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Sunday, September 12, 2010The Lipscomb men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Burlington, Vt., to compete against the University of Vermont, Columbia University and Saint Michaels College. On the beautiful and challenging Catamount Family Center course, the women came away with a solid second place finish, while the men finished third.
The young Lady Bisons competed very well against the regionally ranked competition. Columbia is ranked sixth and Vermont is ranked 15th in the Northeast Region.
“Our women had a really good race,” Lipscomb cross country coach Bill Taylor said. “Columbia is a tremendous team, and they 15-pointed the race, but we actually weren’t that far off them. For the first mile everyone was together. Columbia made a big move just past the mile and it just kind of confused our team. That’s a great learning experience for our women. Now they know how to respond to that.
“I was proud though that our women regrouped after the confusion and pressed on strongly. Alex Newby reacted quickly and was with Columbia’s pack until the final 200 meters or so. We had seven women finish within 44 seconds of first place. Alex was only four seconds from first. It was a strong rally and I know we will be better prepared in the future.”
Vermont is ranked 15th in the very strong Northeast region.
“They ran very well too, so this was a solid race for us,” Taylor said. “Their coach said they ran better than last year when they finished second here.
“It’s really a time of learning and building for us right now. The women are learning how to be an amazing team. They did some terrific things today…things that haven’t been done at Lipscomb before. Yet, we walk away with so many ways we know we can get better. That’s what these races are about, so it’s a very positive day in both ways.”
Alex Newby (FR – Knoxville, Tenn.) led the women with a time of 18:56 for the 5065-meter course to finish eighth overall. That time is her all-time PR even for a 5-K.
Dani Walker (FR – Wichita, Kan.) followed in 19:09 in 12th place. Rounding out the top seven were Shelby Marvel (SO – Ashland City, Tenn.) in 14th place with a time of 19:11, Ashley Lehman (JR – Blacksburg, Va.) in 16th place with a time of 19:14, Tessa Hoefle (FR - Winnebago, Ill.) in 19th place at 19:25, Jenny Randolph (SR – Knoxville, Tenn.) in 20th with a time 19:30 and Louisa Van Batavia (JR – Burns, Ore.) in 21st at 19:36. Amanda Twigg (SO – Cumberland, Md.) was the eighth and final runner for Lipscomb in 20:37, 32nd in the race.
“It was a challenging course with difficult footing and often hilly terrain on beautiful cross country skiing and cycle-cross trails,” Taylor said. “I think the extra 65 meters the women ran is about 15 seconds added to what would be their 5-K times.
“The course was really terrific. Though it was tough, a bit long and a bit slow, it was so nice. It’s cross country and both teams enjoyed this.”
The Lipscomb men finished third in the meet, behind Columbia who 15-pointed the meet, and Vermont, who beat the Bisons by just six points. Columbia is ranked fourth in the Northeast region and 38th in the nation.
“Well, Columbia’s men look really good,” Taylor said. “They easily dominated this race. Tim Muller held on well for a long time, but they did drop him eventually.
“Like the women’s team, I saw good things happen today. There were very positive signs of improvement mentally and physically. We also have a lot of room to grow and need to keep improving.“
Muller (SO – Denver, Colo.) led the Bisons with a 10th place finish in 26:03 for the 8000 meters course.
Isaiah Greer (SO – Johnson City, Tenn.) followed in 14th with a time of 26:33. Geoff Musick and Mike Yang took 17th and 21st in 26:50 and 27:00, while Hunter Hethcoat and Benton Reed followed closely in 23rd and 24th with times of 27:28 and 27:36.
“The men were neck and neck with Vermont the whole race,” Taylor said. “Vermont hit that last mile a little better than our men were able to and that was the difference. It was fun competing against them. Both of those teams fought hard.”
The experience of running against strong Northeast teams was very positive for Lipscomb.
“Traveling up here has been such a great experience for us,” Taylor said. “From a racing perspective we competed well. The women benefited most with a quality win against a regionally ranked team. Both teams did things they haven’t done before and both teams learned a lot about what needs to be improved. We will learn from this and be better for it.
“We actually have a bunch of PRs already from this race, even though it was the first 5-K and 8-K of the season and was a challenging course. Athletically, this has been valuable.”
Taylor added that the meet was a great example of what makes the sport of cross country special.
“The meet itself was great,” Taylor said. “The scenery was beautiful. And I thank Vermont head coach Matt Belfield for being a wonderful host. He arranged a pre-race dinner where we ate with Vermont, Columbia and Saint Michaels, was so nice, and gave us tips on what to see and do around here.
“We’ve also had so much fun up here. We enjoyed seeing the sights of Burlington and the surrounding area, laughing, and just enjoying the whole experience. What a blessing to be able to do this!”
Lipscomb next competes at home in the Vanderbilt Invite at Vaughn’s Gap in Percy Warner Park. Both races are on Saturday morning, Sept. 18th.