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Liberty Track Set for Hokie Invitational
The Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field teams will take to the road for the first time this season, traveling to Blacksburg for the Hokie Invitational, Friday and Saturday at Rector Field House.
The women's pole vault will begin both days' schedule of events. On Friday, the unseeded section of the event will start at 4 p.m. The seeded section of the women's pole vault will get going Saturday at 11 a.m.
Liberty will face its stiffest competition of the young season this weekend, meeting numerous ACC (Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest) and SEC (South Carolina and Tennessee) opponents.
How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available during both days of competition, courtesy of Flash Results, Inc.
Liberty will be competing at Rector Field House for the first time since the 2014 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships (Feb. 28-March 1, 2014). That weekend, the Liberty men's squad captured its 17th straight Big South title, while a number of current athletes achieved notable accomplishments. These included the following.
• Mychelle Cumings captured her third straight Big South indoor women's shot put crown with a conference, meet and Liberty-record throw of 53-5.5.
• Oasis Hernandez won the women's 60-meter dash (7.45) and placed third in the 200 (24.37), setting school records in both events.
• Jocelyn Williams became Liberty's first-ever Big South women's weight throw champion with a school-record mark of 67-5.5.
• Hannah Scherlacher and Mary Witmer helped the women's distance medley relay team win the Big South title in a meet-record time of 12:04.07.
• Witmer, Ansley Gebben and Corinn Bedell helped the women's 4 x 400 relay squad place second in a school-record clocking of 3:46.28.
• Riley Brandon won her first Big South title, scoring 3,484 points to take first place in the pentathlon.
• Fred Fulton made it eight straight years that Liberty has won the Big South indoor men's shot put championship, thanks to a 57-5.5 heave.
• Kyle Wheeler won his third consecutive Big South indoor men's high jump title by clearing 6-7.5.
Take It to the Bank
The Hokie Invitational will mark Liberty's first meet at a banked track in 2014-15, after the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational and Liberty Open were both contested on flat tracks.
Liberty has recorded some fast times over the years on the 200-meter banked oval at Rector Field House, including program records in the women's 200 (24.37), women's 300 (39.55), women's 1,000 (2:52.4), women's 4 x 200 relay (1:47.1), women's 4 x 400 relay (3:46.28), women's 4 x 800 relay (9:15.21), women's sprint medley relay (4:19.4), men's 800 (1:50.7), men's sprint medley relay (2:08.2) and men's distance medley relay (9:51.54).
3 Lady Flames are 2 For 2
Through the first two meets of the 2014-15 indoor track & field season (Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational and Liberty Open), three Lady Flames are unbeaten in their respective events. These include Abigail Flower in the 200, Erin Zappia in the high jump and Janae Jones in the triple jump.
Starting Off with a Bang
The Hokie Invitational's running events will get started Friday at 5 p.m. with the women's and men's 3K races.
The Lady Flames will be represented by the trio of Jacy Christiansen, Ednah Kurgat and Meredith Mistretta. Coming off of a standout 2014 cross country season, Christiansen opened her senior indoor track campaign last weekend at the Liberty Open. She clocked a conference-leading time of 5:03.86 for second place in the mile. A year ago, Christiansen placed third in the Hokie Invitational 3K, clocking a then personal-best time of 9:45.98.
Kurgat will be making her Lady Flames debut on Friday, while Mistretta will race for the first time this season. They will have plenty of talented runners to chase, headlined by All-Americans Chelsea Blaase of Tennessee and Emily Stites of William & Mary.
In the men's 3K, Titus Koech and Sam Hibbs will both look to build off of their cross country performances, while Luke Jelen will run his first race as a Liberty Flame. Koech placed fourth and Hibbs was sixth at this year's Big South Cross Country Championships. Hibbs was the Hokie Invitational 5K champion in 2014.
How High Can You Fly?
The pole vault is always one of the featured events at Virginia Tech's meets, and the Hokie Invitational is no exception. There will be one section of the pole vault contested each day, with all of Liberty's vaulters competing on Friday.
For the Lady Flames, freshmen have won the pole vault at each of this season's first two meets. Audrey Rabe cleared 11-11.75 to take top honors at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, before Mariel Finger vaulted 11-3.75 to win the Liberty Open title. On Friday, Finger will be joined by teammates Chandler Fraley, Jessie Glynn and Brooke Shelton on the pole vault runway.
On the men's side, junior Ken Ritchey vaulted well the last time he competed in Blacksburg. He sailed over a personal-best 15-11 to finish as the 2014 Big South runner-up. However, he was bested by freshman teammate Carson Waters at last weekend's Liberty Open. Both Flames cleared 15-9, with Waters edging Ritchey on misses.
Big South's Best
Five weeks before the 2015 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships commence in Winston-Salem, N.C., Liberty athletes top the conference performance list in the following events:
Women's 60 – Abigail Flower (7.61)
Women's Mile – Jacy Christiansen (Converted time of 5:00.89)
Women's 4 x 400 Relay – (Converted time of 3:52.20)
Women's High Jump – Erin Zappia (5-7)
Women's Pole Vault – Audrey Rabe (11-11.75)
Women's Pentathlon – Riley Brandon (Converted score of 3,554)
Men's 400 – Ryan Davis (Converted time of 50.14)
Men's 4 x 400 Relay – (Converted time of 3:20.88)
Men's Long Jump – Aklesso Agama (22-11.75)
Men's Triple Jump – Aklesso Agama (48-3.25)
Men's Weight Throw – David Scouten (57-7)