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ECAC/IC4A Meets Up Next For Liberty Men's and Women's Track Teams
A dozen Liberty men's athletes will compete in the 86th IC4A Championship at the Boston University Track and Field Pavilion against many of the top Division I teams from the East Coast. The meet will begin at noon Saturday with the heptathlon 55-meter dash and the pole vault. Clarence Murray (Jr., Birdsboro, Pa.) and Daniel Newell (So., Roanoke, Va.) will both participate in the heptathlon and will thus be the first two Flames to take the track.
As usual, Josh McDougal (Jr., Peru, N.Y.) and Jordan McDougal (So., Peru, N.Y.) will be two runners to watch. Josh, the two-time defending meet champion and record holder at 3,000 meters, will focus on the 5,000 meters in an effort to guarantee a spot at next weekend's national meet. McDougal previously ran a Big South and school record time of 13:52.13, but may need to shave some time if he hopes to run at the national meet in Fayetteville, Ark., next weekend.
Meanwhile, Jordan McDougal will be running both the 3,000 and the 5,000 meters. He has been running well lately, according to coach Brant Tolsma, and is hoping for a breakthrough performance.
Phil Leineweber (So., New Freedom, Pa.) will be running much shorter events, the 500 meters and the 4 x 400 relay. He placed seventh in the 500 a season ago as a freshman.
Leineweber will be joined on the 4 x 400 by Travis Campbell (Sr., Candler, N.C.), Josh Gilreath (Jr., Reidsville, N.C.) and Tim O'Donnell (So., Hurst, Texas). Campbell will also be participating in the open 800 meters.
Markus Greenleaf (So., Laceys Springs, Ala.), sprinting the 55-meter dash, is the Flames' final running event competitor heading to Boston. Jon Hart (Jr., Wyomissing, Pa.) and Clendon Henderson (Jr., Meadow, Texas) will both double up between the shot put and weight throw. Matt Parker (So., Rome, N.Y.) is slated for the high jump.
With so many of his male athletes participating in this weekend's meet, a number of whom figure to score points, Tolsma is cautiously optimistic. "There are so many teams competing that it's sort of hard to tell how things will end up this weekend. This meet will sort of serve as a preview of the IC4A outdoor meet."
Six Lady Flames will make the trip to Boston's Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center for the two-day ECAC Championships. The meet commences with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles at 9 a.m. Saturday. Arlene Zelinskas (Sr., Dayton, Ohio) and Marie Williams (Jr., Tampa, Fla.) will both be competing and aiming for significant improvements.
Zelinskas placed fourth in the event at last year's ECAC indoor meet, tallying 3,630 points. She will have plenty of competition this season, as she tries to improve her season-best mark of 3,882 tallies, achieved at the On Track Open at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center on Jan. 26.
The Buckeye State native may need to improve her score by at least 100 points in order to punch her ticket to the national meet for the first time. Tolsma believes such an increase is possible, "Arlene went over 19 feet in the long jump at the Big South meet and also ran great in the hurdles (equaling the conference record of 8.47). Putting it all together on the same day will be the challenge."
Zelinskas should have no shortage of competition, as there could be as many as 13 nationally-ranked pentathletes entered. "The pentathlon promises to be very high in quality," Tolsma observed.
Carol Jefferson (Jr., Schwenksville, Pa.) and Piper Newby (Jr., Hayden Lake, Idaho) are both set to run the 5,000 meters. Andrea Beckles (So., Lynchburg, Va.) is entered at 60 meters, while Charlene Hibbert (Jr., Mississauga, Ontario) will participate in both the long jump and the triple jump.