Mar 3, 2009

Liberty Track and Field

by Daniel Heffner

The Liberty men and women’s track and field squads finished up conference competition this week at the Big South Championship in Clemson, S.C. The men’s squad won its 12th straight indoor title and the Lady Flames finished second to Coastal Carolina as each team advanced to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) championship next weekend.

The men finished with 170 points, 55 points in front of runner-up VMI, while the women tallied 124.5 points.

A trio of Flames were honored for their performances in their previous events as senior Marie Williams and sophomores Sam Chelenga and Kolby Shepherd were named Eastern College Athletic Conference Athletes of the Week.

First place finishers for the Lady Flames were sophomore Kati Albright in the mile with a time of 5:07.23 and junior Ashley Osborne winning both the 5,000-meter and 3,000 meter run with times of 17:36.95 and 10:03.54, respectively. Other Lady Flames first place finishers were Williams, who completed the Pentathlon with a score of 3,369 points and senior Jaime Watson in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:13.52.
Another performance worth noting is the 4x400 relay team of Williams, Watson, junior Chenoa Freeman and junior Brittany Heath, who finished just one second out of first place in the final heat.

“I felt very optimistic about winning,” Watson said. “We needed a good performance from everyone and I think everyone did their best. There were things that were not expected that was a great achievement for the girl’s team.”

The men kept a firm hold on indoor track competition, posting first place finishers in eight events. Senior Matt Parker tallied a meet-high 27.5 points in four events, including a tight victory against Charleston Southern as part of the 4x400 relay team.

In the mile, Chelanga won a close race over VMI’s Donnie Cowart in 4:10.04 to 4:10.31. Parker won not only the 60-meter hurdles in 8.20, but also the high jump with a top height of 2.07 meters. Shepherd put himself over the top in the pole vault with a height of 4.72 meters and senior Andrew Bartels threw away the competition in the shot put with a distance of 16.11 meters.

The first two places in the heptathlon went to sophomore Geren Woodbridge, who finished in first place with 4,773 points and senior Clarence Murray, who finished second with 4,546 points.

Several Flames earned awards for their efforts throughout the season. Osborne was awarded the Big South Women’s Track and Field Athlete of the Year, while senior Daniel Newell earned Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors in addition to being named to the All-Academic Team alongside Watson.

The next meet for both the men and women is the ECAC championship on March 7 in Boston, Mass.

Contact Daniel Heffner at


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