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Flames Post 6 IC4A Qualifiers at Liberty Quad
Liberty closed out the home portion of its 2012-13 indoor track & field season in impressive fashion at Friday's seventh annual Liberty Quad. The home team notched six new IC4A-qualifying performances on the day at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, including a pair by redshirt freshman Cody Bingham.
Bingham's IC4A qualifiers came in the men's pole vault and heptathlon. The men's 800 trio of John Sherret, Jarred Cornfield and Trevor Hope crossed the finish line nearly simultaneously and under the IC4A standard. Meanwhile, sophomore Kyle Wheeler rounded out the Flames' new IC4A qualifiers in the men's high jump. Liberty now has 20 different athletes who have qualified for this year's IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championship.
Men's Meet Recap
Competing in his inaugural collegiate heptathlon, Bingham built upon a strong opening day with an even better second day on Friday. After clocking 8.61 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, Bingham made dramatic third-attempt pole vault clearances at both 15-5 and a personal-best 15-9. The latter clearance met the IC4A pole vault standard, tied him for 10th place in program history and put him in a nice position to chase the IC4A heptathlon mark in the 1,000-meter run.
Knowing that he needed to run a 1,000-meter time around 3:03, Bingham crossed the line in 3:01.51. His winning and IC4A-qualifying score of 5,015 points ranks No. 5 on Liberty's all-time heptathlon list.
Ironically, three of the four athletes ahead of Bingham on the Flames' heptathlon ledger were working at Friday's meet in various capacities, including No. 1 Brandon Hoskins, No. 2 Daniel Newell and No. 4 Matt Parker. Newell, the Liberty track & field director of operations, even paced Bingham through the first three laps of the 1,000.
In the men's 800, Cornfield set a strong early pace before being overtaken by Sherret at the very end of the race. Sherret was awarded the victory in 1:56.10, with Cornfield clocked in 1:56.11. Hope followed closely behind in 1:56.40, making it three Flames who dipped under the IC4A standard of 1:56.54 on Friday. Cornfield has now punched his IC4A ticket in the 800, 1,000 and distance medley relay.
The reigning Big South indoor and outdoor men's high jump champion, Wheeler placed second to talented VMI freshman Avion Jones on Friday. However, Wheeler's season-best high jump clearance of 6-8.25 earned a spot in the IC4A meet.
Walt Aikens earned the first event victory of his young collegiate track & field career on Friday, doing so in resounding fashion. He took top honors in the men's long jump, as his season-best 23-5.5 leap outdistanced his nearest competitor by a foot.
Staying in the field events, Cody Fridgen shared second place in the men's pole vault final at 15-3, while Andrew Woodley came in third in the men's shot put, with a top mark of 48-10.75.
Paul Arslain made a strong indoor 400-meter debut on Friday, taking runner-up honors in a time of 50.10 seconds. Later, he was joined by Wheeler, Hope and Sherret on the third-place 4 x 400 relay quartet. Their time was 3:30.53.
One of several Liberty distance runners who dropped down to the mile distance on Friday, Josh MacDonald raced to a personal-best time of 4:20.35 and third place overall.
Competing unattached, Liberty redshirt senior Isaac Wendland was the only men's athlete to break a facility record on Friday. He took down the 1,000-meter standard with his wire-to-wire victory in 2:27.14.
Women's Meet Recap
Kristen Willeford was one of three Lady Flames to place second in their events on Friday. Her runner-up finish came in the high jump, thanks to the highest clearance of her Liberty career, 5-5.75. Willeford's height, the best by a Lady Flame this season, ties her with Anna-Kate Jarman for fifth place on Liberty's all-time indoor list.
Liberty's other second-place finishers were Amanda Wimbush in the 800 (2:16.46) and Meredith Mistretta in the 1,000 (personal-best 3:12.82).
Christina Mitchell long jumped 17-6 to take third place, while freshman Brittney Webley took third place in the 60 hurdles final after clocking a season-best time of 8.94 in the prelims.
Three of Webley's fellow freshmen contributed to the Lady Flames' third-place effort in the 4 x 400 relay. Kelli Ley, Brittany Crittenden and Corinn Bedell teamed up with Wimbush for a time of 4:05.23.
Meanwhile, Liberty's fastest performer in the women's 400 dash was yet another freshman, Ansley Gebben. Heretofore known for her exploits as an outside hitter on the Liberty volleyball team, Gebben's first collegiate track & field race resulted in a time of 1:00.15 and fourth place in the event.
The trio of Rachel Barnes, Jennifer Nicholson and Bari Minter shook up the Liberty all-time performance list in the throwing events, as all three recorded new personal-best marks. In the shot put, Barnes threw 43-0.25 for eighth place in the event and fifth in program history. Meanwhile, Nicholson's put of 42-1.5 netted ninth place in the event and eighth in Liberty annals. Minter's weight throw mark of 49-2.25 was good for eighth place in her event and sixth place on the all-time Liberty ledger.
Senior Meghan Burggraf, competing unattached, celebrated her 22nd birthday by winning the women's 800 with a meet-record clocking of 2:13.23.
The lone women's facility record-breaking performance of the day went to Appalachian State's Breanna Alston. She sped to a record time of 24.67 while winning the 200-meter dash.
The Flames and Lady Flames who competed on Friday will take next weekend off from competition in preparation for the 2013 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. The two-day meet will be held Feb. 21-22 at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C.