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Liberty Open Slated for Friday and Saturday
After a six-week break from competition, the Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field teams will return to action at this weekend's ninth annual Liberty Open. The meet will take place Friday and Saturday inside the Tolsma Indoor Track Center.
The two-day event, which will include athletes from 11 different colleges, will begin Friday at 2 p.m. with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles. The men's weight throw will get Saturday's action started, beginning at 9 a.m.
How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available during both days of competition, by clicking the appropriate links on the Liberty track & field schedule/results page.
The Liberty Open will be Liberty's first meet since the season-opening Liberty Kickoff, which took place six weeks ago, on Dec. 4-5. Interestingly, Liberty is also six weeks away from the 2014 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, which are slated for Feb. 28 and March 1 at Virginia Tech's Rector Field House in Blacksburg, Va.
Friday Night Lights
Most of the Liberty Open events will take place on Saturday, but two of the meet's more intriguing disciplines (women's weight throw and women's pole vault) will take place Friday evening, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Liberty redshirt junior Jocelyn Williams headlines the field of entrants in the women's weight throw. The defending Liberty Open champion in this event won the season-opening Liberty Kickoff with a mark of 61-1.5. That throw ranks No. 22 nationally during the early stages of the 2013-14 indoor season.
In addition to teammates Jennifer Nicholson and Rachel Barnes, Williams will face Elon's senior duo of Kimberlyn Holt (2013 Southern Conference hammer champion) and Charlise Morgan (53-8.5 weight throw best in 2013) as well as 2013 ODAC weight throw runner-up Ashley Thomas of Lynchburg College.
In the women's pole vault, Liberty freshmen Brooke Shelton (11-5.75) and Jessie Glynn (10-11.75) got their collegiate careers off to solid starts at the Liberty Kickoff. This time around, they will go head-to-head with four-time ODAC champion Jillian Katterhagen of Washington & Lee. Also in the field is Morgan Danner, a multiple-time Liberty League pole vault champion during her time at RPI.
The mid-distance races could provide some compelling action on Saturday, especially the women's mile and the men's 800.
They will compete against some of the Southern Conference's best distance runners, including a trio of sub-17:00 5K performers in UNCG's Chelsea Sumney and Shaina Sumney and Elon's Allyson Oram. Additionally, Elon's Tereza Novotna, a 10:42 steeplechase runner, is in the field.
Liberty junior John Sherret was the Liberty Kickoff men's 800 champion in a time of 1:57.56. This time around, he will face freshman teammate Colin Schultz for the first time. Schultz ran an 800 time of 1:52.77 last year at Liberty High School in Las Vegas.
Other men's 800 entrants to watch include Luke Sohl of Bridgewater and Andrew Bernstein of Roanoke. Sohl won a trio of ODAC titles in 2013, including the indoor mile and 3K and the outdoor 1,500. Bernstein was the 2013 ODAC indoor runner-up at 800 meters.
The name Tianna Bartoletta, with her time of 7.05 seconds, jumps off of the women's 60-meter dash entry list. Known as Tianna Madison for most of her professional career, Bartoletta was part of Team USA's gold-medal winning and world-record setting performance in the 4 x 100 relay at the 2012 Olympics. She was also the 2005 world champion in the women's long jump.
If Bartoletta competes on Saturday, the women's 60 facility record of 7.31 seconds will be in serious jeopardy. She would also become the latest among Team USA's top sprinters to compete on Liberty's campus. Barbara Pierre ran a sterling wind-aided time of 10.99 seconds in the 100-meter dash at the 2013 Liberty Twilight Qualifier.
Big South's Best
At this point of the 2013-14 indoor season, Liberty athletes top the Big South Conference performance list in numerous events.
On the men's side, the Flames' conference leaders include ConRoy Smith in the 60 (6.90), Stephen Racanelli in the 200 (converted time of 22.33), Jacob Onifer in the mile (converted time of 4:21.83), Aklesso Agama in the triple jump (48-7.25), Fred Fulton in the shot put (57-1.5) and Cody Bingham in the heptathlon (converted score of 5,045 points).
Lady Flames who sit atop the Big South leaderboard include Abigail Flower in the 60 (7.72), Rajon Stinnett-Perry in the 200 (converted time of 25.99), Kristen Willeford in the high jump (5-5), Oasis Hernandez in the long jump (18-7), Rachel Barnes in the shot put (44-11.5), Jocelyn Williams in the weight throw (61-1.5) and Audrey Bamford in the pentathlon (converted score of 3,476 points).