DEBARY, Fla. – The Lipscomb cross country teams set out to add two more Atlantic Sun Cross Country Championships to the trophy case, and they did just that Saturday morning in DeBary, Florida.
"We couldn't be more proud of the men's and the women's teams today,” said Bill Taylor, director of cross country. “They both stepped up huge and ran amazing.”
The women’s team became the third program in conference history to secure four-straight championships. The Lady Bisons also recorded the lowest point total in A-Sun history with 21 points.
"The women ran awesome,” Taylor said. “Going first, second, and third was cool. Having a 19 second 1-5 gap and a 36 second 1-7 gap was exactly what we have been working on. It's a big step forward.”
The women’s team beat out North Florida who finished second with 34 points and had five runners finish in the top 10.
"UNF was very good today,” Taylor said. “It looked like they had their best race of the year and they put up a great fight. I guess they were quite aggressive with our girls during the race too.
“It didn't phase us though. In the past it would have, but this team is so mature and they used it to their advantage.”
Junior Madi Talbert was the standout runner for the Purple and Gold finishing first overall with a time of 17:35.95 locking in Runner of the Year and becoming the first individual champion from Lipscomb.
"I'm so happy for Madi winning the meet,” Taylor said. “She has had a stellar season and ran so well today. We finally have an individual cross country champion.”
Paige Stoner and Dani Walker crossed the line shortly after with Stoner logging a time of 17:40.05 and Walker closing in at 17:41.68.
The trio’s performances earned them all spots on the A-Sun All-Conference First Team.
Sally Larson finished sixth with her time of 17:46.42 and Barbara Lee Ball captured ninth with 17:54.15. Freshman Kayla Montgomery picked up 13th with a time of 18:11.55.
Larson was also named to the All-Conference First Team while Minna Fields, Ball and Montgomery were named to the Second Team.
Stoner and Montgomery each found spots on the A-Sun All-Freshmen Team with Stoner claiming Freshman of the Year.
Despite a rocky season, the men’s team fought hard to secure its second-straight A-Sun Cross Country Championship finishing above Northern Kentucky who finished with 48 points and North Florida who finished with 66 points.
"The men had a heck of a fight,” Taylor said. “UNF and Northern Kentucky raced hard today. It felt like they threw everything they had at our guys, and our men responded.
"It was definitely the best race of the season for the men. They stepped up big and ran for each other. They gave all they had. I couldn't ask for more from them.”
Juan Gonzalez, Daniel Gardner, and Christian Freeman kicked their performances into high gear finishing third, fourth, and fifth respectively.
"Juan ran great up front,” Taylor said. “He really challenged himself today. Daniel Gardner had his best race of the season. He took some risks and ran very smart.
“Christian was amazing in his first 8-K of the season. It looked like he has been racing all season.”
Gonzalez crossed the line in 25:05.53, Gardner came in at 25:15.80, and Freeman closed out the race in 25:15.85. The three runners were named to the A-Sun All-Conference First Team for their performances.
Jared Wingerter came in ninth place with his time of 25:38.74 while Jared Daedler finished 17th with a final time of 26:04.06. Wingerter was named to the All-Conference Second Team.
"The two Jareds were the biggest difference though,” Taylor said. “Jared Wingerter always steps up for the team in the big race. He's a gamer and he definitely did that today.
“Jared Daedler had the race of his life. He basically won this for the guys. He fought so hard and I think he learned that he can be so good."
The cross country squads move on to the NCAA I South Regional Championships Friday Nov. 14 in Tallahassee, Florida.