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Bisons cross country team shows improvement in Commodore Classic

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sept. 15, 2007

The Lipscomb University men's Cross Country team finished seventh Saturday in the Commodore Classic.

The men were led by Jordan Wilson who posted a time of 26:53 for his first 8-K of the season. His time was a full minute faster than he ran in this same race last year.

David Wolfe followed with a time of 27:28, an improvement of 1:40 over his time last year. Andrew Shankles was the third Lipscomb finisher in a time of 27:35, a full three minutes faster than last year! Ryan Chastain finished right behind Shankles in 27:36, while freshman Jeff Hoover rounded out the top five in 27:44. Neither Chastain nor Hoover ran this race previously.

Other finishers for the Lipscomb men included Clint Carter (28:16), Jonathan Williams (28:44), Jacob Nelson (29:03), Paul Wright (29:09) and Ryan Bell (29:40).

Overall the men finished 7th in the meet, but had a team time 10 minutes faster than last year. Their team time this year would have won the meet last year.

The competition was stronger this year with Belmont, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Central Florida. Of those top teams, only Vanderbilt competed last year. Even more impressive, last year Lipscomb' No. 5 runner finished in a time of 30:35. This year all 10 Lipscomb runners ran under 30 minutes. In fact, all 10 men ran faster than the No. 4 runner's time last year.

"We saw some huge improvement today," said head coach Bill Taylor. "Dropping 10 minutes off your team time for the same race is gigantic. The depth is impressive and our one to five gap was 51 seconds. That's a great gap for an 8K. Now we need to keep that gap, but move the team up in the race.

"There are still many things to work on and we have a long way to go yet. So we must be excited about the dramatic progress, but not satisfied with where we are."

The women's team also finished in seventh place.

"I am extremely happy with the dramatic improvement we've seen already (in just five weeks) for both the men and the women, Taylor said. " It's tough for a team to get a new coach just one week before the season and then try to learn his system and adapt to his coaching philosophy.

"We've had a lot of hurdles to overcome, yet they are knocking those hurdles down rapidly. Both teams are believing more every day and we are just going to get better and better. Both teams also have a long way to go yet, which is very exciting. We don't really know how good we can be this year, but I know they will put it all on the line and find out. That's all I can ask of them."

Complete results can be found at: http://vucommodores.cstv.com/sports/w-xc/stats/2007-2008/girlsxcrez07.html and http://vucommodores.cstv.com/sports/m-xc/stats/2007-2008/boysxcrez07.html