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Edmonds, Flower Star for Host Liberty
Good things came in threes for the host team on Saturday at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational. Caleb Edmonds set the program 3K record, Abigail Flower won three events and the Flames and Lady Flames combined for three new IC4A/ECAC qualifying efforts at the newly-renovated Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex.
The sun-drenched day saw Liberty win 17 events during its final tuneup for the 2013 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championship, including 10 by the Lady Flames.
Women's Day Two Recap
Flower continued her strong sophomore campaign by winning the 100, 200 and 4 x 100 relay on Saturday. She set a 100-meter dash personal best of 11.75 to defeat her nearest rival by 0.37 seconds and move into the No. 3 spot in program history. Flower later won the 200 by more than a full second, posting a time of 24.53 into a headwind to defend her title from 2012.
Flower's impressive second-leg carry down the backstretch gave the Lady Flames a 4 x 100 relay advantage that they did not relinquish. The team of Sherri Spruel, Flower, Brittany Crittenden and Olivia Davis notched a season-best and ECAC-qualifying time of 47.25 seconds.
Davis went on to place second behind Flower in the 100 dash, crossing the line in a personal-best time of 12.22.
Liberty closed out the meet with an exclamation point, finishing first and second in the day's final race, the 4 x 400 relay. The all-freshman squad of Ansley Gebben, Brittney Webley, Janae Jones and Corinn Bedell won with a season-best time of 3:54.43. Taking second in 3:56.24 was the quartet of Mary Echols, Flower, Amanda Wimbush and Kelli Ley.
Several of the 4 x 400 entrants also fared well in individual events, highlighted by Jones, who won the triple jump at 38-10.25. Webley took runner-up honors in both hurdle events, equaling her season-best time of 14.35 in the 100 hurdles and racing to a season-best 1:02.69 in the 400 hurdles. The 400 hurdles effort moves her into ninth place in program history.
Bedell came in third in the 400 dash, thanks to a season-best time of 58.80. Meanwhile, Wimbush's 2:13.39 effort in the 800 marked a personal best and claimed the No. 9 spot on Liberty's all-time list.
Liberty won both women's throwing events on Saturday, including Mychelle Cumings' second straight shot put victory at this meet. Her season-best toss of 49-11.75 gave her more than a five-foot cushion over the rest of the field.
Sophomore Jennifer Nicholson pushed her discus personal best to 153-2, moving up to No. 3 in program history and edging teammate Jocelyn Williams (152-11) for the event victory.
Riley Brandon was one of three Lady Flames heptathletes to score more than 4,000 points, winning the competition with her personal-best score of 4,446. She came back late in the competition, after pacing the heptathletes in both the javelin (106-7) and 800 (2:25.34). Brandon now ranks ninth on Liberty's all-time heptathlon list.
Audrey Bamford led for much of the heptathlon before finishing third with a score of 4,343 that was nearly 600 points superior to her previous best. The sophomore tied her long jump personal best of 17-0.5 and threw a javelin personal best of 81-0 on Saturday.
Freshman Erika Jackson rounded out Liberty's 4,000-point scorers, placing fourth with 4,011 points in her heptathlon debut.
The Liberty women's distance runners performed well, highlighted by Khristina Kanagy's second Liberty Collegiate Invitational 1,500 victory in a row. The senior stepped down in distance successfully, leading from wire to wire and winning in a personal-best time of 4:40.18. Kanagy crossed the finish line more than 10 seconds ahead of the field, which also included Courtney Russo's third-place showing in 4:51.70.
Jacy Christiansen surged during the second half of the 5K, opening up a 16-second gap by the end of the race. The sophomore's winning time was 18:01.78 in her outdoor season 5K debut.
Betel Yosef ran a season-best steeplechase time of 11:11.33 for second place. Teammate Jessica Gass clocked the fastest steeplechase of her career, 11:53.98, placing fifth in the race and 10th in program history.
Melissa Rohwer was the runner-up in both the long jump (17-2.75) and triple jump (37-8.5) on Saturday. Meanwhile, Kristen Willeford's 5-3.25 high jump clearance earned second place in the event.
Men's Day Two Recap
Edmonds got the Flames off to a flying start in the first race of the morning, the men's 3K. His winning time of 8:23.83 dipped under both the program and facility records. The previous program standard of 8:24.05 had been set by Stephen Githuka on April 3, 1999.
Teammate Isaac Wendland also broke the existing facility 3K record (8:40.30) with his runner-up time of 8:36.64.
Wendland went on to win the Liberty Collegiate Invitational men's 800 crown for the third time in his career in 1:52.43. Fellow Flame John Sherret was third in 1:55.75.
Wendland closed his busy day by leading off for the Flames' runner-up 4 x 400 relay quartet which finished second in 3:19.71. The grouping also featured Kyle Gill, Tyler Weigandt and Paul Arslain.
Liberty won the men's 4 x 100 relay with a season-best 40.99 clocking. Roderick Spruel, Andre Washington, Tarell Williams and Leonard Robbins toted the baton for the Flames.
Washington also came from behind to win the 400 in 48.65 seconds while placing second in the 400 hurdles in a personal-best and IC4A-qualifying time of 53.34. Robbins was second to Washington in the 400 in 49.08, while Marc Jackson came in third in the 400 hurdles with his personal-best 55.53 time.
Williams won the long jump with a personal-best leap of 23-5.25 that punched his IC4A ticket. He was also Liberty's top finisher in the 100 dash, claiming third place in 10.80 seconds.
Remaining in the jumps, sophomore Kyle Wheeler won the high jump title with a third-attempt clearance at 6-8.25. It gave Wheeler a 3-2 advantage in his head-to-head rivalry with VMI's Avion Jones, who cleared 6-6.25 for second place.
Ryan Smith, who had previously won the men's hammer title on Friday, took first place in the men's shot put and third in the men's discus on Saturday. He won the shot put by more than five feet at 56-10.25, taking home the Liberty Collegiate Invitational championship for the fifth year in a row. Teammate Andrew Woodley was second at 51-2.25.
Smith's third-place discus effort (155-9) trailed only a pair of his teammates who were both competing unattached on Saturday. Tim Abbott won at 160-10, followed by runner-up David Scouten's 160-4 heave.
Twin brothers Chris and Aaron Johnson performed well in the jumping events. Chris placed second in the triple jump and first among collegiate competitors with a 47-9.75 leap that was just shy of his season best. Aaron long jumped a season-best 23-2.75 for fourth place.
Cody Fridgen and Cody Bingham both sailed over 15-3 in the pole vault, finishing third and fourth, respectively. Fridgen's 15-3 clearance marked a season best.
Freshman Jeremie Bourget also notched a top-three finish on the day, clocking a season-best 4:01.58 for third place in the men's 1,500 final.
Liberty will take next weekend off from competition in preparation for the 2013 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The three-day meet will be contested at Liberty for the first time since 2007, with events scheduled for April 18-20 at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex.