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Liberty Track Bound for Philadelphia, Radford

April 23, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Big South men's 400 hurdles champion Ryan Davis will compete at the Penn Relays this weekend.

Penn Relays Schedule/Live Results

Penn Relays Live Video Streaming (Flotrack)

Philadelphia Weather

Highlander Invitational Information Central

Highlander Invitational Schedule

Highlander Invitational Live Results

Radford Weather

On the heels of a successful showing at the 2014 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the Liberty men's and women's athletes will be divided up between two different meets this weekend. A group of Flames and Lady Flames will travel to Philadelphia for the 120th Penn Relays, Thursday through Saturday, while some of their teammates will compete in the Highlander Invitational, Friday and Saturday at Radford.

Liberty just wrapped up competition at the 2014 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Monday in Rock Hill, S.C. The men's team captured its eighth consecutive conference title, while the Lady Flames finished second to Coastal Carolina.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
For a charge, live video streaming of all Penn Relays races will be available throughout the meet on Flotrack.

Live results will also be provided for both the Penn Relays and Highlander Invitational.

Weather Report
Thursday's weather forecast for the Penn Relays shows a high temperature in the low 60s and breezy conditions. Friday calls for the high to climb into the upper 60s with a chance of showers. Saturday is projected to be the nicest day of the meet, with a high in the low 70s under partly cloudy skies.

At Radford, there is a chance of thunderstorms on Friday, with a high temperature near 70 degrees. Meanwhile, Saturday looks like a picture-perfect day at Cupp Stadium, with sunny skies and a high in the mid 70s.

Relays at the Penn Relays
Appropriately, most of Liberty's entrants at the Penn Relays will be competing in relay races. The Flames plan to contest five men's relays (4 x 100, 4 x 400, 4 x 800, sprint medley and distance medley) and five women's relays (4 x 100, 4 x 200, 4 x 400, sprint medley and distance medley).

Liberty has enjoyed a successful year of relay running thus far, breaking three program records. On March 1, the quartet of Ansley Gebben, Mary Witmer, Corinn Bedell and Meghan Burggraf clocked an indoor record time of 3:46.28 in the women's 4 x 400 relay. One week later, Jacob Onifer, Colin Schultz, Trevor Hope and John Sherret ran the fastest men's 4 x 800 time (7:29.15) in Liberty history, including the indoor and outdoor seasons.

Most recently, Oasis Hernandez, Abigail Flower, Gebben and Burggraf broke the women's sprint medley relay program record with a 3:53.34 effort at the Texas Relays on March 28.

Among Liberty's current relay records, the men's 4 x 200 (1:24.23 in 2001), men's 4 x mile (16:40.57 in 1998), men's shuttle hurdles (58.75 in 1999), women's 4 x 200 (1:37.99 in 2008), women's 4 x 800 (8:59.48 in 1988) and women's distance medley relay (11:30.56 in 2008) standards were all established at the Penn Relays.

Rubbing Shoulders with Greatness
One of the annual highlights of the Penn Relays is the series of USA vs. the World relays on Saturday afternoon. In recent years, these races have featured Usain Bolt, Allyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross, Bernard Lagat and many more Olympic medalists.

This year, the USA vs. the World women's 4 x 100, men's 4 x 100, women's sprint medley, men's distance medley, women's 4 x 400 and men's 4 x 400 races will all be televised live on the NBC Sports Network between 12:30 and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

If Liberty qualifies for one of the finals in either the men's 4 x 100 relay or women's 4 x 200 relay, the Flames will get to compete during that time window on Saturday, between the professionals' races.

The men's 4 x 100 college, IC4A and Championship of America finals are slated for Saturday between 1:45-1:50. Meanwhile, the women's 4 x 200 ECAC and Championship of America finals will be contested between 2:20-2:25.

Back to Work
Eleven Liberty athletes captured event titles at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, including Riley Brandon (heptathlon), Meghan Burggraf (women's 800), Jacy Christiansen (women's 5K), Janae Jones (women's triple jump), Jennifer Nicholson (women's discus), Ryan Davis (men's 400 hurdles), Jacob DeValve (men's shot put), Caleb Edmonds (men's 1,500), Josh MacDonald (men's steeplechase), David Scouten (men's discus) and ConRoy Smith (men's 100).

All of them will be back in action this weekend except MacDonald, who will take a well-deserved week off from competition. He was named Big South Men's Outstanding Track Performer after finishing second in the 10K, first in the steeplechase and fourth in the 5K in successive nights.

Burggraf, Christiansen, Davis, Edmonds and Smith are all scheduled to compete in various relay races at the Penn Relays, while Jones will triple jump on Friday in Philadelphia.

Brandon (200, 4 x 400, long jump, javelin), Nicholson (discus, hammer), DeValve (shot put, discus, hammer, javelin) and Scouten (shot put, discus, hammer) will all keep busy during the Highlander Invitational.

Punching Their Tickets to Princeton
This weekend's meets and the April 30 Liberty Twilight Qualifier will mark athletes' final opportunities to qualify for the 2014 IC4A and ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, scheduled for May 16-18 in Princeton, N.J.

At this point, 22 Liberty men's athletes and 13 Liberty women's athletes have qualified for the IC4A/ECAC meet, including relay legs.

Great Scott
Due to spring football practice, Kenny Scott had not long jumped since March 9 when he stepped onto the runway for the Big South men's long jump competition on Thursday. He showed no signs of rust, though, stretching out to a personal-best distance of 23-10 on his very first attempt. That mark stood up for second place in the event, improving upon Scott's third-place showing in the Big South indoor men's long jump competition.

Scott is slated to long jump on Friday at the Highlander Invitational, before racing in the first 100-meter dash of his collegiate career on Saturday.

Comeback Kids
Sophomore Yana Babbitt and freshman Ryan Davis provided two of Liberty's most inspiring performances at the 2014 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, as each performed well after undergoing offseason surgery.

Friday's women's javelin competition was Babbitt's first time wearing a Liberty uniform since March 16, 2013. She completed a lengthy rehab from Tommy John surgery in time to place fourth in the Big South with a personal-best 124-10 javelin throw.

Davis went under the surgeon's knife in December, but has returned to action with a bang in the men's 400 hurdles. He has gotten faster every time he has run the race, going from 55.17 (March 22) to 54.69 (March 29) to 54.39 (April 5) to 54.09 (Friday) to a Big South-winning time of 53.07 on Saturday. Davis has now qualified for the IC4A meet and moved up to the No. 10 spot in program history already.

Babbitt will throw the javelin at the Highlander Invitational on Friday, while Davis will serve as a leg on a couple different relay teams at the Penn Relays.