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Lady Flames Place 3rd for Best-Ever ECAC Finish
Aided by event victories by Meghan Burggraf (800) and Mychelle Cumings (shot put), the Liberty women's squad earned the third-place trophy at the ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, which wrapped up on Sunday at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center. It was the highest-ever ECAC finish in program history. Meanwhile, the Flames came in fourth in the concurrent IC4A meet.
Prior to this weekend, Liberty's best ECAC indoor finish was 11th in 2012, while the Lady Flames' highest ECAC placement overall was a seventh-place effort at the 2007 and 2012 outdoor competitions. The Lady Flames finished with 44 points during the three-day meet, trailing only ECAC champion Connecticut (75 points) and Cornell (64 points).
The event championships by Burggraf and Cumings on Sunday marked the first time since the 2002 ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships that the Lady Flames won multiple events at the same meet. That year, Heather Sagan won the 1,500 and Andrea Wildrick took home the pole vault title.
Not to be completely overshadowed by their female counterparts, the Flames' total of 52 points put them just two tallies behind Connecticut and Albany, which shared runner-up honors in the final IC4A team standings. Cornell took home the title with 76 points. This is Liberty's fifth top-five finish in the last seven years at this meet.
Women's ECAC Day 3 Recap
A week after being named Big South Women's Outstanding Field Performer, Cumings was one of the top women's field performers in Boston. Her top shot put mark of 52-9.5 outdistanced runner-up Margo Britton by a foot and a half, giving the Tennessee native her first ECAC indoor event championship. Cumings previously claimed the ECAC outdoor discus crown in 2013.
Burggraf also won in convincing fashion, as the redshirt senior's personal-best 800 time of 2:06.84 put her more than a second in front of Georgetown's Becca Deloache. It was Burggraf's first career ECAC title, and she joins former teammate Jaime Watson (2008) as an ECAC indoor 800-meter champion.
Ansley Gebben came in seventh in the 400-meter dash final, clocking a personal-best time of 55.48 seconds. She moves up to second place in program history, trailing only Watson.
Junior Jacy Christiansen broke the school record in the women's 3K on Sunday with her 9:38.90 effort. Christiansen, who won her heat and placed 13th overall in the event, bettered the previous mark of 9:44.62 set by Jennifer Klugh on Jan. 20, 2012.
Men's IC4A Day 3 Recap
Fred Fulton was the Flames' top finisher on Sunday, claiming runner-up honors in the shot put with a personal-best 59-4.25 heave on his fifth throw. He also climbed into third place on Liberty's all-time list in the process.
Teammate Jacob DeValve added more than two feet to his previous shot put personal best, reaching 55-0.25 for ninth place in the event. Four of the redshirt senior's throws landed beyond his previous best of 52-8.25, and DeValve now ranks seventh in program history.
The Flames pulled down 16 points in the sprints on Sunday, thanks to the duo of senior Conroy Smith and freshman Stephen Racanelli. In the 60 dash final, Smith placed third in 6.93 seconds with Racanelli following close behind in fifth at 6.95.
Later on, Racanelli won his heat and finished third overall in the 200 dash, thanks to a personal-best time of 21.38 seconds.
One day after breaking the school record, the Flames' 4 x 800 relay quartet of Jacob Onifer, Colin Schultz, Trevor Hope and John Sherret came in sixth in the final with a time of 7:31.83.
Kenny Scott came just 2.75 inches away from placing in the men's long jump in his IC4A debut, coming in 10th with a 22-7 leap.
Caleb Edmonds recorded a season-best 3K time of 8:09.57, coming in 13th in the event.
Liberty will open the 2014 outdoor track & field season on Friday and Saturday, when the Flames and Lady Flames travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the Coastal Carolina Invitational. The meet will be contested at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium.