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Flames Claim IC4A Runner-Up Trophy

March 9, 2008
|  Boston, Mass.
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Jaime Watson helped the Lady Flames finish 14th at the ECAC Indoor Track & Field Championships with her victory at 800 meters.

Jaime Watson helped the Lady Flames finish 14th at the ECAC Indoor Track & Field Championships with her victory at 800 meters.

The Liberty men's indoor track & field team took home the runner-up trophy, Sunday afternoon at the IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston, representing the Flames' highest-ever team finish at the meet. Meanwhile, Jaime Watson's 800-meter title at the ECAC Indoor Track & Field Championships helped the Lady Flames finish in 14th place.

Brandon Hoskins (Sr., Garden City, Texas) became Liberty's second IC4A titlist of the meet, coming from behind on Sunday to take the heptathlon crown at the Boston University Pavilion. He helped the Flames rack up 67 points, leaving them 19 shy of team champion Georgetown. Liberty's previous best finish at the IC4A indoor meet was third in 1999. The Flames took eighth place a season ago.

On the women's side, the Lady Flames more than doubled their team score from the 2007 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) indoor meet. Last season, Liberty tallied eight points. This year, the total jumped to 21, leaving the Lady Flames in 14th place out of 53 teams which scored in the meet. UConn repeated as team champions, outdistancing runner-up Seton Hall, 60.5 to 49.

Hoskins wrapped up a busy nine days by earning the third IC4A title of his career. The senior previously won the IC4A decathlon in 2005 and 2007. The reigning Big South heptathlon champion, Hoskins started Sunday's action in second place. However, a season-best 15-5 pole vault clearance helped propel him into the lead and to a meet and facility-record score of 5,353. Hoskins defeated second-place David Parker of Albany by 107 points.

Junior Daniel Newell (Jr., Roanoke, Va.) also scored some important points for the Flames in the heptathlon. He captured fifth place by scoring 5,154 points, finishing a single point shy of his career-high score.

The men's shot put was another event which featured a pair of Liberty scorers. Jon Hart (Sr., Wyomissing, Pa.), who won the IC4A weight throw on Saturday, added a runner-up finish in the shot put on Sunday. Hart's career-best heave of 56-1.25 catapulted him past Liberty head strength & conditioning coordinator Bill Gillespie and into position No. 3 on the program's all-time performance list. Senior Clendon Henderson (Sr., Meadow, Texas) followed closely behind Hart in third place, topping out at 55-3.75.

Matt Parker (Jr., Rome, N.Y.) repeated his fourth-place effort from the 2007 IC4A indoor meet in the men's high jump. The junior sailed over the bar at 6-9.5 and beat out St. Francis (Pa.)'s Will Velez on misses.

Liberty's final field event point on Sunday was provided by freshman Clarence Powell (Marianna, Fla.). The rookie nabbed eighth place, reaching 48-10.25 on his best attempt of the afternoon.

On the track, three Flames finished in the top nine of the men's 5,000-meter final. The trio was paced by Evans Kigen (So., Eldoret, Kenya), who raced to second place in an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 14:05.92. Only Josh McDougal (Sr., Peru, N.Y.) has ever run the indoor 5,000 meters faster in program history. Following in fourth was Jordan McDougal (R-Jr., Peru, N.Y.), as the Empire State native crossed the line in a personal-best time of 14:15.06. Jarvis Jelen (R-Jr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) barely missed placing, as his 14:30.51 took the ninth spot, three-tenths of a second out of eighth.

At the same time, the Liberty female middle-distance and distance runners were posting some stellar marks at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center, highlighted by Watson (Ravenna, Mich.). The redshirt sophomore, who set a Liberty and Big South Conference 800-meter record during Saturday's preliminary round, triumphed in the final on Sunday. Her time of 2:10.63 made her only the second Lady Flame ever to win a running event at the ECAC indoor meet, joining assistant coach Heather (Sagan) Zealand (mile run, 2002).

Both Liberty milers placed in the top six in Sunday's event final. Kati Albright (Fr., Wake Forest, N.C.) broke the Liberty freshman record she had set during the prelims, placing third in 4:53.77. Teammate Rebekah Ricksecker (Jr., Laurel, Del.) stopped the clock at 4:56.19, crossing the line in sixth place.

Junior Ashley Osborne (Bristol, Va.) placed 12th in a deep women's 3,000-meter field, and set a new school record. Her 9:49.55 clocking shaved nearly three seconds off Heather (Sagan) Zealand's time from 2001.

Mia Aghaji (Fr., Chester, Va.) set a personal best in the triple jump during her first trip to the ECAC meet. She leaped 39-2.5, claiming seventh place in the competition and bumping her up to No. 2 on Liberty's all-time performance list.

The Liberty men's and women's track & field athletes will be divided between a pair of meets this coming weekend. Senior Josh McDougal has automatically qualified for the 3,000 and 5,000-meter races at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, to be held Friday and Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark. On Monday, the rest of the field for the national meet will be announced.

The Flames and Lady Flames who do not compete in the indoor national championships will open the outdoor track season in Conway, S.C., at the Coastal Carolina Invitational. The meet is set for Friday and Saturday and will mark the first of two-consecutive weekends Liberty competes at Coastal Carolina.