Mar 24, 2009

Track shines at Lynchburg Invitational

by Chris McNair

The Liberty Flames Track and Field Team traveled across town to compete in the Lynchburg Invitational on Saturday, which was held at Shellenberger Field on the campus of Lynchburg College.

Liberty was just one of many formidable programs that competed in the invitational. Other schools in the field included Shippensburg, Kutztown, East Stroudsburg and Lock Haven.

The Flames had several standout performers, one of whom was senior Andrea Beckles, a triple event winner with victories in the 100 and 200-meter dash. She also won first as the last leg of the 4x100 relay. Freshman John Talbert notched NCAA East Regional and IC4A qualifiers. Senior Matt Parker also excelled, placing first in the 110- meter hurdle competition as well as the high jump with a 6-6.75 effort.
Andrea Beckles credits her success on Saturday to practice.

“Practice, practice and more practice. Just always practicing with my coach, working on things I need to work on,” Beckles said.

The Liberty Flames entered the event with high expectations. Junior sprinter Chenoa Freeman scored a victory in the 400-meter dash, topping off the list of Liberty winners.

“Well most of the schools here are D3 and we’re D1 so I expected us to do well. That was my goal, ‘I needed to win,’” Beckles said after the competition.

Parker, the Big South 60-meter hurdle and high jump champion, understands the importance of preparing for competition.

“I think, first off, you just have to have a lot of mental preparation before
you come into competition. Also just thanking the Lord that you have legs to use,” Parker said as he warmed up for the high jump competition.

Several men’s throwers shined throughout the weekend. Freshman John Talbert qualified for the Division I East Regional Track and Field Championships in his first discus event, and currently ranks No. 2 in Liberty history for the event.

Sophomore Kolby Shepherd locked in a first place vaulting finish with a clearance of 15-5.75 while Elliot Galeone took first place in the javelin for the second year in a row with a toss of 195-5.

Coach Brant Tolsma was pleased with his team’s effort throughout the event and relished an opportunity to stay closer to home.
“We do so much traveling and it’s an opportunity to just come across town and not have to get fatigued from a weekend too much,” Tolsma said.

“There was not a lot of pressure. Just a good chance for everybody to get a chance to compete and have fun.”

Next weekend will be a busy one for Liberty as it will take part in the Raleigh relays in North Carolina before a pair of split squad events. The Flames will be in Lexington, Va. taking on VMI and ashington & Lee in separate events.

Despite this week’s solid efforts, Tolsma knows his team has work to do.

“Well we hope to build every week. This time of year you want to be building on what you’re doing so… that’s what we hope to do,” Tolsma said.

Contact Chris McNair at





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