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Liberty Collegiate Invite to Christen New-Look Facility
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Liberty's newly-renovated Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex will play host to its first meet this Friday and Saturday, the Liberty Collegiate Invitational. The first of three home meets on the Flames' 2013 outdoor schedule will feature athletes from 17 different schools.
The two-day event will get started Friday at 1 p.m., when the gun goes off for the decathlon 100-meter dash. Saturday's action will commence at 9:30 a.m., with the men's 3K and women's pole vault.
How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available for both days of competition, and links may be found on the track & field schedule/results page of LibertyFlames.com.
Periodic updates will also be posted to the Liberty Flames Twitter account (@libertyflames) throughout the meet.
Friday and Saturday's weather in Lynchburg is forecasted to be pleasant for the meet. Friday calls for a high of 63 degrees under partly cloudy skies, with a 20 percent chance of rain in the morning. Saturday is expected to feature abundant sunshine and a high of 61.
The Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex has undergone a complete overhaul since the 2012 Liberty Collegiate Invitational. The renovations, which were conducted by Beynon Sports Surfaces, included a complete rebuilding of the track surface. The Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex now features eight 48-inch lanes, two shot put sectors, two discus rings, two pole vault runways and two long jump/triple jump runways.
Additionally, the javelin runway and steeplechase pit were both moved from the north end of the facility to the south end, with the steeplechase pit now being located outside the track oval.
Big South Preview
Liberty will host the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the first time since 2007, April 18-20. Half of the conference's 10 track & field-sponsoring members will compete in this weekend's Liberty Collegiate Invitational, including Campbell, High Point, Liberty, Radford and VMI.
All four of the reigning Big South Athletes of the Week will be in action at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex this weekend, including Men's Track Athlete of the Week Marcus Thompson of Campbell (100, 200, 4 x 100, 4 x 400), Women's Track Athlete of the Week Lynette Akai of Campbell (200, 400, 4 x 100, 4 x 400), Men's Field Athlete of the Week Christian Spaulding of High Point (discus, javelin) and Women's Field Athlete of the Week Christine Rickert of High Point (discus, javelin).
Last season, Liberty broke two school records at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational, both of which still stand. The Lady Flames' 4 x 100 relay quartet of Meme Layne, Abigail Flower, Olivia Charnuski and Alyssa Pegues posted a record time of 45.90 seconds. Later in the day, Mychelle Cumings pushed the women's discus school record to 167-0.
Liberty plans an assault on the outdoor men's 3K standard Saturday at 9:30 a.m. The existing program record in the rarely-contested outdoor event is 8:24.05, set by Stephen Githuka on April 3, 1999.
Three of the Flames' entrants in Saturday morning's race own indoor 3K personal-best times close to or faster than Githuka's record, including Caleb Edmonds (8:03.39), Josh MacDonald (8:22.78) and David Ricksecker (8:24.32).
Both the Liberty men's and women's track & field teams are listed in the initial U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) regional index for the 2013 outdoor season. The Flames rank No. 7 in the Southeast Region, while the Lady Flames check in at No. 14.
10 Events You Won't Want to Miss
Listed in chronological order
Friday, 5 p.m. (approximately) – Women's Javelin – Liberty redshirt senior Christina Mitchell is the defending Big South women's javelin champion and has extended her school record to 151-4 this season. However, High Point freshman Christine Rickert appears to be a strong challenger for top honors in the conference. The reigning Big South Women's Field Athlete of the Week hurled the javelin a school-record 148-4 at the High Point VertKlasse Meeting and will face Mitchell for the first time on Friday. The field also includes Lynchburg College's Leah Heal, the 2012 ODAC women's javelin champion.
Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – Men's 3K – A late addition to the meet schedule, the men's 3K figures to put both the Liberty school (8:24.05) and facility records (8:40.30) in serious jeopardy. Leading the charge will be the Flames' Caleb Edmonds and Josh MacDonald, both of whom posted sterling times at last weekend's Stanford Invitational. Edmonds notched a 5K time of 13:57.09 while MacDonald dropped his 10K personal best to 29:57.64 in his home state.
Saturday, 11 a.m. – Men's Shot Put – The first shot put competition in the new sector at the south end of the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex will feature Liberty redshirt senior Ryan Smith's attempt at his fifth straight Liberty Collegiate Invitational title. Teammate Andrew Woodley is coming off of a personal-best and IC4A-qualifying shot put mark of 51-9.25 at the Raleigh Relays. The field also includes the reigning ODAC indoor (Lynchburg College's Eric Van Dunk) and outdoor (Lynchburg College's Greg Wilson) men's shot put titlists.
Saturday, 2 p.m. (approximately) – Men's Triple Jump – Former Liberty standout Anthony Bryant returns to compete at his alma mater after placing seventh in the triple jump at the 2013 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships. He previously took first place at this meet in both 2010 and 2011. His top contenders could be the reigning Big South indoor triple jump runner-up (Campbell's Christopher Cleare), the 2011 Big South outdoor triple jump champion (Liberty's Chris Johnson) and the 2013 ODAC indoor triple jump runner-up (Lynchburg College's Tristan Boysaw).
Saturday, 2 p.m. (approximately) – Women's Triple Jump – Across the infield from the men's triple jump, some of the Big South's top women's triple jumpers will go head to head. Five of the top seven finishers from the 2013 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships are entered in the meet, led by Big South runner-up Janae Jones of Liberty. She will face third-place Melissa Rohwer of Liberty, fifth-place Jacquelyn Reid of Campbell, sixth-place Jamiecka Baker of Radford and seventh-place Kaitlin Whittington of High Point.
Saturday, 2:30 p.m. – Women's Shot Put – The Big South indoor women's shot put champion (Liberty's Mychelle Cumings) and runner-up (VMI's Renee Reives) headline the field. Other athletes of note include Southern Conference indoor runner-up Charlise Morgan from Elon and ECAC indoor qualifier Adrienne Alexander of James Madison. Cumings captured the 2012 Liberty Collegiate Invitational women's shot put crown.
Saturday, 3:10 p.m. – Men's 800 – The men's 800 field features five of the top eight finishers from the 2013 Big South indoor meet. The list includes third-place finisher John Sherret of Liberty, fourth-place Andrey Dmitriev of VMI, fifth-place Paul O'Donoghue of High Point, seventh-place Jake Zimmerman of Radford and eighth-place Avery Martin of VMI. Roanoke's Andrew Bernstein, the ODAC indoor 800-meter runner-up, should also be in the mix.
Saturday, 3:25 p.m. – Women's 800 – NCAA Division III indoor 800-meter national runner-up Carmen Graves of Roanoke headlines a talented field of women's 800 runners. Danielle Alfano has clocked a time of 2:10.65 this season, while VMI's Jenna Moye raced to the Big South indoor mile championship. Liberty will be paced by Amanda Wimbush, who has dropped her personal best to 2:14.82 this season. Lady Flames assistant coach Rebekah Ricksecker, who won this event at the 2011 Liberty Collegiate Invitational, also appears on the start list. A high schooler could contend as well, as Liberty Christian Academy senior Micah Brickhill was the 2012 VISAA outdoor 800-meter champion.
Saturday, 3:55 p.m. – Women's 400 Hurdles – Versatile athlete Kathryn Warner tops the women's 400 hurdles performance list after posting a time of 1:02.09 during her season debut last weekend. Elon's Veronica Luedke was the 2011 Southern Conference 400 hurdles runner-up. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames will enter a talented trio of freshmen in Ansley Gebben, Brittney Webley and Mary Echols. Gebben currently ranks second in the Big South with a season-best time of 1:02.89.
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. (approximately) – Men's High Jump – The meet's final field event will feature the fifth head-to-head matchup between two of the Big South's top young high jumpers, Liberty sophomore Kyle Wheeler and VMI freshman Avion Jones. Wheeler is 2-2 against Jones this season, including a victory at the Big South indoor meet for the third conference title of his young career. However, Jones owns a slightly higher outdoor season-best clearance than Wheeler in 2013, 6-11 to 6-10.75. The facility record of 6-11.5 could be in play on Saturday afternoon.