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Flames Cop Three Field Event Titles Saturday

March 22, 2008
|  Conway, S.C.
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For the second straight meet, Matt Parker won the men's high jump title.

For the second straight meet, Matt Parker won the men's high jump title.

The Liberty men's field event performers took center stage during Saturday's action at the Shamrock Invitational. Four Flames combined for three first-place finishes and four NCAA East Regional qualifying efforts, highlighting Liberty's day at the Coastal Carolina Track and Field Facility.

Clendon Henderson (Sr., Meadow, Texas), who opened his outdoor season on Friday by qualifying for the NCAA East Regional Championships in the hammer throw did the same in the discus, his specialty, on Saturday. Henderson dominated the field with a winning throw of 185-0. Finishing second was his teammate and classmate Jon Hart (Wyomissing, Pa.), who garnered an IC4A qualifier at 159-10.

Hart added another runner-up finish in the men's shot put, with a season-best 57-5.75 heave. The senior fell just two inches shy of his own program record, set at the same meet a season ago.

The Flames swept the vertical jump titles, courtesy of Kolby Shepherd (Fr., Dublin, Ga.) and Matt Parker (Jr., Rome, N.Y.). Shepherd cleared a personal-best 16-6.75 to win the pole vault. His height also makes him the first Liberty performer, male or female, to earn the right to vault at the NCAA East Regional Championships.

Parker displayed some consistency in the high jump. For the second consecutive week, the junior leapt 6-10.75 and took home first-place honors.

Liberty's final victor on the men's side was Evans Kigen (So., Eldoret, Kenya). After running to victory at 3,000 meters on Friday, Kigen took the 3,000-meter steeplechase crown on Saturday. He won the race by 10 seconds, in 9:06.27. Now the No. 4 all-time steeplechaser in Liberty history, Kigen earned a spot in the NCAA East Regional Championships. Like the pole vault, the Flames will be represented in the steeplechase at the regional level for the first time, this May.

The Lady Flames' top finishes during the second day at Coastal Carolina came from their mid-distance and distance runners.

Freshman Dacia Bushman (Castalia, Iowa) earned a comfortable win in the women's 5,000 meters, stopping the clock in 17:55.99. She crossed the line more than 22 seconds ahead of runner-up Lauren Philbrook of Williams.

Rebekah Ricksecker (Jr., Laurel, Del.) posted the second-fastest 800-meter time of her career, 2:11.83, on her way to her second win of the meet. Ricksecker was part of Liberty's triumphant distance medley relay team on Friday.

Piper Newby (Sr., Hayden Lake, Idaho), making her season debut in the steeplechase, came in second in her specialty. The school record holder clocked an 11:22.78 on Saturday.

Liberty will return home to host its first meet of the 2008 outdoor track & field season on Friday and Saturday, the Liberty Collegiate Invitational. The multi events will begin on Friday at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex, with the heptathlon set for a 1:15 p.m. start and the decathlon scheduled for 1:30 p.m.