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Liberty Wins 13 Events on Saturday
The number 13 was not unlucky for the host Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field teams on Saturday at the Liberty Open. The Flames and Lady Flames combined to win 13 events at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center and notch four new IC4A/ECAC qualifiers on the day.
Redshirt senior Ryan Smith (men's shot put and weight throw) and sophomore Abigail Flower (women's 60 and 200) each won a pair of individual events. Newcomer Walt Aikens (long jump), Jarred Cornfield (1,000) and Tarell Williams (long jump) all qualified for the IC4A meet for the first time this season, while Melissa Rohwer recorded an ECAC qualifier in the women's triple jump.
Men's Meet Recap
Smith remained unbeaten on the season in both the shot put and weight throw, while sweeping the two events at the Liberty Open for the second straight year. His winning weight throw of 64-4 was a lifetime best and ranks No. 21 nationally. Smith's top shot put mark, 56-11.5, set a season best.
Three Liberty long jumpers went over 23 feet, as the Flames took three of the top four places. Williams won the event with a personal-best and IC4A-qualifying leap of 23-3.25 on his sixth and final attempt. Aikens, who also plays football at Liberty, sailed 23-2.5 for third place and his IC4A qualifier. Kevin Reddington landed at 23-0.75 for fourth place.
Competing in his first collegiate track & field meet, Aikens later high jumped 6-6.25 to tie for runner-up honors in that event.
Leonard Robbins successfully defended his Liberty Open title in the 400-meter dash with a season-best time of 50.09 seconds. Teammate ConRoy Smith successfully stepped up in distance, clocking a personal-best 50.39 for third place in the event.
Paul Arslain and Kyle Gill finished 1-2 in the 500-meter final, with Arslain finishing in 1:06.33 and Gill following in 1:07.58.
Robbins, Smith, Gill and Arslain then teamed up to win the day's final event, the 4 x 400 relay. Liberty is now three-for-three in winning the 4 x 400 relay this season after holding off crosstown foe Lynchburg College in a time of 3:23.81.
Cornfield was the Liberty men's squad's other event victor, thanks to his IC4A-qualifying 1,000-meter effort of 2:29.76.
Liberty performed well in the pole vault, placing second, third and tied for fourth behind volunteer assistant coach Kolby Shepherd's impressive victory. Shepherd was the only athlete in the meet to set a new facility record, with his winning vault of 17-7.
Behind Shepherd, Cody Fridgen was second and Cody Bingham placed third with matching clearances of 15-3. Ken Ritchey shared fourth place with his 14-9 clearance.
Aaron Johnson came in third overall and first among collegiate entrants with his top mark of 45-10 in the triple jump.
Despite an unfortunate no-height in the pole vault, Tevan McIntire still managed to place third in the heptathlon with a score of 4,360 points.
Women's Meet Recap
Flower matched her achievement from the season-opening Liberty Kickoff with her triumphs in the women's 60 and 200-meter dash events. She won both events by wide margins, clocking 7.65 seconds for the 60 and 25.42 seconds for the 200.
Freshmen Mary Echols and Corinn Bedell swept the top two positions in the 400 final, with Echols crossing the line in 59.12 and Bedell trailing just behind in 59.78 seconds.
Echols and Bedell later teamed up with fellow rookies Kelli Ley and Janae Jones for the Lady Flames' third straight 4 x 400 relay victory to start the 2012-13 campaign. The quartet's winning time of 3:59.71 put the Lady Flames 10 seconds in front of runner-up High Point.
Jones opened her day with a victory in the triple jump. Her winning jump of 39-9.75 established a lifetime best and moved her up to No. 3 on Liberty's all-time indoor women's triple jump list.
Rohwer's collegiate-best triple jump of 39-2.5 placed her second and punched the sophomore's ECAC ticket. She then followed up that performance with an indoor personal-best long jump of 18-0.5, winning that event.
Rachel Barnes threw the shot 40-11.75 for second place, while Lady Flames Olivia Davis (60, personal-best 8.01), Brittney Webley (60 hurdles, 9.11) and Amanda Wimbush (800, 2:20.47) came in third in their respective disciplines.
On a light day of action for most of her distance runners, assistant coach Rebekah Ricksecker won a pair of races herself. She took first place in the 1,000 with a time of 3:02.72 and prevailed in the mile in 5:09.22.
Liberty's next meet will be the team-scored Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, hosted by Penn State in University Park, Pa. Next Saturday's event will begin at 9 a.m. at Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. This will be the sixth straight season the Flames have competed in the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup.