NASHVILLE – For the second weekend in a row the Lipscomb track and field squad turned in two top notch performances as the team was split between two meets.
This weekend, several of the distance runners competed at the Virginia Challenge, while the rest of the distance runners plus the field athletes and the sprinters took on the Georgia Tech Invitational.
"It's very good to see most of the team picking up their performances at exactly the right time,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field said. “We (the coaches) were just talking during the week about how unusual it is that we've had no school records broken yet this outdoor season, and then this weekend three athletes break two of our school records.
“It is also very encouraging to see our young distance women making huge strides and getting big PR's here in the last part of the season. It's big for confidence and very exciting for the future of the program.”
At the Virginia Challenge, two outdoor school records were set by three Lady Bisons. In the 5000m, senior Madi Talbert finished with a record-breaking time of 16:18.14 to finish eighth out of 81 runners.
"Madi is making the most of her senior season,” Taylor said. “Breaking her own school record is awesome. She is very motivated, and is excited for the end of the season and for the Olympic Trials in the 3000m Steeplechase.”
Juniors Barbarba Lee Ball and Sally Larson both broke the school outdoor record in the 10,000m. Ball finished sixth with a time of 34:40.32, while Larson took ninth with a mark of 34:45.60.
"Barbara Lee and Sally really set the tone for the group in Virginia,” Taylor said. “Both ran times under our school record. Barbara Lee edged out Sally, who had the previous school record. The times they both ran have always qualified for the NCAA Division I National Championship Preliminary Round. We will have to wait and see what the descending order lists look like at the end of the season, however they are in very good position.”
The men’s 5000m runners also competed well at the Virginia Challenge, with sophomore Jake Poyner (14:42.58) and seniors Jared Wingerter (14:46.54) and Daniel Gardner (14:47.25) coming in 31st, 34th, and 35th, respectively.
“The guys 5K went well,” Lipscomb assistant coach Benton Reed said. “Jake and Daniel made good moves and put themselves in great position early. Jared was more conservative, but moved up throughout the race. The guys made the effort to run quick, and so we were excited that Daniel PR’d and Jake and Jared were very close to their personal best.”
At the Georgia Tech Invite, the women’s 5000m provided some highlights as sophomore Avery Franklin (17:43.97), freshman Grace Oetting (17:48.21), and freshman Madison Colley (17:49.34) placed 15th, 18th, and 20th.
In the 1500m, freshman Sam Woodford finished 10th with a time of 4:34.40.
"I am super proud of Madison Colley, Avery, Grace and Sam,” Taylor said. “The three freshmen are reaching new heights of performance and setting big PR's. Avery is really showing leadership and a commitment to become great.
“I love seeing athletes get it. That is the best part of coaching. We have more talent on our roster too that is working on getting fast. We have other freshmen and upperclassmen that have great ability. I am excited to see how good Madison, Avery, Grace and Sam can get, and I know their improvement is inspiration and motivation for others on our team that can be incredible too.”
Junior Wayne Newman competed in two events, taking sixth in the 110m hurdle (14.33) and 12th in the 400m hurdle (53.28).
“Wayne improved his mark by .01 thus week and this will help solidify him in the 110m field for the NCAA Prelims,” Lipscomb assistant coach Marcus Evans said. “He is aiming to compete in both hurdle races and still has two chances to make it happen.”
Senior Gemikal Prude grabbed a big win in the high jump, posting a mark of 2.11m for the victory.
“Gemikal is jumping better every week,” Evans said. “He moved up on the list with a jump of 2.11m. He is very motivated to jump higher than he ever has and his practices have indicated that he is ready to break the school record and qualify for NCAA finals for the third time.”
Two freshmen stepped up in the men’s 5000m, as Brent Leber (15:01.73) and Psalm Ocampo (15:16.74) finished 11th and 19th.
“Once again, our freshman spearheaded our efforts in the 5000m,” Lipscomb assistant coach Tim Muller said. “Brent Leber continues his stellar first season with a PR. Psalm Ocampo is starting to find his high school speed as he ran a solid race as well.”
In the men’s 800m, freshman Ryan Speer came in ninth with a mark of 1:53.28. He was followed by junior Daniel Lenart in 23rd (1:55.39).
Our 800 guys displayed a ton of fight in their heats,” Muller said. “I was proud of their ability to push hard the second 400 and still find strong kicks. Ryan Speer is a great example; he always finds a way to dig deep. His time of 1:53 this meet is just another step in his young career. I was also really proud of Sam Remington for winning his heat with a PR of 1:56. He really kicked hard and found some great speed.”
After a full schedule of meets throughout April the Bisons will take the next weekend off before heading into the final meet of the regular season: the Tennessee Challenge.
"It will be good for the team to get a weekend off and focus on finals this weekend,” Taylor said. “Then, one more meet and they are into the postseason. Track season is long, but it goes by fast. I love that we are finishing very strong."