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13 Flames Qualify for NCAA Preliminary Round
NCAA East Preliminary Round Men's Qualifiers
NCAA East Preliminary Round Women's Qualifiers
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NCAA East Preliminary Round Schedule
Liberty will send its largest group of student-athletes to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet since 2010, as 13 Flames and Lady Flames will travel to North Carolina A&T's Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, N.C., May 23-25.
The only time more Liberty student-athletes qualified for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet was the inaugural edition in 2010, when 16 Flames and Lady Flames competed in Greensboro.
Nine Liberty men's competitors made the field, including Cody Bingham (Pole Vault), Caleb Edmonds (5K), Aaron Johnson (Long Jump), Chris Johnson (Triple Jump), Josh MacDonald (Steeplechase), Ryan Smith (Shot Put and Hammer), Andre Washington (400 Hurdles), Isaac Wendland (1,500) and Kyle Wheeler (High Jump).
Meanwhile, four Lady Flames throwers qualified for the meet, including Mychelle Cumings (Shot Put and Discus), Christina Mitchell (Javelin), Jennifer Nicholson (Discus) and Jocelyn Williams (Discus).
The three-day meet will begin on May 23 at 10 a.m., and Aaron Johnson will be the first Flame in action. He will long jump starting at 1 p.m. on May 23.
Smith, a redshirt senior, is Liberty's NCAA Preliminary Round veteran. This will be the Georgia native's fourth consecutive appearance at this meet.
Smith is one of two Flames seeded inside the top 12 entering the meet, sitting at No. 12 in the shot put at 60-6. Liberty's highest seed, No. 7, belongs to junior Josh MacDonald, thanks to his IC4A-winning steeplechase time of 8:49.14.
Fellow IC4A champion Isaac Wendland was Liberty's most unlikely NCAA Preliminary Round qualifier. His season-best 1,500-meter time of 3:46.79 ranked No. 64 on the year-end list for the East Region. However, 20 runners ahead of him on the performance list scratched, enabling Wendland to make his third career appearance at this meet.
All 13 of Liberty's NCAA Preliminary Round competitors will be seeking their first trip to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, slated for June 5-8 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
The top 12 finishers in each event at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will advance to Eugene, where they will be joined by 12 qualifiers per event from the concurrent NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round meet, which will take place in Austin, Texas.