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Flames Lead IC4A Meet After Day One

March 8, 2008
|  Boston, Mass.
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Jon Hart won the weight throw on Saturday, at the IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston.

Jon Hart won the weight throw on Saturday, at the IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston.

Liberty seniors Jon Hart and Clendon Henderson finished first and third, respectively, in the men's weight throw, Saturday afternoon at the IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston. Their efforts helped the Flames claim the opening day lead in the team standings. Meanwhile, Jaime Watson highlighted the Lady Flames' day across town at the ECAC Indoor Track & Field Championships, breaking the Liberty and Big South 800-meter record.

Through four events, the Liberty men's team has totaled 20 points, in the two-day meet being contested at the Boston University Pavilion. The Flames, seeking their first IC4A indoor crown, lead second-place Binghamton by four points. Liberty is the defending IC4A outdoor team champion.

At the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, a trio of Lady Flames qualified for Sunday's finals in their respective events, at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) meet. In addition to Watson (R-So., Ravenna, Mich.), Kati Albright (Fr., Wake Forest, N.C.) and Rebekah Ricksecker (Jr., Laurel, Del.) both made the mile final.

One week removed from claiming a Big South weight throw title, Hart (Sr., Wyomissing, Pa.) captured his first IC4A weight throw crown and the second IC4A event championship of his career, when his best throw stretched the tape to 65-6. Hart was also the 2007 hammer titlist at the IC4A outdoor championships. Henderson (Sr., Meadow, Texas) came in third on Saturday, throwing a personal-best 63-4.

Competing in the IC4A meet's first field event, the men's pole vault, Liberty freshman Kolby Shepherd (Dublin, Ga.) sailed over 16 feet for the third-straight weekend. This time, he was one of eight vaulters to top out at 16-0.75. Shepherd was awarded fifth place on misses, finishing as the top freshman in the field.

Liberty heptathletes hold down two of the top four spots after the opening day's four events have been completed. Brandon Hoskins (Sr., Garden City, Texas), who last week won the Big South heptathlon title, temporarily took the lead in the IC4A competition after throwing the shot put 46-0.5. He enters day two in second place with 2,891 points, 56 behind Harvard senior Alex Lewis.

Teammate Daniel Newell (Jr., Roanoke, Va.) currently resides in fourth place, with a score of 2,846. The junior got off to a fast start by pacing all 15 competitors with a 6.56 clocking for 55 meters.

Also in action for the Flames was junior Phil Leineweber (New Freedom, Pa.). He earned the last spot in Sunday's 500-meter dash final with a preliminary effort of 1:03.35. Last season, Leineweber came in seventh in the event.

Across town at the ECAC meet, Watson won the third and final heat of the 800-meter run and posted the afternoon's third-fastest qualifying time, 2:08.34. She cut more than a second off the school and conference record she had set at the Big South meet and also became the first Lady Flame this season to earn provisional qualification to the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Both Liberty milers cut significant time off their personal bests, while earning spots in Sunday's final. Ricksecker joined the indoor sub-5:00 mile club in grand fashion, slashing nearly eight seconds off her existing personal best. The junior's 4:53.40 clocking was the second fastest of the day. Albright notched a 4:54.53, establishing a new Liberty freshman record.

Ricksecker and Albright now rank No. 2 and 3, respectively, on Liberty's all-time performance list. The duo trails only current assistant coach Heather (Sagan) Zealand, the 2002 national champion in the mile.

Senior Carol Jefferson (Schwenksville, Pa.) narrowly missed scoring Liberty's first team point of the meet, in the 5,000-meter run. Jefferson ran a season-best time of 17:18.16 to take ninth place.

The IC4A and ECAC Championships will both conclude on Sunday. The IC4A meet will resume with the heptathlon 55-meter hurdles at 10 a.m. One hour later, the pole vault will be the first event on the ECAC second-day docket.