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Liberty Men Lead Prolonged Big South Meet

April 19, 2014
|  Rock Hill, S.C.
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Senior ConRoy Smith (front) won the Big South men's 100 title, while finishing second in both the 200 and 4 x 100 relay on Saturday.

Day 3 Blog

Led by an outstanding effort by its seniors, the Liberty men's squad is in good position to claim its eighth straight title at the 2014 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will wrap up Monday at Irwin Belk Track. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames sit in a solid second place after Saturday's events.

A steady rain, accompanying gusty wind and temperatures in the 50s, delayed Saturday's action several times and postponed three events. The women's pole vault, which began Friday afternoon, will conclude Monday at 2 p.m. with the men's pole vault to follow. The men's high jump will be contested Monday at 3 p.m. to close out the meet. The team championship and runner-up trophies will be awarded after Monday's trio of events conclude.

Seniors ConRoy Smith (men's 100) and Caleb Edmonds (men's 1,500) won Saturday events, along with redshirt sophomore David Scouten (men's discus) and freshman Ryan Davis (men's 400 hurdles). They helped the Flames build a 204-158 advantage over Coastal Carolina with Monday's pair of events remaining. Four seniors (Smith, Edmonds, Josh MacDonald and Jacob DeValve) totaled 82 of the Flames' tallies.

Meanwhile, the Lady Flames got Saturday victories from redshirt senior Meghan Burggraf (800), junior Jacy Christiansen (5K), junior Jennifer Nicholson (discus) and sophomore Janae Jones (triple jump), while redshirt sophomore Ansley Gebben broke her own school record in the 400 hurdles. However, Coastal Carolina leads the Lady Flames, 216-172, with the pole vault yet to be completed.

Men's Day Three Recap
Smith defeated defending champion Evan Emery of High Point in the 100 final, claiming the first Big South title of his career in a wind-aided time of 10.65 seconds. The team captain became the first Flame to win the men's 100 crown since Guifaly Christolin in 2002, highlighting his busy and successful day.

Smith nearly replicated Christolin's 100-200 sweep from 2002, leading most of the 200 dash final before being edged by Campbell's Fabian Jarrett in the final strides. Smith's time of 21.37 seconds equaled his personal best.

In his first event of the day, Smith passed Charleston Southern's anchor leg runner to wrap up second place for the Flames in the 4 x 100 relay. The quartet of Stephen Hayes, Stephen Racanelli, Tarell Williams and Smith clocked 41.43 seconds.

Smith finished with a team-high 24 points for the meet, which also included his fifth-place long jump performance on Thursday.

Edmonds made a powerful charge down the final straightaway to overtake Campbell's Chris Schulist and win the men's 1,500 title in 3:55.72. Edmonds then made a strong bid to defend his 5K championship from 2013 before finishing a close second with a time of 14:28.67.

MacDonald led for a good portion of the 5K before placing fourth in 14:42.74. He finished the meet with 23 points for the Flames, after also winning the steeplechase and posting a runner-up finish in the 10K the previous two nights.

Scouten got the Flames' day off to a successful start, with his first career Big South title headlining a 20-point haul in the men's discus. The redshirt sophomore's winning throw of 158-4 came in round two.

He was followed by Tim Abbott in fourth place (149-3), Trevor VanAsselt in sixth (personal-best 144-5) and DeValve in seventh (141-8). DeValve finished the meet with 17 points, also winning the shot put and placing fourth in the javelin final.

Davis powered to the 400 hurdles title in a personal-best time of 53.07 seconds, winning the race by more than a second. The freshman qualified for the IC4A meet and claimed the No. 10 spot on Liberty's all-time list for the event.

The Flames collected 13 points in the men's 800, thanks to the duo of John Sherret and Jacob Onifer. Sherret made a strong bid for his first conference title before being edged by High Point's Eddie Whitlock. Sherret was second in 1:54.41, with Onifer placing a surprise fourth in 1:56.48.

Women's Day Three Recap
Burggraf finishes her career as a five-time Big South 800-meter champion (three outdoors and two indoors) after a dominating victory on Saturday. She clocked 2:16.06 in a tactical race to win by more than two seconds. Teammate Christieanna Apon finished strongly for fourth place in 2:20.30.

After finishing second during each of her first three career Big South women's triple jump competitions, Jones came out on top in the first event of the day. Her opening leap of 39-1 held up as the winning jump, securing her initial Big South title.

Liberty racked up 21 total points in the women's triple jump, as Melissa Rohwer jumped 37-3.25 for third place and Oasis Hernandez stretched out to 37-2.5 for fourth.

Nicholson's event crown was also the first of her career. She heaved the discus 150-0 to win by more than 17 feet and extend the Lady Flames' streak to three straight Big South women's discus titles.

Christiansen turned the tables on Coastal Carolina's Letitia Saayman in the 5K final, after Saayman had finished first and Christiansen second in Thursday's 10K. Saayman led for about 4,800 meters of the 5K, before Christiansen flew by her in the final 200 meters to win by five seconds in 17:10.89.

Gebben lowered her program record in the women's 400 hurdles from 1:00.42 to 1:00.32 while placing third in the final for the second straight year.

Gebben then led off for the Lady Flames' Big South runner-up 4 x 400 relay quartet, which also included Mary Witmer, Burggraf and Corinn Bedell. Liberty crossed the line in 3:47.16, edging Coastal Carolina for second place.

Junior Abigail Flower recorded the best Big South individual event finish of her career with a second place in the 100 final, thanks to a 12.01 clocking. Hernandez contributed a fourth-place effort at 12.14. Flower later garnered a second runner-up finish, posting a 24.45 in the 200 dash final.