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Hart and Henderson Eclipse Throwing Records at Shamrock Invitational

March 17, 2007
|  Conway, S.C.
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Jon Hart broke two school records and a Big South Conference record over the weekend, including Bill Gillespie's 24-year-old shot put mark.

Jon Hart broke two school records and a Big South Conference record over the weekend, including Bill Gillespie's 24-year-old shot put mark.

Liberty junior throwers Jon Hart and Clendon Henderson excelled in the windy conditions at Friday and Saturday's Shamrock Invitational, hosted by Coastal Carolina, combining to break a trio of school records and two Big South Conference marks. All in all, the Flames won 10 events, including a quartet of relays. 

Hart (Wyomissing, Pa.), ranked first on the initial NCAA national outdoor track and field performance list in the hammer throw, dominated the field on Friday. His winning mark of 204-7, which outdistanced the event runner-up by nearly 14 feet, improved upon the school record he had established the previous weekend. 

Hart then came back on Saturday to win the shot put with a top mark of 57-7.5. His throw set new Liberty and Big South Conference records and qualified him for the NCAA East Regional meet. The previously existing school record, 55-8.5, had been set by Bill Gillespie in May 1983. Gillespie now serves as Liberty's head strength and conditioning coach. 

Henderson (Meadow, Texas) got involved in the record-setting afternoon in the discus. He placed third in the event with a 180-2 heave. Like Hart's efforts, Henderson's mark represented a new Liberty and Big South Conference record. It additionally improved his regional qualifier in the discipline. 

Also qualifying for the regional meet was Tim O'Donnell (Jr., Hurst, Texas), in the 400-meter hurdles. O'Donnell captured the event title in a time of 52.10, which made him the No. 4 all-time performer at Liberty. O'Donnell was the 110-meter hurdle runner-up in 14.63 and anchored the Flames' 4 x 400 squad to victory with a 3:16.09 clocking. Also included on the winning relay team were Philip Leineweber (So., New Freedom, Pa.), Josh Gilreath (Jr., Reidsville, N.C.) and Travis Campbell (Sr., Candler, N.C.). 

Leineweber and Campbell comprised half of Liberty's victorious distance medley relay team Friday evening. Jordan McDougal (So., Peru, N.Y.) led off and Josh McDougal (Jr., Peru, N.Y.) anchored the unit to a time of 9:46.44 with a 4:01 split for 1600 meters. The quartet posted the second-best time in program history. 

Matt Parker (So., Rome, N.Y.) contributed a pair of second-place finishes for the Liberty men's squad. He placed second in the high jump with a leap of 6-6.75 and shared the second position in the long jump, topping out at 21-9.5. 

The Lady Flames won five events and senior Arlene Zelinskas (Dayton, Ohio) had a hand in four of the triumphs. She swept both sprint hurdle events, coming from behind to win the 100-meter hurdles with a 14.24 and blazing to a 1:01.79 clocking in the 400-meter hurdles. 

Zelinskas also participated on both of Liberty's winning relay teams. Andrea Beckles (So., Lynchburg, Va.), Charlene Hibbert (Jr., Mississauga, Ontario) and Tra' Screen (So., Lynchburg, Va.) ran the other three legs of the 4 x 200 relay squad, which broke the tape in 1:39.60. 

Screen, Hibbert and Chenoa Freeman (Fr., Lincoln, Del.) completed the first-place 4 x 400 relay team, running a 3:56.57. 

In addition to her relay contributions, Hibbert enjoyed a fine weekend in the horizontal jumps, earning two second-place finishes. Her best long jump was 18-8, and the junior's top triple jump ended up at 36-4.25. 

Ashley Osborne (So., Bristol, Va.) was Liberty's final event champion, clocking a personal-best 10:03.07 in the 3K. Osborne is now the Lady Flames' No. 3 all-time performer in the event outdoors. Osborne's cross country teammate, Rebekah Ricksecker (So., Laurel, Del.), came up with second place in the 800 meters, running a time of 2:20.64. 

The Liberty men's and women's track teams will now return to the Hill City after a week of training and competing in South Carolina. The next meet on the schedule is the Lynchburg College Invitational, slated for an 8 a.m. start, this coming Saturday.