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Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Head Coach Bill Taylor announced the team awards and season honors for the 2011 Lipscomb Cross Country season.
“We have a tradition of awards that represent our core values within the Cross Country and Track & Field programs” Taylor said. “These are big honors for our athletes as it means they represent the best of what we are and lead the way in making our program one of the best in the nation in every way, which creates a very unique and special environment.”
“Missy has improved so much since she arrived as a freshman last year. When she came to Lipscomb with a 5k PR of 19:28, she was ranked in the 20’s on our team, and that’s about where she was last cross country season. During track she just kept working, kept listening, kept believing and dropped from 19:28 to 17:57 for 5000m! This year in Cross Country she was in our top seven all year and finished fourth for our ASUN Conference Championship team. Missy is also super positive and encouraging; she is a terrific example of what anyone can do if they work and believe.”
“It’s not a surprise there was a tie for this award. Katie came to us last year as an 800m specialist and was not even sure she wanted to run Cross Country. Her high school PR of 20:24 put her near the bottom of our roster coming in. This year Katie dropped her 5k time to 19:01 and earned the ninth spot on the ASUN conference championship roster. She worked so hard, had an amazing attitude and was a real inspiration to the team.”
“Ben Wright came into the season with an 8k PR in the 27’s and had not made a travel roster or a championship roster in his two previous seasons. In 2011 Ben skipped the 26’s entirely, going from a PR in the 27’s to 25:52 and a top five spot on the men’s varsity roster. Ben is just getting started. I expect he will continue to improve a lot. He has a lot of talent and can make a big impact on the program now that he realizes he can be amazing.”
Fightin’ Bison (the person who demonstrated the most guts, mental toughness and physical toughness):
“Isaiah story is much the same as Catherine’s. This is Isaiah’s fourth “Fightin’ Bison” award, and like Catherine, his third consecutive in XC. I remember Isaiah came to us from high school, probably our sixth or seventh ranked recruit. But from day one on the team you could tell he was going to do great things. Isaiah is known for his toughness and his drive. He pushes himself to his absolute limits and then still expects more from himself. As a result he moved into the number one position on the men’s team this year, leading them in every single race, and leading the men’s team to its best season ever.”
For the Team (the best teammate, the most positive and caring):
“Tessa led the team on the course as the top runner for the second half of the season, and off the course as one of the team captains. She was essential in the teams success and in our ASUN Championship. As a leader Tessa brings a terrific combination of high expectations, along with genuine care for her teammates. She strives with all her might to be the best she can be, yet it is very clear that she cares about her teammates and the team’s success even more. What I appreciate about Tessa’s leadership is that she is willing to do the tough things as a leader and to hold each person accountable, yet everyone knows she has a gigantic heart and cares for them so much.”
“Alexander is the second person I can remember getting this award without taking a step in a race. This was going to be Alexander’s first season of racing since high school. He missed the sport so much and saw how tight our men’s and women’s teams are here, and wanted to be part of what we have going. So he asked me if he could walk on. Unfortunately, early in the summer he experienced a bunch of injuries that were not solved all season long. So how does a guy who walks on to a team for the first time in his third year of college and doesn’t participate in a single workout, and doesn’t run a single race, win the “For the Team” award? Alexander has a heart of gold and showed every bit as much commitment to the team as anyone on the team. He would cross-train for hours every day, and then still come out to every practice to cheer and encourage. His positive attitude, enthusiasm and joy for being a part of our team made a huge impact on both the men’s and women’s teams. He showed that everyone counts, that everyone can contribute to the team’s success and to the enjoyment of this sport. He added to the special team environment we already have and has made us much better for it.”
Heart of Gold (the person who demonstrates the highest character, who doesn’t compromise, who does the right thing every time, even when nobody is looking):
“This is actually the third time Ashley has been voted for this award in Cross Country or Track. Ashley is an emotional and spiritual leader on the team. She cares deeply for her teammates, and served as the Director of our Discipleship and Outreach Commission this year. The D.O.C. is our spiritual growth component for the team. They lead the team in planning and having team devotions, doing service projects in the community and doing a missions trip each year. Ashley has a huge heart for people and to help them grow spiritually. She has served that role incredibly and has always been there for all her teammates.”
“Geoff is the guy that goes the extra mile for anyone on the team. He wants each person to succeed and does everything in his power to help them. He is a counselor, an accountability partner, a friend and much more. He is also a team captain and has been an incredible leader. Geoff is super creative and is the first one to jump in and do anything the team needs. Most of all, everyone knows Geoff cares so much for each and every person. He wants he person to succeed in every way and shows it with his words and his actions.”
Total Commitment (who did it right, did it all, did it all the time, and did all the little things):
“Tessa has actually won this award all three of her seasons at Lipscomb (XC 2010, Track 2011, XC 2011). This is Catherine’s second time winning this award. Geoff has won this award three times.
“Total Commitment means no compromise in pursuit of excellence for yourself and for the team. It means doing all the little things and treating them as seriously as the big things. It means no shortcuts ever. It is ‘doing it’ rather than just ‘saying it’.
“These three take the lead in leading by example. They happen to all have been team captains this year, but they showed this commitment, behavior and attitude before they were ever captains. Their actions and desire to be amazing are the foundation of all our past, present and future success. This is what separates the average from the great. A program has to be committed to being amazing and it has to be an all the time thing. Fortunately Tessa, Catherine and Geoff are not alone in this aspect on our team. They are terrific examples of what we are about and represent the whole team.”
Freshman of the Year:
“Minna was in the top three pretty much all season and made a gigantic impact on the team with her feet, heart and attitude. She earned ASUN All-Conference honors and ASUN All-Freshman team honors. At the NCAA DI South Regional Championships she nearly finished as our top runner and has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. Like all of our team, Minna is such a great person. She has a positive attitude, is super encouraging, has huge expectations and cares about her team as much as she cares about herself. I can’t wait to see how fast she runs and how far she takes our program.”
“Ryan was arguably the best freshman distance runner in Lipscomb Cross Country history this year. He stepped up right away to be in the top seven, and was usually in our top five, on the best men’s team in the NCAA DI era for Lipscomb. Ryan has just barely scratched the surface of his capabilities too. When he realizes how good he can be, he will become one of the top distance runners in the region, if not the nation. It was a great start for Ryan. I look forward to watching him develop over the next three and a half years.”
“This was really no surprise. Both Tessa and Isaiah led their teams on the course and off the course, first by emerging as the number one runners for their respective teams. However, they were also both team captains, spiritual leaders, and top academic achievers. While traditionally this award is probably thought of in regards to what happens in competition, these two represent what is most important to our program in every aspect. It is what we strive to be as a program, excellent athletically, academically, socially and spiritually. Led as a team that cares deeply for each other. A special environment unlike any other NCAA DI program in the nation. Tessa and Isaiah represent all the aspects of what makes us unique…and they happen to have led us on the course this year as well.”
2011 Cross Country Team Captains:
All ASUN First Team
All ASUN Second Team
ASUN XC Scholar-Athlete Team
ASUN XC All-Academic Honors Fall Semester (*4.0 Fall semester GPA)
Coach Taylor’s Post-Season comments:
“The 2011 men’s and women’s Cross Country season continued our rapid progression as a program in every way.
“Athletically we had the best season in Lipscomb history for both teams. My philosophy is being absorbed more and more every year and you can feel an immense belief about who we are and what we will achieve. There is a new level of confidence, believe and expectation.
“As good as it was, it is just the beginning. Our goals are to be the best in the nation.
“For the women it was great to get that first conference win. One is not enough for us though and our expectation is that the ASUN will continue to get stronger and stronger.
“Along with that, the women are now looking at how we move from a conference championship program to a national qualifying program, to ultimately a National Championship program.
“What is great is that the belief is here. We just need to build on that, grow it, add great recruits of course J and then go do it.
“For the men we keep moving up the conference standings. It was a great improvement over any year before. Now we want to get that first ASUN Championship. That will take great commitment and effort. The team will have to continue to develop. But we are close. I see the desire here and I know it will happen.
“Then, just like the women, the goal for the men is to get to Nationals.
“More importantly, both of our teams continue to stand apart from any other NCAA DI teams I know of in character, academic achievement, spiritual development, personal development and team environment and atmosphere.
“You can just look at the list of academic achievements to know that we are about excellence in all things. And if you spend time with our athletes, you quickly see they stand apart as people and as teams.
“I am so proud of what we have built and what we are continuing to build here. It is a different story and experience than you will find anywhere else.
“I look forward to all that we will be in the future.”