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15 Flames Qualify for NCAA Preliminary Round

May 18, 2017
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Samuel Arter (left) and Denzel Pratt (center) are two of Liberty's three men's javelin throwers who have qualified for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.

NCAA East Preliminary Round Men's Qualifiers

NCAA East Preliminary Round Women's Qualifiers

NCAA East Preliminary Round Informational Page

NCAA East Preliminary Round Schedule

A group of 15 Liberty track & field athletes have qualified for the 2017 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. For the first time, the three-day competition will take place at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track & Field Complex in Lexington, Ky., May 25-27.

Ten Liberty men's athletes will compete in the Bluegrass State, including Samuel Arter (javelin), Jovaine Atkinson (110 hurdles), Ryan Davis (400 hurdles), Zach Davis (high jump), Alexander Hoffsmith (javelin), Darrel Jones (triple jump), Azaria Kirwa (5K and 10K), Denzel Pratt (javelin), Michael Todd (800) and Carson Waters (pole vault).

The Lady Flames' five representatives at this meet include Janae Jones (triple jump), Dasiana Larson (hammer), Kylie Polsgrove (high jump), Brenna Smith (javelin) and Erin Zappia (high jump).

The meet, which will determine the qualifiers for the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, will begin May 25 at 11:30 a.m. with the women's hammer, featuring Larson.

The 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be contested June 7-10 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The top 12 finishers in each event at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will move on to Eugene, where they will be joined by 12 qualifiers per event from the concurrent NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round meet, which will take place next week in Austin, Texas.

The following is a breakdown of Liberty's NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round qualifiers by the numbers.

1: Jovaine Atkinson is Liberty's first athlete ever to qualify for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in the men's 110 hurdles.

2: Azaria Kirwa is the only Flame entered in two events at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. He will be Liberty's first runner to attempt the 5K/10K double at this meet since Sam Chelanga in 2011.

3: Three Liberty freshmen will compete in Kentucky, including Jovaine Atkinson and the javelin duo of Samuel Arter and Alexander Hoffsmith.

3: Similarly, three of the Flames' NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round qualifiers are seniors, including Ryan Davis, Zach Davis and Janae Jones.

3: Seniors Ryan Davis and Zach Davis will each be making their third appearances at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. Ryan Davis will be running the men's 400 hurdles at this meet for the third consecutive season, while Zach Davis previously high jumped at the 2014 and 2015 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meets.

3: Samuel Arter, Alexander Hoffsmith and Denzel Pratt will all throw the javelin in Lexington, giving the Flames three NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round qualifiers in the event for the first time. Liberty and Penn State are the only two teams which will be sending three men's javelin throwers to the meet.

6: Six of Liberty's qualifiers are coming off of Big South titles in their respective events, including Jovaine Atkinson (men's 110 hurdles), Ryan Davis (men's 400 hurdles), Darrel Jones (men's triple jump), Denzel Pratt (men's javelin), Brenna Smith (women's javelin) and Carson Waters (men's pole vault).

8: More than half of Liberty's NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round qualifiers will be making their debut at this meet. The Flames' eight first-time qualifiers include Samuel Arter, Jovaine Atkinson, Alexander Hoffsmith, Azaria Kirwa, Kylie Polsgrove, Brenna Smith, Michael Todd and Erin Zappia.

10: Liberty is equaling a program best by sending 10 men's athletes to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. Ten Flames also qualified for the meet in 2010.

11: Azaria Kirwa is the Flames' highest seed in any event, as the sophomore enters at No. 11 in the men's 10K with his time of 29:05.57.

15: This is the third time in the eight-year history of the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet that 15 or more Flames have qualified. Liberty took a program-record 16 athletes to the inaugural event in Greensboro, N.C., in 2010 and sent 15 to Jacksonville in 2015.