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Friday, May 29, 2009The largest contingent ever from the Lipscomb track and field team is competing Friday and Saturday in the NCAA Mideast Regionals in Louisville, Ky.
It is the first time since 2006 that Lipscomb has sent anyone to NCAA Regional competition.
“What we are looking for is to show good performances and to respect the sport,” said Bill Taylor, Lipscomb’s track and field coach. “We want to give our best.”
Freshman Steve Lindsey, who placed second in the high jump at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships is the first male track athlete from Lipscomb to participate in the NCAA Regionals on an individual basis. This is one of four regional meets being held.
“It is a fabulous experience for Steve,” said Taylor. “He is ranked last in the regional in the high jump, but he is not that far from being ranked 10th. He could beat some people easily in the high jump if he has a good day.”
The men’s 4 x 400 relay team, consisting of sophomore Michael Knox, senior Clint Carter, freshman Andrew Jones and senior Chad Roberts, is also in the regional after finishing second at the A-Sun Championship meet in Jacksonville, Fla., with a time of 3:19.43.
“Our guys are going after the school record in the 4 x 400,” said Taylor. “They were less than a second away from it at the conference championships. That is a record that has stood for many years here.
“That is their No. 1 goal. They understand where they fit in the rankings. They would love to go beat a team. But whether we do or not we want to show that we are competitive and giving our all. There are two seniors on the team. They are pretty much convinced that the school record in the 4 x 400 is going to drop many times and they want their name on it at least for a little while.”
Taylor calls the 4 x 400 team the “bread and butter” of the program.
“I have a philosophy that you build a program based on the 4 x 400 relay team,” said Taylor. “It is a pride event. Track can be so individual. In most events we go to there are not many team scores.
“The 4 x 400 is a team event. There are four guys that all have to perform for each other on the same day at the same time for the team to have success. A 4 x 400 relay team consists of the four best athletes on your team. People want to be on that team. There has been a fight for the spots.”
Kristin Ratzlaff, another freshman, is participating in the javelin. She placed third at the A-Sun Championships.
“We have a lot of youth who are going to get some big meet experience,” said Taylor. “There aren’t very many states that throw the javelin in high school. “
Ruth Mick is the only other female track and field athlete to have competed in an NCAA Regional. She qualified in 2006.
“It is a great honor for each one of them,” said Taylor. “They earned it. I’m proud of them.
“As far as the program goes it is another step in the right direction. It is another sign to us internally and externally to our recruits and those interested in our program that we are definitely getting stronger.”
Taylor is especially pleased that even though his expertise is in training athletes in distance situations that the Regionals representatives are from different areas of the program.
“It shows two things,” said Taylor. “We are rapidly getting better. And it also shows that we are diversifying and becoming a full track and field program which I think is a very positive thing.”