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Liberty Returns to Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup
For the sixth consecutive season, the Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field teams will compete in the team-scored Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup. The one-day meet will be contested Saturday at Penn State's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.
The meet is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles and women's weight throw. Track events will commence at noon, when the gun goes off for the men's 5K.
How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available throughout the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup and are accessible by clicking the "live results" link at the top of this page or the "live stats" link on the track & field schedule/results page of LibertyFlames.com.
Team-scored meets are not common in track & field, but this will be Liberty's second scored meet of the 2012-13 indoor season. On Jan. 19, Liberty won the men's title and placed second in the women's team battle at the Wake Forest Invitational at the JDL Fast Track.
Liberty's best-ever team finishes at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup are third on the men's side (2009) and ninth on the women's side (2008, 2010 & 2011).
We are Undefeated
Redshirt senior Ryan Smith and the Liberty men's and women's 4 x 400 relays have all posted three straight victories to begin the 2012-13 indoor campaign. Smith, who is unbeaten in the men's shot put and weight throw this season, has experienced success at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup before. He captured the men's weight throw title at the 2011 Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup.
Past Cup Champions
The Flames will face their stiffest competition of the season on Saturday. During its previous five appearances at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, Liberty has won only 10 total events. Below is a summary of the Flames' past event winners.
2008 – Clendon Henderson (Men's Shot Put)
2009 – Anthony Bryant (Men's High Jump), Sam Chelanga (Men's 3K), Matt Parker (Men's 60 Hurdles), Kolby Shepherd (Men's Pole Vault)
2010 – Kolby Shepherd (Men's Pole Vault), Jaime Watson (Women's 600)
2011 – Anthony Bryant (Men's High Jump), Ryan Smith (Men's Weight Throw)
2012 – Josh MacDonald (Men's 5K)
Take it to the Bank
For all Liberty athletes, other than a handful of distance runners who raced at the Virginia Tech Invitational, Saturday's meet will be their first chance to race on a banked track this season. The Flames have opened the season with a pair of meets at home and a meet at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C. Both facilities feature 200-meter flat tracks.
The 200-meter banked surface at Penn State has been known to produce fast times. Jaime Watson set the Liberty school record for the 600-meter run there in 2010, at 1:28.2. Just last week, the Penn State men's 4 x 200 relay set the NCAA indoor record with a 1:24.70 clocking and the Nittany Lions' Casimir Loxsom raced to an American collegiate record time in the 600, 1:15.79.
Positive First Impression
Football defensive back Walt Aikens performed well in his collegiate track & field debut at Saturday's Liberty Open, tying for second place in the high jump at 6-6.75 and placing third in the long jump at 23-2.5. Aikens' long jump mark qualified him for the IC4A meet and ranks fourth nationally among collegiate football players, according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Among the Nation's Best
Ryan Smith recorded a personal-best weight throw of 64-4 at last Saturday's Liberty Open, claiming the No. 21 spot on the NCAA Division I national list. That is the Flames' highest national ranking in any event at this point in the season.
Teammate Caleb Edmonds sits No. 24 on the men's 5K list at 14:26.36. That time is a conversion from his winning 5K time of 14:35.64 from the season-opening Liberty Kickoff, due to Liberty's track being a 200-meter flat surface.
Breaking Down the Big South
Three weeks before the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships (Feb. 21-22), a number of Flames and Lady Flames top the conference performance list in their respective events.
On the men's side, Liberty's top-ranked Big South performers include Cody Bingham/Cody Fridgen (tied for first in the Pole Vault), Caleb Edmonds (5K), ConRoy Smith (200), Ryan Smith (Shot Put/Weight Throw) and the 4 x 400 relay quartet.
The Liberty men's and women's teams remained within the USTFCCCA Regional Index this week. The Flames are ranked No. 13 in the Southeast Region, with the Lady Flames checking in at No. 15. Liberty is the only Big South team represented in the listing, which is topped by the Clemson men's and women's squads.