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Flames Maintain Lead in IC4A Championships, Lady Flames are Fifth in ECAC Competition

May 12, 2007
|  Princeton, N.J.
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Charlene Hibbert ran the third leg for Liberty's record-breaking 4 x 400 relay team on Saturday.

Charlene Hibbert ran the third leg for Liberty's record-breaking 4 x 400 relay team on Saturday.

The Liberty men's track and field team captured a pair of event titles Saturday at the IC4A Championships, building its lead to 32 points entering the final day of competition at Princeton's William Weaver Track & Field Stadium. The Lady Flames reside in fifth place in the ECAC Championships, just seven-and-a-half points out of first. 

Jon Hart (Jr., Wyomissing, Pa.) captured the men's hammer championship and Brandon Hoskins (Jr., Garden City, Texas) cruised to victory in the decathlon during the meet's second day, enabling the Flames to boost their point total to 56. Liberty, aiming for its first IC4A team title since 1996, is 32 points ahead of Duquesne and Manhattan, tied for second with 24 points apiece. William & Mary sits in fourth among the 30 teams who have scored thus far, with 20 points. 

The Lady Flames' score was bolstered by Arlene Zelinskas' (Sr., Dayton, Ohio) runner-up finish in the heptathlon, and the 4 x 400 relay team set a new Liberty and Big South record in the prelims. Liberty's 22 points rank fifth among the 31 scoring women's teams. Princeton (29.5 points), Cornell (28), Virginia (27) and Navy (26) currently hold the top four spots. 

Hart broke his own school record with a heave of 212-10 to win the hammer competition by five-and-a-half feet over Manhattan's Zoran Loncar. He became the first Liberty athlete, male or female, ever to win a throwing event title at the IC4A/ECAC Championships. Clendon Henderson (Jr., Meadow, Texas) chipped in with a seventh-place finish in the event, throwing 185-9. 

Hoskins, the first-day leader in the decathlon, ended up winning by 656 points over Duke's Tyler Clarke. His score of 7,463 is a season-best and allowed him to win his second career IC4A decathlon. Hoskins also triumphed in 2005 as a freshman. He qualified provisionally for the NCAA National Championships as a result of his performance. Daniel Newell (So., Roanoke, Va.) came in third, tallying 6,774 points, a score which eclipsed his previous career high by more than 500 points. 

Coach Brant Tolsma's men's team also qualified for a trio of Sunday's running event finals. Josh McDougal (Jr., Peru, N.Y.) made a quick recovery from his 5,000-meter/10,000-meter double from Friday evening, qualifying for the 1,500-meter final in a time of 3:49.58. Tim O'Donnell (Jr., Hurst, Texas) won his heat and clocked the third-best time overall in the 400-meter hurdles, 51.88. O'Donnell later anchored the Flames' 4 x 400 relay team, which ran a 3:11.44 to win its heat. Joining O'Donnell were Josh Gilreath (Jr., Reidsville, N.C.), Philip Leineweber (So., New Freedom, Pa.) and Travis Campbell (Sr., Candler, N.C.). 

Zelinskas, who led after day one of the heptathlon, was overtaken by William & Mary's Bonnie Meekins on Saturday. Meekins ended up with 5,457 points, while Zelinskas finished second with a personal-best 5,242 points, a score which will improve her standing on the NCAA provisional qualification list. Also setting a significant personal best in the heptathlon was Lady Flame junior Marie Williams (Tampa, Fla.). Williams, who had never scored over 4,600 points, finished at 4,775 for sixth place. 

Both of the Lady Flames' relay teams qualified for Sunday's finals, highlighted by the 4 x 400 squad's performance in the afternoon's final event. The quartet of Williams, Tra' Screen (So., Lynchburg, Va.), Charlene Hibbert (Jr., Mississauga, Ontario) and Chenoa Freeman (Fr., Lincoln, Del.) clocked a 3:42.06, which represented the day's second-fastest time. The Big South record of 3:45.23 was achieved by Coastal Carolina at this year's Big South Championships, and the previous school mark of 3:47.36 had been set in 1996 at the ECAC meet. Liberty's squad also fell just six-hundredths of a second shy of qualifying for the NCAA East Regional Championships. 

The Lady Flames' 4 x 100 relay team ran the seventh-fastest qualifying time, 46.16, to advance. The relay members were Andrea Beckles (So., Lynchburg, Va.), Hibbert, Screen and Zelinskas. 

Sunday's final-day action will commence with three field events at 10:30 a.m. Liberty will be represented in all three day-opening disciplines, as Lacey Cunningham (Fr., Spring Hill, Kan.) will throw the javelin, Matt Parker (So., Rome, N.Y.) will high jump and Hart and Henderson will compete in the shot put.