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Pratt Heaves Javelin 226-4 on Day 1 at CSU
Liberty's Denzel Pratt opened his sophomore season in impressive fashion on Friday, winning the CSU Spring Break Invitational men's javelin competition with a personal-best 226-4 heave. Pratt was one of four event champions for the Flames at the Bagwell-Settle Track, joining Jessie Glynn (women's pole vault), Jack Tidball (men's 5K) and Carson Waters (men's pole vault).
Men's Day One Recap
Pratt added 11 inches to his previous personal best, punching his ticket to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet and leading a 1-2-3-4 finish by the Flames in the men's javelin. The Bahamas native ranks No. 2 nationally at this very early stage of the 2017 outdoor season and climbs to No. 7 in Big South history for the men's javelin.
Former baseball player Samuel Arter excelled in his first javelin competition, throwing the spear 201-5 for second place in the event and the No. 10 spot in program history. Senior Zach Davis (194-0) and freshman Caleb Hart (187-10) placed third and fourth, respectively. Freshman Markus Ballengee made it five Flames in the top 10, reaching 158-1 in his javelin debut.
Big South indoor men's pole vault champion Waters was victorious at the venue which will play host to the 2017 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships in May. The junior won the competition by a foot with his 16-0.75 clearance.
Making his collegiate track debut, redshirt freshman Tidball crossed the finish line first in the men's 5K in 15:04.58, edging sophomore teammate James Zentmeyer (15:05.45) by less than a second.
Liberty also put three men's long jumpers inside the top 10, including redshirt freshman Chukwuma Maduka (fifth, 22-5.75), junior Darrel Jones (sixth, 22-4.5) and freshman Andre Wright (seventh, 22-1.5).
Sophomore Caleb Rider clocked 58.15 seconds in his 400 hurdles debut for fifth place in Friday's sections of the event. He also placed seventh in Friday's sections of the 400 at 51.03 seconds. The fastest-seeded section of both events will be contested on Saturday.
Freshman Jahquez Durham advanced to Saturday's men's 100 dash final with an 11.15 clocking and later posted the fastest time of his collegiate career (22.07) for sixth place in the 200.
Redshirt freshman Jovaine Atkinson (15.02) and Ballengee (15.49) will both represent the Flames in Saturday's men's 110 hurdles final.
Women's Day One Recap
After sweeping the top three places in the Big South indoor women's pole vault final, Glynn, junior Mariel Finger and redshirt sophomore Audrey Rabe each finished among the top six pole vaulters on Friday. Glynn won the competition at 12-5.5, while Finger tied for second at 11-11.75 and Rabe shared fifth place with an outdoor personal-best 11-5.75. Rabe is now tied for ninth place in program history for the event.
Junior Brenna Smith nearly became Liberty's first event champion of the season, but her personal-best javelin toss of 142-8 fell just four inches behind first-place Mady Riegel of The Citadel. Smith ended up in second place, while redshirt senior Nicole Bishop came in third with a personal-best mark (138-9) of her own.
Redshirt senior Janae Jones was another Lady Flame to place a close second on the day, long jumping 17-11 to trail College of Charleston's Leona Burton by just 2.75 inches.
On the track, the Lady Flames boasted three of the eight fastest 1,500-meter runners. Redshirt junior Alyssa Karle finished fourth in 4:46.50, improving her personal best by 5.5 seconds. Sophomore Delaney McDowell took fifth place (4:47.00) with classmate Kammi Kurtz following in the eighth spot at 4:49.92.
The top-seeded section of the women's 800 will not be contested until Saturday, but freshman Erin Hansel was the fastest of Friday's 24 competitors by six seconds. The Canadian recorded a time of 2:20.85 in her collegiate track debut. Maggie McDermott added an eighth-place finish in 2:30.80.
Tanner Ealum, the Big South Women's Freshman of the Year indoors, began her outdoor season with a seventh-place finish in the women's 200 at 25.04.
Freshman Katie Dodson was the fastest qualifier to Saturday's women's 100 hurdles final at 14.71 seconds. She will be joined in the final by sophomore Kylie Polsgrove, who clocked 15.32 into a headwind.
The CSU Spring Break Invitational will wrap up on Saturday, with the day's first event (men's discus) beginning at 9 a.m. Running events will get started with the men's 4 x 100 relay at 12:30 p.m.