Feb 5, 2008

Track attack in full force at PSU

by David Hunt
As the temperature dropped down into the low 20s in Lynchburg on Saturday, the Ashenfelter III Track in University Park, Pa. enjoyed a nice burn from the spikes of several Liberty indoor track and field athletes. Both the men’s and women’s teams traveled to the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup for a two-day competition over the weekend. Junior Jamie Watson kicked things off with an 800-meter performance Saturday that topped even her own school record time. Watson scorched through a 2:14.61 four-lap race, hanging on for 11th in a fiercely competitive women’s field that saw four athletes drop under 2:10. “Jamie really took it out strong and held her position,” teammate Jordan McDougal said. “After the first 400 meters she looked like she could get her record, and she did.” Another Liberty record fell on Saturday as sophomore Chenoa Freeman sprinted through the 400-meter race. Freeman sprinted to a 56.09 finish, breaking a record that has stood for 16 years (previously held by Gina Turner). Freeman also competed in the 200-meter race, finishing in 8th place at 25:17. The Lady Flames also got help from a pair of distance runners in freshman Kati Albright and junior Rebekah Ricksecker. Albright crossed the line two ticks under five minutes for the mile, running a 4:58.76 and capturing ninth place. Ricksecker came in just three seconds later, in 5:01.12, good for 13th. The night before, several Lady Flames put Liberty in a scoring position, as seniors Andrea Beckles, Carol Jefferson and Charlene Hibbert showed the depth of the Lady Flames squad. Beckles claimed third in the 60-meter dash (7.72), Jefferson took fifth in the 5,000-meter run (17:39) and Hibbert jumped to a fourth place finish in the long jump (18-5). “It was a fun race,” Jefferson said after crossing the line. “I wasn’t paying too much attention to time, just on passing people, so I didn’t get near my personal best but, hey, it felt good coming from a long, hard cross country season.” “I think everyone did an amazing job to compete with a lot of good teams out there,” senior Marie Williams said. “It’s a good stepping stone for us, and it should pave the way for the Big South Championship in a few weeks.” The women’s team ended the meet in ninth place overall, with Penn State winning the team competition. The Liberty men were led once again by their outstanding throwing duo in seniors Jon Hart and Clendon Henderson. The two took the fifth and seventh positions in the weight throw, heaving long tosses of 64-5.75 (Hart) and 62-11.25 (Henderson), respectively. Henderson continued his throwing dominance in the shotput, as he took first place with a toss of 58-6, winning by over a foot and a half. Hart followed up with an eighth place throw of 52-5.5. Other scorers on the men’s side included juniors Matt Parker and Phil Leineweber. Parker competed in several events, starting with the 60-meter hurdles, where he finished seventh in 8.29 seconds. Parker then went on to take fourth in the high jump (6-11) and eight in the 4X 400 meter relay, where he was joined by senior Tim O’Donnell, Brandon Hoskins and Leineweber. Leineweber did not stop with just the relay. He went on to run a pair of individual races, the 200 and 400-meter dashes. Leineweber took fourth in the 200, with an IC4A qualifying time of 22.16. In the 400, Leineweber took fifth, with a 48.78 clocking. The men’s team pulled together to take ninth place as a team. “I think we’re ready to take on the championship meets coming up,” senior Jarvis Jelen said. “We’ve put together some good meets, and a lot of our team members are just starting to come into their own.” The Liberty teams do not have much of a break, however, as they compete again this weekend at home in the Liberty Quad. The races begin at 4 p.m. and will serve as Liberty’s last home indoor track and field competition. Contact David Hunt at dhunt@liberty.edu.
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