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Lady Flames Place 4th at Sykes-Sabock Cup
The Liberty women's squad placed fourth at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, which concluded on Saturday at Penn State's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. It was the Lady Flames' highest-ever team finish in seven appearances at the meet, while the Liberty men's team ended up in fifth place after two days of competition.
Redshirt senior team captain Meghan Burggraf qualified for the ECAC meet in the 800-meter run and helped the Lady Flames' 4 x 400 relay squad do so as well. Meanwhile, junior Mychelle Cumings fell just one-half inch shy of her own school record in the shot put. They helped Liberty total 68.5 points, which was good for fourth out of eight squads. No. 20 Penn State ran away with the women's team crown, racking up 228.5 points.
On the men's side, senior team captain Caleb Edmonds notched an IC4A qualifier in the mile, highlighting the Flames' day. Liberty totaled 62 points for fifth place in the eight-team field. UConn upset No. 7 Penn State to win the men's team title, prevailing by a slim 3.5-point margin (162.5-159).
Women's Day Two Recap
Burggraf got to compete in her specialty event, the 800-meter run, for the first time this season and fared extremely well. She placed second in a time of 2:11.05, which met the ECAC standard and ranks her first in the Big South so far this season. She has now qualified for the ECAC meet in three individual events (500, 800 and 1,000) in 2013-14.
Burggraf later anchored Liberty's 4 x 400 relay team to a seventh-place finish in a season-best time of 3:51.93. Burggraf, Ansley Gebben, Mary Echols and Corinn Bedell became the eighth-fastest 4 x 400 relay quartet in program history and punched their ticket to the ECAC meet in the process.
Cumings continued a successful meet for the Liberty throwers, reaching a season-best 51-3.75 for second place in the women's shot put. She just missed her school record of 51-4.25 and now ranks No. 36 nationally for the event, this season.
Behind Cumings, Rachel Barnes threw the shot 43-11.25 for seventh place and Jocelyn Williams' personal-best 43-10.75 heave netted eighth place. One day after shattering her own Liberty weight throw record, Williams moved into a tie for fourth place on Liberty's shot put list with Caitlyn Sutterfield.
All three of Liberty's women's triple jumpers scored points on Saturday, led by Janae Jones. The sophomore hopped, skipped and jumped her way to a 39-6.5 mark and runner-up honors in the event. Meanwhile, Oasis Hernandez and Melissa Rohwer placed seventh and eighth, respectively, with matching distances of 37-7.25.
Junior Jacy Christiansen moved up to fifth place on the Lady Flames' all-time mile list. Her personal-best 4:54.65 clocking was good for sixth place in the event.
Gebben and Bedell also climbed Liberty's all-time top 10 list in the 400-meter dash. Gebben's 57.05 effort was good for fifth place in both the race and in program history. Similarly, Bedell posted a time of 57.48 for eighth place on Saturday and eighth place on the all-time ledger.
Abigail Flower finished seventh in 25.28 seconds in her first 200-meter dash of the season, with teammate Hernandez following in the eighth spot with a season-best 25.37 effort. Hernandez tallied points in four different events during the weekend, including the 60, 200, long jump and triple jump.
Men's Day Two Recap
Edmonds improved his mile personal best by five seconds on Saturday, posting a time of 4:10.57 for fifth place. The IC4A-qualifying effort moved the Empire State native up to fifth place in program history.
Fellow distance runner Sam Hibbs also ran well, claiming the runner-up spot in the 3K with a personal-best 8:28.31 performance. It eclipsed the sophomore's previous best time by seven seconds.
Freshman Zach Davis continued the strong start to his collegiate career in the high jump, clearing 6-9 for third place. Classmates Aklesso Agama, Stephen Racanelli and Colin Schultz also recorded noteworthy efforts on Saturday.
Agama came in seventh in the triple jump final with a leap of 47-0.25, while Racanelli took the same place in the 400. He clocked a time of 49.61 seconds in his collegiate 400-meter debut.
Racing in one of the meet's deepest events, Schultz placed 12th in the men's 800 with a time of 1:54.86. In the process, he became the 10th Flame ever to break the 1:55 barrier for 800 meters indoors.
Fred Fulton was the Flames' final top-eight placer on the day, throwing the shot put 56-11.5 for fourth place.
Liberty athletes will compete in three different time zones next weekend, including the Flames' final home meet of the 2013-14 indoor season. The Liberty Quad will take place Thursday and Friday inside the Tolsma Indoor Track Center.
A group of Flames and Lady Flames will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., for the Don Kirby Collegiate Elite Invitational. The Friday/Saturday meet will be contested at the Albuquerque Convention Center, which will be the venue for the 2014 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Finally, a few Liberty distance runners will race at the Husky Classic on Friday and Saturday in Seattle, Wash.