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LU Men Win BSC Indoor Track Title, Women 2nd
The Flames finished with 223 points, nearly doubling up runner-up Radford, which tallied 115 markers. The Liberty men's team, which has been victorious in every Big South indoor meet ever contested, is in the midst of the longest consecutive championship streak in conference history, encompassing all sports.
The Flames swept all five major individual trophies in the men's competition. Double event winner Josh McDougal (Sr., Peru, N.Y.) won the Men's Most Outstanding Track Performer honor for the third-straight year. Fellow Empire State native Matt Parker (Jr., Rome, N.Y.) claimed the Men's Outstanding Field Performer award. He scored a meet-high 28 points on the weekend.
Clarence Powell (Fr., Marianna, Fla.), who won the triple jump title on Saturday, was Co-Men's Freshman of the Year, along with Charleston Southern's Tyler Cornelius. Clendon Henderson (Sr., Meadow, Texas) was tabbed Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year, after contributing a first and third-place finish to Liberty's title. A kinesiology major, he owns a 3.71 GPA.
Finally, Brant Tolsma garnered Men's Coach of the Year accolades. The award was the 37th of his career at Liberty, including cross country and track & field.
In the women's competition, Liberty totaled 173 points, finishing 29.5 behind Coastal Carolina. Individually, Rebekah Ricksecker (Jr., Laurel, Del.) was named to the Big South All-Academic Team for the first time in her career. An elementary education major with a 3.95 GPA, she won All-Big South recognition with a third-place finish in the mile.
The Liberty men's squad, which had won all six events contested on Friday, claimed first place in Saturday's opening discipline, the weight throw. Jon Hart (Sr., Wyomissing, Pa.), the runner-up a year ago, won the title in dramatic fashion. Just minutes after Radford's Timothy Morse had taken the lead with a 64-10.5 effort, Hart unleashed his winning heave of 66-6.5 on the last throw of the competition.
Hart improved his own Liberty record by nearly a foot and a half and fell just one centimeter shy of equaling the meet standard. Classmate Henderson earned his second All-Big South distinction of the meet. The Big South shot put champion placed third in the weight throw, topping out at 62-7.25.
Powell enabled Liberty to sweep all six men's field event crowns by prevailing in the triple jump. He earned his second All-Big South accolade of the meet with a winning leap of 48-0.
Josh McDougal cruised to victory in the men's mile, as his winning time of 4:05.72 left him six seconds clear of the field. The first-place finish was his second of the meet and the 17th Big South crown of his career, including cross country and track & field events. McDougal has now won the mile three-consecutive years at the Big South indoor meet.
His brother Jordan McDougal (R-Jr., Peru, N.Y.) finished as the 5,000-meter champion for the third-straight year, shattering his own meet record with a season-best 14:25.39. Transfer Evans Kigen (So., Eldoret, Kenya), making his Flames debut, became the fourth Liberty IC4A qualifier in the 5K this season. His time of 14:34.06 was good for third place in the event.
Brandon Hoskins (Sr., Garden City, Texas) ran a season-best 8.51 seconds in Saturday's opening event of the heptathlon, the 60-meter hurdles. He went on to claim the first Big South heptathlon title of his career, doing so with a Liberty and Big South-record score of 5,383 points. His score, which won by 881 points, is a provisional qualifier for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. Liberty freshman Geren Woodbridge (Wilkes Barre, Pa.) tied for second place, and his point total of 4,502 moved him into the third spot on the program's all-time performance list.
The Flames picked up a pair of All-Big South honors in the 60-meter hurdles. Parker, a double event champion on Friday, came in second in 8.25 seconds. Tim O'Donnell (Sr., Hurst, Texas), competing in the hurdles for the first time this season, followed in third place, with a time of 8.49.
Freshman Jacey Bailey (Tamarac, Fla.) equaled his career-best effort in the 60-meter dash final, placing third with a time of 6.90 seconds.
The quartet of Phil Leineweber (Jr., New Freedom, Pa.), Parker, Bailey and O'Donnell scored eight team points in the meet's final event, the men's 4 x 400 relay. They crossed the line in 3:19.06 for second place.
In one of the most competitive events of the meet, the women's 800-meter run, Lady Flame Jaime Watson (Jr., Ravenna, Mich.) broke her own school record by five seconds and also eclipsed the Big South standard. Watson's winning time of 2:09.79, an ECAC qualifier, paced three runners who came in under the existing meet record of 2:12.64.
Freshman Kati Albright (Wake Forest, N.C.) and junior Ricksecker both earned All-Big South recognition in the women's first running event on Saturday, the mile run. Albright was nipped by High Point's Sumiyya Hunter at the line, placing second in 5:00.94. Ricksecker came in third, clocking a 5:02.50.
The Lady Flames' 400-meter dash duo of Charlene Hibbert (Sr., Mississauga, Ontario) and Chenoa Freeman (So., Lincoln, Del.) crossed the line nearly simultaneously. Both athletes were awarded times of 56.67. Hibbert, who posted a career-best clocking, was second and Freeman third. Freeman later went on to take fourth place in the 200-meter dash, running a 25.24.
As they had done Friday evening in the women's 3,000-meter race, the Liberty women's distance runners compiled significant points in the 5,000-meter event. Carol Jefferson (Sr., Schwenksville, Pa.) led the Lady Flames' 2-3-4 finish with an ECAC-qualifying 17:29.51 effort. She had won the event title the previous two years. Rachel Valliere (Sr., San Luis Obispo, Calif.) came in third with a personal-best 17:41.86, while Piper Newby's (Sr., Hayden Lake, Idaho) 17:54.47 netted fourth place.
Mia Aghaji (Fr., Chester, Va.), who took the conference high jump title on Friday, ended up third in the triple jump on Saturday. The freshman's furthest jump was 38-5.
Even though the team outcome had already been decided, the women's 4 x 400 relay was able to close the meet on a high note. The team of Freeman, Hibbert, Aghaji and Watson claimed a three-second victory, finishing in 3:51.96.
A sizable contingent of Liberty men's and women's athletes will travel to Boston next weekend for the ECAC and IC4A Indoor Championships, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. The women's ECAC meet will be held at the Reggie Lewis Track & Field Center, while the men's IC4A competition will take place at Boston University.
Men's Final Team Standings
1) Liberty – 223
2) Radford – 115
3) Charleston Southern – 87
4) VMI – 78.5
5) High Point – 73
6) Winthrop – 66.5
7) UNC Asheville – 14
Women's Final Team Standings
1) Coastal Carolina – 202.5
2) Liberty – 173
3) Charleston Southern – 89.5
4) Radford – 64
5) High Point – 58
6) Winthrop – 50
7) VMI – 13
8) UNC Asheville – 11
Men's Track Performer of the Year
Josh McDougal, Liberty
Women's Track Performer of the Year
Diana Jepchirchir, Coastal Carolina
Men's Field Performer of the Year
Matt Parker, Liberty
Women's Field Performer of the Year
Shemelia Brandon, Radford
Men's Freshman of the Year
Tyler Cornelius, Charleston Southern
Clarence Powell, Liberty
Women's Freshman of the Year
Canchettar Delamar, Charleston Southern
Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Clendon Henderson, Liberty
Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Felicitas Mensing, Coastal Carolina
Men's All-Academic Team
Jean Pierre Poisson, Charleston Southern
Josh Morgan, High Point
Clendon Henderson, Liberty
James Nixon, Radford
Joel Quirk, UNC Asheville
Anthony Harris, VMI
Trevor Beesley, Winthrop
Women's All-Academic Team
Felicitas Mensing, Coastal Carolina
Brittany Owens, Charleston Southern
Jasimine Jones-Green, High Point
Rebekah Ricksecker, Liberty
Brittany Christian, Radford
Emily Mase, UNC Asheville
Men's Coach of the Year
Brant Tolsma, Liberty
Women's Coach of the Year
Alan Connie, Coastal Carolina