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Liberty Men's Track Places 4th at Samford Invite
Despite taking only 10 athletes to Birmingham, the Liberty men's indoor track & field team placed fourth at the Samford Invitational, Friday at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames came in 10th in the women's competition at the site of the 2016 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.
All 10 Flames who competed on Friday scored points, headlined by men's 800-meter runner-up Michael Todd and redshirt senior David Scouten, who tallied 11 points in the two throwing events. Louisville dominated the 12-team men's field with 117.5 points, while South Alabama (second place, 56 points), Charlotte (third, 55.5) and Liberty (fourth, 55) were separated by a single point.
The Lady Flames' top finish of the day, third place, came in the afternoon's final event, the 4 x 400 relay. The nine Liberty women's athletes who competed in the meet totaled 19.5 points for 10th place out of 16 squads. Louisville made it a sweep of the team titles, scoring 108.5 points to runner-up Georgia's 92.
Men's Meet Recap
In just the second 800-meter race of his freshman season, Todd came in second overall and first among collegiate competitors with a time of 1:53.35. Teammate Colin Schultz followed in fourth place, crossing the finish line in 1:56.26.
Scouten, who had won the Samford Invitational men's weight throw championship a year ago, placed third in the weight (season-best 59-8.5) and fourth in the shot put (season-best 51-3.75) on Friday.
Fred Fulton added a third-place finish in the shot put (season-best and Big South-leading 53-9) and a sixth-place showing in the weight throw (55-11.25).
The Flames' 4 x 400 relay quartet of Ryan Davis, Todd, Jeff Jacobs and Stephen Racanelli clocked a time of 3:17.23 for fourth place. The relay wrapped up a three-event day for reigning Big South Men's Track Athlete of the Week Racanelli, who also came in fifth in the 200 (season-best 21.84) and sixth in the 400 (48.81).
Cameron Francis sliced four seconds off of his mile personal best on Friday, cutting it to 4:15.60 for fifth place. The sophomore now ranks No. 1 in the Big South this season and No. 10 in program history.
Women's Meet Recap
Corinn Bedell, Nicole Leonzo, Erin Edmond and Ansley Gebben comprised the Lady Flames' third-place 4 x 400 relay squad. Their time of 3:48.46 marked a season best and made them the sixth-fastest women's 4 x 400 grouping in program history.
Earlier in the day, Gebben was one of two Lady Flames to clock sub-2:13 800 times. Delaney McDowell placed fifth in 2:12.47, lowering her own Liberty freshman record. Meanwhile, Gebben won her heat and came in sixth overall in a personal-best 2:12.60.
Seniors Edmond (sixth place, 55.68) and Bedell (10th, 56.85) each placed inside the top 10 in the 400-meter dash.
Erin Zappia high jumped 5-5, putting her in a tie for sixth place in the final standings.
Fellow sophomore Dasiana Larson improved her shot put personal best to 44-4.75 on Friday. The ECAC-qualifying mark was good for eighth place in the event and No. 4 on Liberty's all-time list.
Liberty will take next week off from competition in preparation for the 2016 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. The meet will be contested Feb. 26-27 at Rector Field House in Blacksburg, Va. The Liberty men's squad will seek its 19th consecutive Big South indoor team title, while the Lady Flames will be in search of their first indoor championship since 2012.