Hannah Munyan ran another solid 5000m as well,” Taylor said.
"I thought the distance girls all put it all out there Friday and Saturday. It was fun seeing a lot of our young runners getting a chance to shine and improve. We saw some really encouraging things. There is a lot of talent and potential, and I think a bunch of our girls got a taste of what can be.”
Seniors Gemikal Prude and April Terry got their first action of the season. Prude finished second in the high jump with a 2.05m leap, Terry placed ninth in the hammer throw with a toss of 46.39m.
"It was also really nice to see Gemikal and April compete for the first time this year,” Taylor said. “Those two are foundational athletes for our track and field program. They've both given so much, and are competing in their final season. We get to enjoy having them around and competing with all their hearts one more time. I know everyone appreciates them in far more ways than what they do athletically.”
Junior Wayne Newman won the 110m hurdle with a time of 14.18s before finishing sixth in the 400m.
Wayne Newman's day started with promising results in the 110 Hurdles, and he is slowly working toward his best time,” said assistant coach Marcus Evans. “He had a rough go at it on the 400 Hurdles, but he is very close to a breakthrough in both races.”
In the 800m, senior Max McBride placed seventh with a time of 1:15.12, followed by fellow senior Andrew Bosket finishing 16th with a mark of 1:55.91.
“Max McBride was a big highlight out of the 800m,” Evans said. “We are all so proud to see him run after two surgeries over the past few years. He competed well in his heat and has a solid two weeks together. We hope he continues his success and the breeds more out of our distance groups.”
Sophomore Mitch Zabka ran an outdoor personal best time of 8:43.56 in the 3000m to finish 12th.
“Mitch Zabka ran a great PR of 8:43,” assistant coach Tim Muller said. “He has been working hard all season, so it is great to see him connecting it to racing.”
Freshmen Robert Rupp (15:00.64) and Brent Leber (15:08.65) finished sixth and 10th, respectively, in the 5000m.
“Robert Rupp ran a very smart 5k,”Muller said. “Even though he is young, he displayed patience and let the lead pack pull him to a great time. Brent Leber also held onto the leaders and ran a great race. Both freshman have such a high ceiling this year.”
At the Raleigh Relays, senior Madi Talbert turned in a seventh place performance in the 5000m with a time of 16:26.22.
“Madi ran one of her best 5ks,” said assistant coach Benton Reed. “She made excellent decisions, and it paid off. Her last 1000’s she passed a lot of girls. It was a solid first 5k of the young outdoor season.”
In the same race, freshman Brooke Kingma placed 21st (16:54.75), followed by juniors Barabara Lee Ball in 29th (17:08.26) and Sally Larson in 33rd (17:17.69).
On the men’s side, sophomore Jacob Poyner finished 35th in the 1500 with a mark of 3:55.24.
“Jake was in a tough position,” Reed said. “He didn't get his best start, but it was a slow start to the race. He made up for it and had a great finish.”
As the season moves forward into the middle of the outdoor campaign, Taylor believes these meets were a good jumping off point for the Bisons.
"While this meet is early in the outdoor season, and a rust-breaker for many, the season goes quick,” Taylor said. “So it is important for everyone to learn, grow and move forward, with plans for the next opportunity to compete."