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Host Flames Win 9 Saturday Events
LFSN Game On Recap
The host team won nine events on a sun-drenched and windy Saturday at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex, including two apiece by Lady Flames Abigail Flower and Ansley Gebben.
Women's Day Two Recap
Flower swept the Liberty Collegiate Invitational women's 100 and 200 titles for the second straight year, coming from behind late in both races. In the 100, the junior overtook teammate Oasis Hernandez to win in a season-best 11.88 seconds.
Hernandez held on for second place in the 100 final, marking one of five top-five finishes for her on the day. Her season-best 11.99 clocking ties her for eighth place on Liberty's all-time list.
Flower's third consecutive Liberty Collegiate Invitational 200 dash title came in a time of 24.51 seconds. Hernandez followed in fifth place at 25.06.
Flower nearly made it a trio of victories, but could not quite track down Elon's anchor leg in the 4 x 100 relay. The Lady Flames' quartet of Rajon Stinnett-Perry, Hernandez and twin sisters Kate and Abigail Flower clocked 47.04 seconds, just behind Elon's winning time of 46.99.
Gebben trailed for much of the women's 400 hurdles final before claiming victory in a time of 1:00.98. Freshman teammate Mary Witmer came in fourth with a 1:04.16 effort.
However, Gebben left little doubt in the 4 x 400 relay after her sterling opening leg. Mary Echols, Janae Jones and Corinn Bedell closed out Liberty's triumph in the day's final race with a time of 3:53.66.
Jones was on the verge of repeating as Liberty Collegiate Invitational women's triple jump champion before being passed by teammate Melissa Rohwer in the final round. Rohwer's timely winning leap measured 39-0.5. Jones ended up as the runner-up at 38-9.5, with Hernandez fifth at 37-3.25.
Hernandez's other top-five effort on the day came in the long jump, when the Kansas native's season-best 17-6.75 mark was good for fourth place.
Liberty notched runner-up finishes in both women's throwing events on Saturday, as Rachel Barnes threw the shot put a personal-best 45-7.25 and reigning Big South Women's Field Athlete of the Week Jennifer Nicholson stretched the tape to 152-2 in the discus.
The Lady Flames' lone entrant in the women's 400, Bedell clocked 59.18 seconds for third place. Fellow sophomore Christieanna Apon dropped her 800-meter personal best to 2:17.10 to place fifth in that event.
Freshman Kat Bouton made a solid steeplechase debut on Saturday, recording a time of 12:02.21 for fourth place.
Returning to the field events, Sadalia Ellis shared fourth place in the high jump by making a first-attempt clearance at 5-3.
Freshman Brooke Shelton pole vaulted a season-best 11-5.75 to place sixth in the event and move into a tie for the sixth position on the Lady Flames' all-time list.
Sophomore Brittany Crittenden was Liberty's top finisher in the heptathlon, as her personal-best score of 4,235 placed fourth. She long jumped a career-best 17-0.75 on Saturday, which was the best among the heptathletes. Teammate Audrey Bamford, who is redshirting the 2014 outdoor season, took home the heptathlon title with a personal-best 4,636 points.
Men's Day Two Recap
The four victories by the Liberty men's squad on Saturday came in the 800 (John Sherret), 4 x 100 relay, pole vault (Ken Ritchey) and decathlon (Zach Davis).
Sherret's 800-meter triumph saw him lead from wire to wire in a season-best time of 1:53.49. Freshman teammate Colin Schultz followed in fourth at 1:55.47.
The 4 x 100 relay grouping of Stephen Hayes, Stephen Racanelli, Tarell Williams and ConRoy Smith set the tone for the Flames' successful day by winning convincingly in a season-best 40.86 seconds.
Ritchey led a 1-2-5 Liberty finish in the men's pole vault with a 15-3 clearance, followed by a couple near misses at 16-2.75. Harrison Allen was second at 14-9 with Alexandru Barker fifth at 14-3.25, as all three Flames posted new season-best clearances on Saturday.
Liberty freshmen swept the top three spots in the decathlon, in the 10-event debut for each. Davis scored 6,387 points to lead the way, followed by Zach Gilroy (5,963) and Blake Kohring (5,524).
Davis' second day was highlighted by a personal-best 13-9.25 pole vault clearance. He also was tops in the javelin at 145-9. Gilroy led the way in both the pole vault (14-9) and 1,500 (4:36.46), while Kohring won the decathlon 110 hurdles at 16.03 seconds.
Liberty would have placed 1-2-3 in the men's discus as well, if Fred Fulton were not redshirting the season. He won at 161-8, followed by Flames David Scouten (second place, 157-9) and Tim Abbott (third place, 154-5).
In Saturday's other throwing event, Jacob DeValve recorded an outdoor-best heave of 53-7.5 for a fourth-place showing. In the process, he climbed to No. 6 in program history.
The Flames boasted runner-up finishers in both horizontal jumps, thanks to Aklesso Agama's 47-3.75 triple jump and Williams' 22-11 long jump. Agama's mark, which came in the freshman's outdoor season triple jump debut, puts him in a tie for 10th place on Liberty's all-time list.
Agama and Kyle Wheeler each long jumped 22-3 to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, in the event.
Freshman Ryan Davis was a part of two second-place finishes on the track, including the 400 hurdles (season-best 54.39) and 4 x 400 relay (3:21.70). The Flames' other 4 x 400 competitors included Schultz, Smith and Sherret.
Racanelli and Tyler Weigandt each placed inside the top five of two different sprinting events. Racanelli was the men's 100 runner-up, thanks to the freshman's time of 10.82 seconds into a headwind. He also came in fourth at 400 meters in 50.25 seconds.
Weigandt's personal-best 400 time of 49.97 seconds took second place, while his season-best 200 effort of 22.67 came in fifth.
Liberty's Caleb Fraley (15.44) and Richard Whitted (15.47) both clocked season-best times in the 110 hurdles while placing fourth and fifth.
Jarred Cornfield was the final Flame to notch a top-five finish, crossing the line fifth in the 1,500-meter final in 4:02.99.
Liberty will take next weekend off from competition, in preparation for the 2014 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The three-day meet will be contested April 17-19 at Winthrop's Irwin Belk Track in Rock Hill, S.C. Both the Flames and Lady Flames enter as the defending conference champions.