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Liberty to Close Home Schedule with Twilight Qualifer

May 1, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Arlene Zelinskas will compete in the heptathlon during her final home meet as a Lady Flame.

Arlene Zelinskas will compete in the heptathlon during her final home meet as a Lady Flame.

Less than two weeks after sweeping the team titles at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the Liberty men's and women's squads will return to their home track for the 2007 season's final home meet, the Liberty Twilight Qualifier. Action at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex will begin at 1 p.m., Thursday afternoon. 

As the meet's name indicates, Liberty athletes and those from the 12 other universities in attendance will be aiming for qualifying marks for their respective postseason meets. The Flames would like to add to their list of NCAA regional qualifiers, which currently numbers 15. 

Jon Hart (Jr., Wyomissing, Pa.), Clendon Henderson (Jr., Meadow, Texas), Jordan McDougal (So., Peru, N.Y.), Josh McDougal (Jr., Peru, N.Y.), Tim O'Donnell (Jr., Hurst, Texas) and Matt Parker (So., Rome, N.Y.) comprise the six Liberty men's qualifiers to the NCAA Division I East Region Championships, to be contested May 25-26, in Gainesville, Fla. 

On the women's side, Andrea Beckles (So., Lynchburg, Va.), Charlene Hibbert (Jr., Mississauga, Ontario), Carol Jefferson (Jr., Schwenksville, Pa.), Piper Newby (Jr., Hayden Lake, Idaho), Ashley Osborne (So., Bristol, Va.), Rebekah Ricksecker (So., Laurel, Del.), Tra' Screen (So., Lynchburg, Va.), Jaime Watson (So., Ravenna, Mich.) and Arlene Zelinskas (Sr., Dayton, Ohio) have already punched their tickets for Florida. 

Zelinskas will be competing in her specialty, the heptathlon, during the final home meet of her career. She has provisionally qualified for the NCAA national meet in the event, with a score of 5,123 at the Texas Relays. However, Zelinskas would like to boost her score and her standing on the performance list. The heptathlon will start at 1 p.m. on Thursday and second-day action will begin at 1 p.m., Friday afternoon. 

The Twilight Qualifier will also serve as Liberty's final tune-up for the men's IC4A and women's ECAC Championships, scheduled for May 11-13, in Princeton, N.J. 

Head coach Brant Tolsma noted, "Our men's and women's teams would really like to do well next weekend. In fact, our men's team has its eyes on winning the IC4A title, which is a great team challenge. So, our distance runners will be resting at this meet, while our sprinters and field event performers will be sharpening themselves." 

The Liberty athletes will meet some stiff competition at the meet. Virginia Tech will send many top performers from its women's team which recently won the ACC championship. St. Augustine's, which took both the men's and women's team titles at the 2007 NCAA Division II National Indoor Track & Field Championships, will also be well represented on Thursday. 

A number of talented post-collegiate athletes are also registered for the meet. These include Cleopatra Borel-Brown of Trinidad & Tobago in the women's shot put and Leonard Byrd in the men's 400 meters. Borel-Brown placed 10th in the event at the 2004 Olympics and Byrd owns a personal-best time of 44.45.