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Liberty Throwers Unfazed by Adverse Weather at Liberty Twilight Qualifier
The persistent rain contributed to a significant number of scratches, the cancellation of the women's shot put, women's 400-meter dash and men's 3,000-meter steeplechase and sent all jumping events inside the Tolsma Indoor Track Center.
Henderson (Meadow, Texas), named the Big South Choice Hotels Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week earlier in the day, eclipsed his own facility discus mark, set as an unattached athlete a year ago at the same meet. His record throw measured 181-11. Henderson later took second place in the men's hammer throw, improving his standing on the NCAA regional performance list with a personal-best heave of 188-8.
Jon Hart (Jr., Wyomissing, Pa.) was a double winner in the men's throws, taking the hammer title with a throw of 197-11 and the shot put crown with a mark of 55-0. Freshman Elliot Galeone (White Hall, Md.) also starred on Thursday, winning the javelin at 172-6 and taking second in the discus with a toss of 142-7.
Senior Caitlyn Sutterfield (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), competing in her final home meet, swept the women's discus and hammer throw titles. Her top discus distance was 129-9, and she hit 145-9 in the hammer.
Matt Parker (So., Rome, N.Y.) was the lone Liberty performer to win one of the events contested indoors. He cleared 6-8.75 in the men's high jump to claim the event championship.
Jo Welch (So., Castro Valley, Calif.) of the Lady Flames won the evening's last event, the women's 5,000-meter final, running a personal-best 18:01.63 in the process.
Liberty won both the men's and women's 200-meter dash finals, which were two of the events hardest hit by defection. Phil Leineweber (So., New Freedom, Pa.) clocked a 22.05 to win the men's section, while Andrea Beckles (So., Lynchburg, Va.) crossed the line in 25.03 to take first place in the women's race.
In a similar situation, Liberty's Ben Handon (So., Amarillo, Texas) and Jennifer Ward (Jr., Martinsville, Va.) were the only two competitors to brave the elements for the 400-meter hurdles final. Handon was the men's winner in 57.28 and Ward won the women's event in 1:05.39.
Ward, the only Liberty athlete among the five women who completed all four opening day events of the heptathlon, currently stands in fourth place with 2,493 points. The heptathlon will resume competition at 1 p.m., Friday afternoon.
Despite the adverse conditions, a total of three facility records were established. In addition to Henderson's discus mark, unattached athlete Enrique Llanos ran a 13.72 in the men's 110-meter hurdles and Virginia Tech's Billy Berlin broke the tape in 3:48.63 to win the men's 1,500-meter run. Berlin's time bettered the nine-year-old record of Liberty's Stephen Githuka, 3:49.02.
The rest of the Flames and Lady Flames will return to action at the men's IC4A and women's ECAC Championships, which are slated to be contested May 11-13 in Princeton, N.J.
Women's Heptathlon Scores (Through Day 1)
1) Meredith Withers, Roanoke – 2,796
2) Courtney Hartman, Bridgewater – 2,564
3) Stacey Doornbos, Washington & Lee – 2,554
4) Jennifer Ward, Liberty – 2,493
5) Sallie Armstrong, Washington & Lee – 2,058