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Liberty Men Claim Wake Forest Invite Title
Keyed by six event victories and three new IC4A-qualifying performances, the Liberty men's squad took home the team title at Saturday's Wake Forest Invitational. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames finished a close second to Elon at the JDL Fast Track, which will host the 2013 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships next month.
Liberty's men's team racked up 131.5 points during the one-day meet to pace the field of 11 teams. The Flames outdistanced runner-up Charleston Southern by 44 points.
On the women's side, the Lady Flames tallied 88.5 points. That left Liberty 3.5 points shy of Elon's winning score of 92 points and eight points in front of the third-place host team from Wake Forest. There were 14 total women's squads in attendance at the meet, including five Big South teams.
Men's Meet Recap
For the second straight meet to start his final indoor season, redshirt senior Ryan Smith swept the men's shot put (52-9.5) and weight throw (60-4.5) titles in dominating fashion. Teammate Jacob DeValve was his next closest competitor in the shot put at 49-5, while Smith won the weight throw crown by seven feet.
ConRoy Smith also carried his success from the Liberty Kickoff into Saturday's meet, winning the 200-meter dash and finishing as the 60-meter runner-up. Smith was not seeded in the fastest 200-meter heat, but his season-best time of 22.05 seconds held up for victory and claimed the No. 10 spot in program history.
In the 60, Smith sped to an IC4A-qualifying time of 6.85 seconds. The effort ties him with Jacey Bailey for second place in Liberty annals.
Liberty's other new IC4A qualifiers were Leonard Robbins in the 200-meter dash and Aaron Johnson in the long jump. Robbins finished third in the 200 in 22.48 seconds, while Johnson won the long jump with an indoor personal-best leap of 23-6.
Cody Fridgen pole vaulted a season-best 14-11 to win the event, before the Flames' final event victory of the afternoon came in the 4 x 400 relay. The quartet of Andre Washington, Smith, Robbins and Paul Arslain held off a hard-charging Charleston Southern squad to win in 3:23.35.
Earlier in the day, Washington had finished as the 400-meter dash runner-up in 49.92 seconds and placed eighth in the 60 hurdles with an 8.86 clocking. Washington reached the 60 hurdles final with a personal-best 8.35 effort in the prelims, climbing into a share of ninth place in program history.
Other top finishers for Liberty included sophomores Kyle Wheeler (tied for second in high jump, 6-4) and John Sherret (third in 800, 1:57.94).
Women's Meet Recap
Freshmen played an important role in the Lady Flames' successful showing in Winston-Salem, led by Janae Jones. She was the triple jump runner-up with a season-best leap of 39-4.5, which hit the ECAC qualifying standard and boosted her to No. 4 in program history.
Jones also came in third in the long jump at 17-11.5 before joining three fellow freshmen on Liberty's victorious 4 x 400 relay squad. Kelli Ley, Brittney Webley and Corinn Bedell comprised the other three legs of the relay team, which crossed the line in 4:04.33.
Sophomore Mychelle Cumings remained undefeated in the shot put this season with a winning mark of 49-1. She also improved her weight throw personal-best mark to 51-10 while notching a fourth-place finish.
Fellow sophomore Abigail Flower came in third in both the 60 and 200-meter dash finals. Flower posted a time of 7.67 seconds in the 60 final after recording a 7.65 during the prelims. Her 200 official 200 time was 25.40 seconds.
Amanda Wimbush also recorded a lofty finish for the Lady Flames, running the 800 in 2:20.07 for third place.
Liberty will hold its second home meet of the season, the Liberty Open, next Friday and Saturday at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center. Friday's action is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., with Saturday's first event slated for 9 a.m.