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Brandon, DeValve, MacDonald Win Friday Events

April 18, 2014
|  Rock Hill, S.C.
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Riley Brandon won the heptathlon, finished fifth in the javelin and tied for seventh in the high jump on Friday.

Day 2 Blog

Liberty's Riley Brandon (heptathlon), Jacob DeValve (men's shot put) and Josh MacDonald (men's steeplechase) all captured event titles on a soggy Friday at the 2014 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Winthrop's Irwin Belk Track. With one day remaining in the meet, the Liberty men's squad owns a sizeable lead, while the Lady Flames rank second overall.

The Liberty men's team, chasing its eighth consecutive title, has racked up 103 points through seven events. That puts the Flames 61 points ahead of second-place High Point (42). Coastal Carolina is third with 33 points.

The defending champion Lady Flames led for part of the day on Friday before ending the day in second place with 70 points. Coastal Carolina owns a 10-point lead with 80 tallies through eight events.

Men's Day Two Recap
Competing in his second throwing event of the day, redshirt senior DeValve won his second career Big South event title. The 2012 Big South decathlon champion added a shot put crown to his resume, as all four of his legal throws would have won the competition.

DeValve's best effort, a 54-8 heave in round four, earned a first-place finish by more than three feet and moved him up to fifth place in program history. It wrapped up the Flames' fifth straight sweep of the Big South men's indoor and outdoor shot put crowns, going along with Fred Fulton's indoor title.

Even with Fulton redshirting the 2014 outdoor campaign, Liberty tallied 24 points in the men's shot put. Constand Van Rooyen reached an outdoor-best 51-6.25 in the sixth round to finish second, David Scouten tied his season best of 49-9.25 for fifth and Tim Abbott stretched the tape to 47-11.25 for seventh place.

On Thursday night, MacDonald led for nearly four miles of the men's 10K before finishing second. One night later, a similar front-running strategy paid off in the form of the senior's first career Big South steeplechase title. The California native clocked 65 seconds for the opening lap and never looked back.

MacDonald's winning time of 8:55.02 enabled him to defeat the reigning Big South cross country champion (High Point's Patrick Crawford) and the 2012 Big South steeplechase winner (High Point's Jacob Smith).

Teammate Jeremie Bourget matched his fifth-place finish from the 10K thanks to a 9:20.37 clocking in his collegiate steeplechase debut. Josh Showalter made it a 15-point event for the Flames, finishing eighth in 9:39.11.

Liberty totaled 17 points in the first event of the day, the men's javelin. Junior Daniel Klase led the way, reaching a personal-best 207-5 for runner-up honors and his first career All-Big South award. DeValve came in fourth at 195-8, followed by Steve Feister in fifth place at 194-7.

Traditionally a strong event for the Flames, the decathlon saw Liberty pull down 19 points on Friday. Despite battling a balky hamstring, Tevan McIntire was the runner-up with a career-best 6,411 points. Freshmen then finished third (Zach Davis, 6,295), fifth (Zach Gilroy, career-best 5,973) and eighth (Blake Kohring, career-best 5,571) for the Flames.

Liberty decathletes won each of the last four disciplines of the two-day competition, as McIntire threw the discus 124-2, Gilroy pole vaulted 13-9.25, Davis heaved the javelin a season-best 173-7 and Gilroy clocked 4:37.40 for the 1,500.

The Flames set themselves up for more points in Saturday's running event finals, qualifying multiple athletes in the 100 (ConRoy Smith and Tarell Williams), 800 (John Sherret and Jacob Onifer) and 1,500 (Caleb Edmonds and Jarred Cornfield).

Sherret (1:54.98) was the top overall qualifier in the 800, while freshman Ryan Davis led all competitors in the 400 hurdles with a season-best 54.09 clocking amidst some of the day's heaviest rainfall.

Women's Day Two Recap
Brandon earned the Lady Flames' 10th Big South heptathlon title in 14 years, as the junior's personal-best score of 4,692 points put her 197 markers clear of teammate Erika Jackson. The duo repeated their 1-2 finish from this year's Big South pentathlon competition.

On a day when Brandon also scored points in the open javelin and high jump, she closed out her heptathlon victory in style. Brandon won each of the last two events, throwing the javelin 114-3 and clocking 2:26.85 in the 800.

Jackson also set a new personal best with 4,495 points, claiming the No. 9 spot on Liberty's all-time list. She equaled her career best with a 17-2 long jump mark and hurled the javelin a personal-best 110-0.

The Lady Flames totaled 25 points in the event, as Brittany Crittenden was fifth with 4,149 points and Ashley Eubank's career-best 3,990 points netted sixth place.

Liberty came up with a dozen points in the javelin, with Yana Babbitt placing fourth at 124-10, Brandon coming in fifth at 122-7 and Nicole Bishop nabbing sixth place at 119-11. Babbitt reached a new personal best in her first meet back after Tommy John surgery, while Bishop's mark was also the best of her career.

Kristen Willeford high jumped 5-3 for fourth place, while Brandon cleared 5-1 to share seventh place in her fifth event of the day.

Jennifer Nicholson threw the shot put an outdoor-best 42-0 for fifth place. Teammate Rachel Barnes reached 41-6, taking the seventh spot.

The Lady Flames advanced two competitors to Saturday's finals in the 100 (Abigail Flower and Oasis Hernandez), 800 (Meghan Burggraf and Christieanna Apon) and 400 hurdles (Ansley Gebben and Mary Witmer).

Freshman Hannah Scherlacher also had an impressive qualifying performance, shaving six seconds off of her 1,500-meter personal best to reach Saturday's final in 4:45.38.

The torrential rainfall caused the women's pole vault competition to be suspended Friday evening. It will resume on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., with freshman Brooke Shelton one of six competitors still alive at 11-8.5.

Due to the continuing wet forecast, all other events on an action-packed final day of the 2014 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships will begin one and a half hours later than originally scheduled, beginning at 12:30 p.m. with the men's discus and women's triple jump. The women's 4 x 100 relay will get the running events going at 2 p.m.