Steeplechase takes center stage at Southern Invite

Thursday, March 07, 2013
by Ryan Hilgemann

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb track and field team travels to Birmingham Ala., for the Southern Invitational hosted by Birmingham Southern College on Friday and Saturday. 

“Birmingham Southern is kind of a low-key meet,” Bill Taylor, director of cross country and track and field, said. “We are just trying to continue to get better. It gives us another opportunity to play with some events, kind of like with our sprinters last week. A lot of our runners will be moving down into sprints this week. It just lets us bracket some things early to get more prepared for actual events.”

Taking center stage on Friday is the steeplechase.

“The steeple is a fun and exciting event,” Taylor said. “We have been working for quite a while on hurdle technique and more recently the water jump. A lot of athletes will be running their first steeple ever, so it will be very interesting.”

Ashton Fischer claimed second place at the A-Sun Championships a year ago and will be joined by Ben Wright as the veterans of the men’s group.

“Those two will lead the way but we have a bunch of freshmen that will go out and we will see where they are,” Taylor said.

The women are led by school-record holder Kendra Lobley who also qualified for the preliminary round for nationals last year. Running her first-ever steeple will be Dani Walker.

“I think everyone should try it once in their career,” Taylor said. “It will also make for an interesting Friday night for us.”

Walker is coming off the initial A-Sun Track Athlete of the Week after posting the top time in the nation in the 800-meter run last weekend. Her time of 2:08.33 claimed the top spot in the first weekend of the outdoor season and is good enough to make the NCAA Preliminary Nationals, if the times from the last three years hold true.

“Dani looks smooth, relaxed and is making good decisions in races,” Taylor said. “This is really the beginning. She is finally starting to figure out how to use her mind. I don’t expect her marks now to be the end of it. I think this is a new ground level.”

The Southern Invitation starts at 3 p.m. Friday with field events and the steeplechase at 4:30 as the only track event scheduled on the first day. Saturday gets underway at 9 a.m. for both field and track events.