Mar 7, 2006

McDougal qualifies for NCAA Championship

by Evan Falat
In December, Josh McDougal missed an NCAA Indoor National automatic qualifying berth in the 5000 meters by less than one second. 

After missing some time due to a knee injury, McDougal returned to the track on February 19, running the mile and again just missed an automatic berth, this time by less than two seconds. 

At the Big South Championships just one week later McDougal went after another automatic berth and again fell just short in both the 3000 meters and the mile. 

Entering this past weekend’s competition at the IC4A Championships in Boston, McDougal had provisionally qualified for three events — the mile, 3000 meters, and 5000 meters — but was not guaranteed a ticket to the NCAA Championships without an automatic time. 

Knowing that this was his last shot at qualifying, McDougal delivered as he ran a time of 7:53.16 in the 3000 meters and won that event this past Saturday. His time not only allowed him to capture the automatic time and advance to this coming weekend’s NCAA Championships in Arkansas, but also set a new IC4A meet record, besting a 25 year old record that had been set by Villanova’s Sidney Maree in 1981. 

As of Sunday, McDougal is currently ranked 19th in the nation in the mile, fifth in the nation in the 3000, and 14th in the nation in the 5000. Currently McDougal has not yet decided what event or events he will run at the NCAA Championships. 

Besides McDougal, the Flames also turned in some other top performances at this weekend’s meet. Senior Ravanno Ferguson finished sixth in the finals of the 55-meter dash in a time of 6.42 seconds. In the three rounds of racing, Ferguson was 10th in the preliminaries, sixth in the semi-finals, and sixth in the finals. Ferguson also placed 17th in the 400 meters in a time of 48.50. 

Also scoring for the Flames was freshman Phil Leinweber. Leinweber finished sixth in the pre-lims of the 500 meters, qualifying him for the finals. In the finals, he finished in a time of 1:04.14, placing him seventh overall. 

Also competing at the IC4A meet for the Flames were distance runners Jarvis Jelen and Jordan McDougal. Jelen finished 14th in the mile with a time of 4:12.60 while Jordan McDougal was 14th in the 5000 meters in a time of 14:31.45. Overall the men’s team finished tied for 18th place with 15 points.
The Lady Flames also competed in Boston as they saw action at the ECAC Championships — the women’s equivalent to the IC4A Championships. 

Junior Arlene Zelinskas was the top finisher for the Lady Flames as she finished fourth in the pentathlon. The current Big South Most Outstanding Female Performer finished with a total of 3630 points in the five-event competition. 

Also scoring for the Lady Flames was the 4x400 team of Mynique Robinson, Tra’ Screen, Kena Butts, and Jamie Watson. The team finished sixth in pre-lims and then ran a time of 3:47.67 in the finals, which also placed them sixth overall. Butts also placed 10th in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5’05”.
Other Lady Flames that competed in at the ECAC Championships were Andrea Beckles and Carol Jefferson. Beckles finished in 22nd place with a time of 7.93 seconds in the 60 meter dash. Jefferson was 11th in the 5000 meters in a time of 17:15.95. Overall the Lady Flames finished tied for 27th place with a total of eight points. 

The Flames will start their outdoor season this coming weekend as they travel down to Conway, S.C. to compete at the Coastal Carolina Invitational. The lone exception will be Josh McDougal as he will be in Fayetteville, Ark., for the NCAA National Indoor Championships.

Contact Evan Falat at emfalat@liberty.edu.
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