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Liberty Men's Track Claims 17th Straight BSC Title
Liberty claimed its unprecedented 17th consecutive men's team title, while the Lady Flames finished second at the 2014 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, which concluded on Saturday at Rector Field House.
Campbell made things interesting on the men's side with a strong second-day charge. As a result, the Flames' margin of victory was smaller than in any of its previous 16 championships. Liberty totaled 161.5 points to the Camels' 137 tallies to continue the longest active conference championship streak in NCAA Division I men's track & field. The Flames have been victorious at all 17 editions of the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships.
The Lady Flames set five program records during the meet, four of which came on Saturday, but ended up as the runner-up to Coastal Carolina for the second straight year. The Chanticleers posted 203 points, putting them 55 markers ahead of Liberty's total of 148.
One of Liberty's record setters, junior Mychelle Cumings, took home the Women's Outstanding Field Performer trophy for the second straight year. She eclipsed the program, meet and all-time Big South Conference records with her winning shot put mark of 53-5.5.
Both of Liberty's Big South All-Academic team honorees earned a pair of All-Big South honors on the weekend. A junior communications major, Jacy Christiansen placed second in the women's mile and third in the 3K. Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore criminal justice major David Scouten came in third in both the men's shot put and weight throw competitions.
Men's Day Two Recap
The Flames scored points in bunches on Saturday, headlined by a 1-2-3 podium sweep in the men's shot put. Fred Fulton led the way with a season-best 57-5.5 heave, becoming the fifth different champion during Liberty's current eight-year streak of Big South titles in this event.
Jacob DeValve was the runner-up, thanks to a personal-best toss of 52-8.25. The redshirt senior became the fourth different Liberty men's shot putter to qualify for the IC4A meet this season and claimed the No. 10 spot on the Flames' all-time performance list.
Scouten also achieved a season best in the event, stretching the measuring tape to 52-2.75 for a third-place finish.
Liberty pulled down 19 more points in the heptathlon, with Tevan McIntire, Zach Gilroy and Zach Davis placing second, third and fourth, respectively. Aided by a personal-best 8.53 clocking in the 60 hurdles on Saturday, McIntire totaled 4,949 points over the two-day competition.
Gilroy's first career All-Big South recognition came as a result of a huge personal-best effort. The freshman added 387 points to his previous best, tallying 4,827 points for third place in the event and eighth place in program history. He rocketed up the standings by winning the last two heptathlon disciplines with a personal-best 15-5 pole vault clearance and a time of 2:49.12 in the 1,000-meter run.
Day one leader Davis finished up in fourth place with 4,781 points. His pole vault personal best of 13-5.25 on Saturday helped the freshman bolster his previous best score by 132 points.
With the meet still hanging in the balance entering the next-to-last event, Liberty's distance runners sealed the deal in the 5K. Josh MacDonald, Caleb Edmonds and Jeremie Bourget all placed inside the top six, combining for 15 crucial team points.
Defending champion MacDonald settled for the runner-up position this time around, clocking a season-best time of 14:24.40. Edmonds came in fourth in 14:29.28, with Bourget following in sixth place at 14:42.40. All three times were superior to the IC4A qualifying standard for the event.
Earlier in the day, Edmonds had finished fifth in the mile with a personal-best time of 4:10.56. For the meet, the Empire State native totaled 15 team points during his trio of races, covering 48 laps of the track in the mile, 3K and 5K.
Freshman Stephen Racanelli also had a busy day, coming in second in the 200, third in the 4 x 400 relay and fifth in the 60. Racanelli's 200 dash time was a personal-best 21.51 effort, moving him up to third place in program history. It was the fastest indoor 200 clocking by a Liberty runner since Jeremy Wagner's 21.47 effort at the 2003 IC4A meet.
Racanelli ran a strong leadoff leg in the 4 x 400 relay, before Tyler Weigandt, John Sherret and Colin Schultz brought it home in a season-best and IC4A-qualifying time of 3:19.08.
Racanelli also posted his best-ever 60 dash time (6.89) for fifth place in both the race and program history. Teammate ConRoy Smith followed closely in sixth place, crossing the line in 6.92 seconds.
Women's Day Two Recap
After Jocelyn Williams had improved her own women's weight throw school record to 67-5.5 on Friday, the Lady Flames kept the records coming on Saturday.
Cumings took down three records at once, when her second attempt in the shot put landed at 53-3.5. That bettered her own program record of 51-4.25 from the 2013 Big South indoor meet. It also eclipsed the existing meet and conference standard (51-4.5), which had been set by Radford's Tiffany Evans at the 2007 Big South meet.
Cumings' monster throw won the event by six feet, giving the Tennessee native three consecutive Big South indoor women's shot put crowns. She is tied for 20th on this year's national list at the latest report.
Teammates Rachel Barnes and Jennifer Nicholson each shot putted 44-1.5, placing sixth and seventh in the event. Barnes' superior second-best throw put her ahead of Nicholson in the final standings. Nicholson's personal-best effort gives her the No. 4 spot in program history.
Freshman Oasis Hernandez shattered the program records in both the 60 and 200-meter dash finals. She became the Lady Flames' first-ever Big South women's 60 champion in a time of 7.45 seconds. That improved Hernandez's own record of 7.52 set two weeks ago in Albuquerque. Abigail Flower followed in 7.72 seconds for a fifth-place finish.
Hernandez then broke Flower's Liberty record in the 200 with her third-place time of 24.37 seconds. Flower had set the previous mark of 24.72 twice during 2013.
Liberty's final program record came in the last women's race of the afternoon, the 4 x 400 relay. Ansley Gebben, Mary Witmer, Corinn Bedell and Meghan Burggraf teamed up for a second-place finish in a record-breaking time of 3:46.28. The previous mark of 3:47.16 had also been set at Rector Field House by the quartet of Chenoa Freeman, Brittany Heath, Charlene Hibbert and Jaime Watson in 2008.
The Lady Flames' 4 x 400 grouping edged Charleston Southern by three thousandths of a second in a race which saw each of the top three teams better the existing meet record (3:47.78).
Burggraf had earlier broken the meet record at 800 meters. Her winning time of 2:09.26 took down the mark of 2:09.79 achieved by Burggraf's former teammate Jaime Watson in 2008. Burggraf enjoyed a nearly four-second margin of victory while claiming her second career Big South indoor 800 crown (also 2011).
Liberty scared the women's triple jump program record, as sophomore Janae Jones and junior Melissa Rohwer both eclipsed 40 feet. For the second straight year, Jones came in second at this meet and Rohwer followed in third place.
Jones led for most of the competition, thanks to a personal-best leap of 40-5.5. That put her just 2.25 inches shy of Jonisha Saunders' indoor school record and moves Jones into second place all-time for the Lady Flames. Jones has now finished second in each of her first three Big South triple jump finals, including the indoor and outdoor championships.
Rohwer qualified for the ECAC meet with her indoor personal-best jump of 40-0.75 in the sixth and final round. She now sits fourth in program history.
Christiansen earned her eighth career All-Big South notation and second in as many days with a runner-up performance in the mile final. The junior sped to a personal-best time of 4:53.40, climbing to fourth on Liberty's all-time list.
In a speedy 400 dash final, Gebben (55.67) and Bedell (57.02) both notched career-best times, coming in fourth and eighth, respectively. Bedell's effort punched her ECAC ticket and moves the sophomore to sixth place in program history.
Defending high jump champion Kristen Willeford cleared 5-3.75 to share third place and collect All-Big South honors.
Williams will travel to Fairfax, Va., on Sunday for the George Mason Last Chance Meet. She will throw the weight on the final day to achieve qualifying performances for the 2014 NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships.
A sizeable group of Flames and Lady Flames will then head to Boston for next weekend's IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. The meet is scheduled for March 7-9 at the Boston University Track & Field Pavilion.
Final Men's Team Standings
1) Liberty – 161
2) Campbell – 137
3) High Point – 108
4) VMI – 73
5) Gardner-Webb – 58
6) Radford – 55.5
7) Charleston Southern – 52
8) Winthrop – 12
9) UNC Asheville – 6
Final Women's Team Standings
1) Coastal Carolina – 203
2) Liberty – 148
3) Campbell – 77
4) Charleston Southern – 57
5) High Point – 41.5
6) Radford – 40
7) Gardner-Webb – 27.5
8) Winthrop – 25
9) VMI – 23
10) UNC Asheville - 21
Men's Outstanding Track Performer
Amon Terer, Campbell
Women's Outstanding Track Performer
Teresa Williamson, Radford
Men's Outstanding Field Performer
Christopher Cleare, Campbell
Women's Outstanding Field Performer
Mychelle Cumings, Liberty
Men's Freshman of the Year
Tyler Craig, Gardner-Webb
Women's Freshman of the Year
Anna Scott, Campbell
Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Cabell Willis, VMI
Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Jeanne Stroud, Winthrop
Men's All-Academic Team
Cabell Willis, VMI
Alex Young, Gardner-Webb
David Scouten, Liberty
Kurt Hibert, UNC Asheville
Austin Miller, High Point
Colby Coulter, Winthrop
Christopher Cleare, Campbell
Joseph Betts, Radford
Women's All-Academic Team
Jeanne Stroud, Winthrop
Teresa Williamson, Radford
Emily Marchini, Coastal Carolina
Jacy Christiansen, Liberty
Rachel Carson, UNC Asheville
Julia Zautcke, High Point
Samantha Robbins, Campbell
LaQuestis Scott, Charleston Southern
Hannah Dickinson, VMI
Olivia Moody, Gardner-Webb
Men's Coach of the Year
Michael Kelly, Campbell
Women's Coach of the Year
Alan Connie, Coastal Carolina