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Smith Punches Ticket to Eugene in Shot Put
Liberty redshirt senior Ryan Smith earned his first trip to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a 12th-place finish in the men's shot put, Friday at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet at Aggie Stadium.
Smith put himself into a good position with a 59-4.75 throw during the second round. The Georgia native sat in ninth place entering the final three rounds of throws but had to endure some nervous moments. He dropped into 10th place after the fourth round and the 11th spot at the conclusion of the fifth round before ending up as the event's 12th and final qualifier to the NCAA national final.
Smith, who had finished inside the top 18 at this meet for three straight years before Friday, broke through to become the first Liberty men's shot putter ever to qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He will compete on June 5 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Josh MacDonald led during the early stages of his men's 3,000-meter steeplechase heat late Friday night but could not hang on. The IC4A steeplechase champion finished sixth in his heat and 23rd overall in the event, in a time of 9:02.56.
Junior Jocelyn Williams competed in her second event in as many days Friday morning, but fouled all three of her attempts in the women's hammer.
Liberty will have seven athletes in action on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. when Smith competes in the men's hammer.