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Lipscomb track finds success in Oregon

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March 25, 2008

Six members of the Lipscomb men's and women's track team made a pilgrimage to legendary Hayward Field to compete in the University of Oregon Preview meet Easter weekend.

All six ran great, with four establishing new all-time personal bests in Track City USA.

Saturdays racing at Oregon began with Caitlin Anderson, Shannon Shoemake and Jenny Randolph hitting the track in the 3000m. Caitlin posted a time of 10:45.97, an all-time personal record by more than 30 seconds. Shannon also posted an all-time PB of 10:58.02, while Jenny ran her best 3000m time since middle school with a time of 11:22.14.

Jordan Wilson took to the track next in the men's 3000m and posted his all-time personal best of 9:00.03 for the event. Ryan Chastain secured the fourth personal best on the day with a time of 4:04.03 for the 1500m, a five second improvement, and Clint Carter ran an even split 800m in a time of 2:00.11.

The team also took in the sights and history of Oregon, getting a tour of Nike World Headquarters, hiking at Multnomah Falls, driving down the Oregon Coast on the Pacific Ocean from Lincoln City to Coos Bay (hometown of Steve Prefontaine), and taking in the track history of Eugene, the University of Oregon and historic Hayward Field.

"It was an awesome trip for us," said head coach Bill Taylor. "These six got a very exciting and unique Oregon experience and we packed a lot into a few days. Everything we did was exciting and fun, but I really think the experience of racing at Hayward Field and being in Track City USA was eye-opening for our athletes. It opens up a whole new level of understanding for this sport and expectation for what we are building at Lipscomb."

"This Oregon trip, along with competitions like Duke and other big meets, are a statement on the direction Lipscomb Cross Country and Track & Field is headed. We are committed to developing our athletes to that upper level. Dr. Potts (Athletic Director) understands what it takes to move this program forward and is excited about our progress and future. It's a blessing to have that kind of support and vision."

"I look forward to watching us become an elite national distance program, to placing Lipscomb Cross Country and Track on the national map and to taking Lipscomb athletes to top Cross Country and Track competitions across the US in the future as we get better and better."

While some of the team got the Oregon experience, the rest of the team were either participating in Spring Break mission trips or were competing at the Austin Peay Spring Fling Track meet.

Mission trips are a part of the culture at Lipscomb University and many students venture out across the globe to help those in need. The Lipscomb track team, despite being in the middle of the track season, was well represented with athletes on mission trips in Scotland, Baja Mexico, the Caribbean, the United States and right here in Tennessee. These athletes serve by working with children, building houses and serving people.

At the same time they are committed to the track program and get up very early each morning to get track workouts in. Often they are forced to improvise, using the terrain available since a track is a rarity at most missions locations.

"Sending our athletes out on mission's trips fits the mission of Lipscomb University," said Taylor. "I am proud of our runners desire to impact the world and trust them to continue their training while serving others. It's difficult for them, but we have special student-athletes here."

The Austin Peay contingent, some of which had just returned the night before from mission's trips, found success as well.

Cree Nix, a member of the Lipscomb Lady Bison's basketball team, made her track debut by posting a time of 12.78 in the 100m, and 26.98 in the 200m. Hannah Joiner posted a 200m time of 28.91 and put the shot 10.05m.

Chad Roberts, a 400m/800m runner, was entered in the 100m and 200m for speed development, but posted solid marks of 11.55 for the 100m and 23.10 in winning his heat of the 200m. Tylar Peoples went 11.59 in the 100m and 23.39 for 200m, while Michael Knox ran 11.86 and 24.02 for those events.

Strong winds made the distance races a challenge, though Jonathan Williams was able to finish second in the men's 2000m steeplechase with his personal best time for that event of 6:33.70, while teammate Andrew Shankles posted a time of 6:43.04 for fourth in his first ever steeplechase competition. Jeff Hoover finished sixth in a time of 7:16.32. Shankles returned later to win the men's 800m in a time of 2:04.43. Williams finished fourth in 2:07.13, with Jeff Hoover in seventh at 2:14.12.

In the women's distance races Julie Alley finished seventh in the 800m (2:40.92) and sixth in the 1500m (5:24), just behind teammate Paloma Floden (time unknown), while Anna Day competed well in her first race this school year with a time of 2:45.75 in the 800m.

The University of Alabama Relays are up next for Lipscomb Track & Field. The Bison's and Lady Bison's will travel to Tuscaloosa next weekend to participate in two days of high quality competition.