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Quality and quantity highlight Bisons track and field class

Thursday, July 11, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Lipscomb track & field program will start the 2013-14 year with the largest and deepest recruiting class in the Division I era.  Highlighted by a number of nationally ranked student-athletes, the class also boasts depth in almost all event areas. 

“To say we are excited about this incoming class would be an understatement,” said assistant track & field coach Luke Syverson.  “This class, along with the large number of returners we have, will put us in contention for an ASUN title and help keep us there.

“This class was an important one for the growth and direction of our program.  We needed to fill out and deepen a number of event areas, especially the throws and jumps.  At the same time, we specifically went after some of the top talent in the country.  We feel that God blessed us as we succeeded in accomplishing both.”

When recruiting student-athletes, prior athletic accomplishments are not the only trait the Lipscomb staff looks for.

“We recruit just as much if not more on academics and character,” Syverson said. “We will never sacrifice those two hallmarks of our program for just athletic success.  All of these recruits bring our team a focus on service, academic excellence, faith and the ideal that the team is greater than self.

“When it all comes down to it, that’s what will continue to separate us from all of the other DI programs in the country.”

Growth with the men’s program can be credited to past recruiting classes and this one is no different.

“We’ve been on the rise for the last three years in particular with men’s track & field,” Bill Taylor, director of cross country and track & field, said.  “We keep adding strong young classes, and this one is another very exciting class. We’ve had a plan and we’ve been following it.  We should score points in every event area now.

"We are also excited about the type of people we are getting.  We recruit on character and fit and these guys definitely fit that, and they add to our unique culture.  Everyone is really excited for this year.”

In addition to the nine Cross-Country and distance student-athletes previously announced, the Bisons add thirteen others that will compete specifically on track & field team. The 2013 track & field class includes four from Tennessee, two each from Ohio, California, and Georgia, and one each from New Hampshire, Florida, and Arizona.

Aaron Beckwith
Contoocook, NH/Hopkinton HS/Pole Vault

PR’s: 14’6

• All-State honors Sophomore, Junior, and Senior year
• Finished in top 6 at State Championships all four years of high school
• 2012 NHIAA Div III State Champion in vault
• NH Meet of Champions Runner-up in 2011 and 3rd place in 2012

Coach Syverson on Aaron: “Aaron is one of the top vaulters in the NE and knows how to win. He is a student of the sport and adds depth to what should be a strong event area for us next year.”

Tal Covington
McDonough, GA/Eagles Landing Christian/PV-Sprints

PR’s: 13’6 PV/50.35 400m

• Helped lead 4x400 relay to runner-up finish at 2012 1A Georgia State Championships
• Finished 3rd at 2012 1A Georgia State Championships in the pole vault
• Finished 5th at the 2013 1A Georgia State Championships in the pole vault

Coach Syverson on Tal: Tal was a late signee for us and was already planning on coming to Lipscomb for the kind of school it is and our engineering program. He comes from a smaller school in Georgia and had gotten some attention for track from some other smaller colleges but in the end, wanted to be at Lipscomb. He dealt with a hamstring injury most of this past season which held him back a bit.  I really think he will surprise some people and give us more options in the 4x400.

Alex Csorba
Hudson, OH/Walsh Jesuit HS/Multi’s

PR’s: 11.62 100m/51.93 400m/41.08 300H/153’4 Jav/20’4 LJ/5215 Deca

• National Merit Finalist with a 4.0 GPA

Coach Syverson on Alex: “Alex is a great young man who is driven to succeed.  I really think he will be a great multi’s athlete for us in the ASUN in the future.  He will benefit greatly from specific event and strength training at this level.  On top of that, he is an incredible student and is exactly what we look for in a student-athlete.”

Brian Gentry
Arlington, TN/Arlington HS/Sprints

PR’s: 2:00.80 800m/49.50 400m/22.90 200m

• 6th in the 400m at the 2013 TSSAA State Championships
• Led 4x400 and 4x200 relay teams to Runner-up finishes at 2013 TSSAA State Championships

Coach Syverson on Brian: “Brian has experience in both the 800 and longer sprints and that will really help him and us next year in the 400.  We have a strong and growing tradition of success in the 4x400 and he will be able to add to that right away.  Brian is a strong runner and his 800 experience will tie right into Coach Evans’ training philosophy.”

Del McSpadden Jr
Brentwood, TN/Battle Ground Acacemy/Throws

PR’s: 40’ SP/142’2 Discus

• 2013 Vandy Great 8 Competitor in Discus
• Three sport letterman in Football, Wrestling, and Track

Coach Syverson on Del: “Del is a perfect character fit for our program.  He cares about his peers and has a great positive personality. I went to one of his football games this past fall and watched him play on both sides of the ball in the trenches.  I know behind his somewhat quiet demeanor, he is a real competitor in the athletic arena.  He has a lot of room to grow in both throwing events and we are excited to get him working on his technique and strength.”

Wayne Newman
San Manuel, AZ/San Manuel HS/Hurdles

PR’s: 14.12 110H/38.40 300H/56.42 400H/6’3 HJ/22’8.5” LJ/6025 Decath

• 2012 and 2013 AIA Div IV State Champion in both 110H and 300H
• 2013 AIA Div IV State Champion in the Long Jump (5th in HJ)
• 2013 Arizona Meet of Champions champion in both 110H and 300H
• San Manuel school record holder in both hurdle races
• Milesplit First Team Elite Ranking in both 110H and 300H
• Named as National HS Academic All-American and carried a 4.0 GPA

Coach Syverson on Wayne: “Wayne was one of our top recruits in this class.  He is one of the top Hurdlers to come out of the West and is nationally ranked in both hurdle events.  With a guy like Wayne, we are getting someone who knows how to win and has done so in big meets.  While he will focus on the hurdles, we might explore the multi’s route also and it is great to have someone talented enough where we have that option.  Like our entire class, he is outspoken about his faith and he is a great student.  We were excited that he chose Lipscomb over the Arizona schools.”

Jordan Pitcher
Agoura Hills, CA/Oaks Christian Academy/Hurdles

PR’s: 14.64 110H/40.50 300H/11.20 100m

• 2011 and 2012 CIF SS Div IV Champion in both 110H and 300H
• 2013 CIF SS Div IV Runner-up in 110H
• Named to All-County and All-Area Track teams multiple times
• Oaks Christian school record holder in 110H
• Tri-Valley League Track Athlete of the Year in 2011

Coach Syverson on Jordan: “Jordan is another talented hurdler out of the West and was one of our first track commits in this class.  He comes from a great Oaks Christian athletic program and adds to an already deep and talented hurdle group here at Lipscomb.  Everyone we talked to had great things to say about Jordan as a person.  He represents the kind of ‘fit’ we look for when we recruit.”

Jesse Rowe
Hilliard, OH/Hilliard Darby HS/Throws

PR’s: 44’4 SP/160’5 Discus

• Team Captain in 2011, 2012, and 2013
• Awarded Leadership Award in 2011 and 2012

Coach Syverson on Jesse: “Jesse has a ton of potential and has seen a lot of improvement over this last year.  His discus PR alone has increased by over 30’ this past year.  More than that, he is a leader and people follow him.  One thing I noticed over the recruiting process was that he seemed to be involved everywhere in his school.  He supported his school and peers in a number of sports and activities in which wasn’t involved.  That is a hallmark of our team and program.  I’m excited to see him after a year in our strength and conditioning program and think he has the chance to be one of the top throwers in the ASUN.”

Phillip Smith
Clarksville, TN/West Creek HS/Jumps

PR’s: 6’8 HJ/23’4.5 LJ/46’7 TJ

• Finished 5th in LJ, 6th in HJ, and 9th in TJ at 2012 TSSAA State Championships
• Finished in top 10 in both HJ and TJ again at 2013 TSSAA State Championships
• 2013 TSSAA State Champion in Long Jump
• Lettered in both Basketball and Track at West Creek
• Named to The Tennessean First Team All-Midstate for the Triple Jump in 2013
• The Leaf-Chronicle 2012 Field Athlete of the Year

Coach Syverson on Phillip:  “Phillip is the type of horizontal jump recruit I’ve been waiting for.  He is a tall, strong, athletic jumper who has little technique to build on.  He has only competed in track for two seasons and in his first year without really any jumps training, went and placed in the top 9 at State in all three events.  His high school PR’s would have placed him in the top 5 at ASUN Outdoors this past season.  After watching a number of Youtube videos of him dunking during basketball games, I knew he would be good.  He had a number of opportunities to play basketball at the collegiate level so we are glad he is going to be a Bison Track and Field athlete.”

Devon Wade
Johnson City, TN/University HS/Pole Vault

PR’s: 14’7 PV/11.04 100m

• Two-time TSSAA A-AA State Champion in the Pole Vault (2012 and 2013)
• University High School record holder in the vault
• All-State honors in pole vault the last three years

Coach Syverson on Devon: “We are excited to keep Devon here in Middle Tennessee.   He is one of the top vaulters in the state with the kind of athleticism and speed we look for. He has improved his marks over a foot since January and we know he will continue that improvement here at Lipscomb. He has a fun personality and fit right in with the rest of our vault group.”

Sullivan Wall
Thousand Oaks, CA/Grace Brethren Academy/Throws

PR’s: 178’8 Discus/49’5 SP

• Milesplit First Team Elite and ranked 51st in the Nation for 2013 class in the discus
• 2013 CIF SS Div IV Champion in the Discus and 5th in the Shot
• Has won every Tri-Valley League meet in the Discus since beginning of Freshman year
• 2013 Tri-Valley League Track & Field Athlete of the Year

Coach Syverson on Sullivan:  “Sullivan is one of the top Discus throwers in this class. After visiting with Sullivan and his parents in December in Calif., I knew he was a thrower we wanted to have in our program.  He is a great student in the classroom and an incredible student of his events.  Over the past year and a half, he has gotten the opportunity to train a number of times with John Godina, one of the top throwers in the nation.  Sullivan has good size with long levers and has thrown farther in high school than 2013 ASUN Discus Champion and Bison Houston Ward. On top of all that, he is a great young man and I look forward to working with him.”

Austin Warren
Mount Dora, FL/Mount Dora  Christian/Jumps

PR’s: 46’4 TJ/21’10 LJ/6’4 HJ

• Placed in top 8 at 2012 FHSAA 1A State Championships in all three jumping events
• 2013 FHSAA 1A State Champion in Triple Jump (3rd in HJ and 5th in LJ)
• Three sport letterman in Football, Basketball, and Track
• Defensive Player of the Year in Football as a junior

Coach Syverson on Austin: “Like his incoming teammate, Phillip Smith, Austin is another athletic jumper who has a lot of potential and lot room for improvement in his technique.  His best event is the triple jump but after watching film of his HJ and LJ, he will be equally successful in those.  He is big on community and team and throughout the recruiting process he came across as very coachable.”

Jonathan Yoho
Tybee Island, GA/Homeschool-South University/Sprints

PR’s: 6.59 55m

Coach Syverson on Jonathan: Jonathan has an interesting background in that he has no competitive track & field team experience.  He is originally from the Nashville area but moved to Georgia a couple of years ago.  He attended South University this past year but they have no athletic program.  He has spent the better part of his youth as a competitive ice hockey player.  Given that, we know he has great front end speed and explosion.  Once he learns our system and biomechanical foundations to sprinting, we think he could be a real asset to our team.

In addition to the thirteen track & field signees, the Bisons added the following Cross-Country and distance student-athletes announced earlier.   This class of nine includes two of the highest ranked recruits to ever join Lipscomb in Christian Freeman and Juan Gonzalez, both ranked in the top 15 in the nation in their events. This highly recognized group brings the 2013 Men’s class total to 22.  Here are those signees and their track PR’s:

 

Jared Daedler                    Brea, CA/Brea Olinda HS
PR’s: 9:34 3200m/4:27 1600m

Christian Freeman            Carlsbad, CA/Carlsbad HS
PR’s: 8:52 3200m/4:11 1600m/3:55.79 1500m/1:56.06 800m

Juan Gonzalez                   Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS
PR’s: 8:54.01 3200/4:09.79 1600m/1:54.34 800m

Luke Jelen                         Sioux Falls, SD/Sioux Falls Lincoln HS
PR’s: 9:29.44 3200m/4:22 1600m/1:56.50 800m

Daniel Lenart                    Toledo, OH/Francis De Sales HS
PR’s: 4:26.88 1600m/1:56.44 800m/51.78 400m

David D.A. Lowery           Nashville, TN/Lipscomb Academy
PR’s: 4:28 1600m/1:57.26 800m

Derek Peterson                Plymouth, MN/Wayzata HS
PR’s: 9:50 3200m/4:24.70 1600m/1:58.35 800m

Jonathan J.J. Shankles    Knoxville, TN/Bearden HS
PR’s: 6:35 2k Steeple/2:02 800m

Cooper Wall                      Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS
PR’s: 10:18 3k Steeple/4:44 1600m/2:00.30 800m