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Six event wins showcase LU A-Sun Champions
Saturday, May 11, 2013
By Ryan Hilgemann
Six event wins showcase LU A-Sun Champions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Lipscomb track and field teams set new marks for most points and best finishes at an Atlantic Sun Conference Championship meet on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.

“This was the best A-Sun Championships in school history,” Bill Taylor, director of cross country and track and field, said. “We had a competitive fire that rose to a level I have not seen before on this team. In addition to all the all-conference performances we had all the PRs and points getters. It was really fun to be a part of and there is so much excitement about the future.”

The men’s squad placed third overall with 145 points. The Lady Bisons placed fourth overall with 98 points.

“The women scored the most points, had the second most All-Conference honors and posted the highest ever team finish,” Taylor said. “We had two individual champions and swept the 5,000-meter run.

“The men crushed the record books with 20 all-conference honors – six more than ever before, eight champions – twice as many as ever before and 145 points is 30 more than the previous record.”

Leading the way on the Saturday were five individual champions and one relay squad champion.

Tucker Peabody defended his 200-meter dash title in record-setting fashion. Peabody finished in 20.68 seconds which is a school record and A-Sun record and also moves Peabody to the eighth-best time in the NCAA East Region. Peabody finished well ahead of second place Sadio Diallo of Kennesaw State who finished in 21.07 seconds.

“Tucker dominated the 200,” Taylor said. “It was incredible to watch. Getting the A-Sun record was a bonus. He ran a big PR in the 100 which actually tied the previous meet record.”

Peabody claimed all-conference honors in the 100-meter dash. Peabody crossed the finish line in 10.36 seconds to finish behind Ifrish Alberg of ETSU.

The Lady Bisons swept the podium in the 5,000-meter run as Tessa Hoefle led the way with a time of 17:06.04. She was followed by the gold medal winner in the steeplechase, Madi Talbert. Kendra Lobley, last year’s champion in the event claimed bronze. Lobley also edged out teammate Minna Fields who crossed the finish line fourth.

“This race was fun,” Taylor said. “Taking first through fourth is very hard to do. Tessa ran with passion. Madi and Kendra ran so tough. Minna ran a race to set up the top-four sweep. She put in a terrific kick and was moving up to A-Sun honors.”

Also sweeping the podium was the Bisons 400-meter hurdle contingent. Andrew Wolf won the event in 53.08 seconds. Nelson Scott finished second and Ryan Whitley claimed the bronze.

“This sweep was awesome for the men,” Taylor said. “It really boosted the team spirit that much more. It was awesome seeing them come off the corner onto the home stretch out front.”

Wolf also claimed all-conference in the 110-meter hurdles. In the silver medal performance, Wolf clocked in at 14.58 seconds, just seven-hundredths of a second behind winner Bilal Abdullah of Kennesaw State.

“Andrew has stepped up big getting honors in both hurdle races and leading to the sweep in the 400-meter hurdles,” Taylor said. He is just a sophomore. He and our entire hurdler group are going to do some huge things in the future.”

Gemikal Prude won the men’s high jump with a leap of 2.11 meters. He ousted Andrew Dorsey of Kennesaw State who had a top-leap of 2.06 meters.

“Gemikal has quite the story,” Taylor said. “We were so happy for him to get the gold in the high jump. He has worked for that in every way and certainly deserved it.”

Houston Ward won the discus with a toss of 47.97 meters. Ward’s throw edged Kenneth Sugishita of USC Upstate who had a toss of 47.35 meters.

“It was great to see Houston get his first A-Sun title in the discus,” Taylor said. “He is one of the top throwers in the conference and has a number of second and third place finishes. To get that elusive gold was awesome.”

The men’s 4X400 relay squad defended their title edging out North Florida. The Bisons consisting of Kenny Smith, Ryan Whitley, Nelson Scott and Peabody finished in 3:14.76. The UNF contingent finished in 3:14.97 in one of the most exciting races of the day.

“This relay was unbelievable,” Taylor said. “For the second year in a row we came in ranked a distant third and won the relay in the final 200 meters of the race. Tucker showed he has matured into the complete sprinter putting up a 46.3 split to get the win. The team went crazy after that finish.”

Claiming the silver medal in the 5000-meter run, Jared Wingerter proved to Taylor that there is more to come.

“You cannot understate how big it was for Jared to get second place in the 5000-meter run as a freshman,” Taylor said. “That is so tough to do. He ran such a smart race and is going to be an elite distance runner.”

Finishing third, Katie Bunker claimed all-conference honors in the 1,500-meter run. Bunker timed in at 4:32.30 to finish behind a pair of Jacksonville runners led by Joane Pierre who clocked in at 4:28.20.

John Clevenger claimed the bronze in the javelin throw. The all-conference performer had a throw of 53.01 meters for the third place finish.

“Most of the team ends their season here, it was a terrific ending and a big boost to the future,” Taylor said. “Both teams will get better and better. We have great recruits coming in and big goals.

“While a few of our athletes move on to the preliminary round of the NCAA I National Championships, the rest will be thinking about how to take this to the next level next year. I am very proud of this team.”

Lipscomb track and field athletes will await the selection of the East Region Preliminary Round. The top-48 competitors declared in the event are offered an Invite. This year’s preliminary round is held in Greensboro, N.C., beginning May 23.