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Liberty to Host Collegiate Invitational
Revised Meet Schedule (PDF)
After opening the 2008 outdoor track & field season with consecutive meets at Coastal Carolina, the Liberty men's and women's outdoor track teams will return home this Friday and Saturday. The Flames will host the Liberty Collegiate Invitational at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex, beginning Friday at 1:15 p.m.
Athletes from 13 universities, including Elon, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, will compete in the annual two-day meet. The event is the first of two home meets on Liberty's outdoor track & field schedule.
Last season, Josh McDougal (Sr., Peru, N.Y.) stole the show at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational. A late entry into the meet, the now 14-time All-American joined the prestigious sub-4:00 mile club with a 3:57.46 clocking. McDougal is not slated to run this weekend, but most of Liberty's other top male and female performers will be on display.
Five Flames have already qualified for the NCAA East Regional Championships in their respective events, and all five—Jon Hart (Sr., Wyomissing, Pa.), Clendon Henderson (Sr., Meadow, Texas), Evans Kigen (So., Eldoret, Kenya), Matt Parker (Jr., Rome, N.Y.) and Kolby Shepherd (Fr., Dublin, Ga.)—are entered in this weekend's meet.
A chronological meet preview follows.
Friday, March 28, 2008
1:15 p.m. – The women's heptathlon, featuring 10 competitors, will open with the 100-meter hurdles. Two Liberty freshmen—Krystle Matthews (Chesapeake, Va.) and Jennifer Healey (Virginia Beach, Va.)—will be making their collegiate heptathlon debuts. North Carolina's Alexandria Coppadge, who finished third at the ACC pentathlon during the indoor season, headlines a pair of Tar Heel entrants. Meredith Withers of Roanoke, the defending heptathlon titlist at the Asics meet, is also scheduled to compete.
1:30 p.m. – The 100-meter dash will inaugurate the men's decathlon competition. Only five men are entered in the event, including Liberty's Matt Tarr (Jr., Madison Township, Pa.) and Geren Woodbridge (Fr., Wilkes Barre, Pa.). North Carolina's Matthew Villemain is the top entrant, at 6,400 points.
3 p.m. - A special invitational section of the men's discus will be held, featuring Henderson. He unleashed a 185-0 throw at last weekend's Shamrock Invitational, ranking No. 5 nationally in the event. He also owns the facility record at 181-11. Other notable discus throwers on Friday will be Hart, with a personal best of 159-10, and former Penn State thrower Steve Meyers.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
10 a.m. – Day two's first event is the women's pole vault. Rachel Houseknecht (Fr., Hughesville, Pa.), also a hurdler, has gone over 9-6.25 for Liberty so far this season.
12:30 p.m. – The men's hammer throw will get underway. A pair of Flames, Hart and Henderson, have already qualified for the regional meet. Hart's season-best heave of 209-10, which ranks No. 3 nationally, is just shy of the facility record (211-8).
12:40 p.m. – No one has ever run the 3,000-meter steeplechase faster than 9:15.90 at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex. The 12-year-old facility record will certainly be challenged on Saturday, though. Liberty graduate assistant David Cheromei, who owns a personal best of 8:21, is entered unattached. Additionally, Jordan McDougal (R-Jr., Peru, N.Y.) will run the steeplechase for the first time.
12:55 p.m. – Like Jordan McDougal in the preceding race, the Lady Flames' Dacia Bushman (Fr., Castalia, Iowa) will give her initial try at the women's steeplechase.
1:10 p.m. – Kigen, a transfer from New York Institute of Technology, has made an immediate impact at Liberty. He closed the indoor season with a bang, finishing as the IC4A 5,000-meter runner-up in 14:05.92. Last weekend, he qualified for the regional meet in the steeplechase with a 9:06.27 effort. On Saturday, the versatile runner will compete at the 1,500-meter distance. The facility record of 3:48.63 could be tested, as Kigen's countryman and fellow Liberty student Sam Chelanga is scheduled to compete unattached.
1:25 p.m. – Rebekah Ricksecker (Jr., Laurel, Del.) won the 800-meter title at last weekend's Shamrock Invitational, clocking a 2:11.83. She will look to parlay that success to the 1,500-meter distance at the Asics meet. The junior's stiffest competition may come from teammates Kati Albright (Fr., Wake Forest, N.C.) and Sarah Roberts (Sr., Zieglerville, Pa.).
1:30 p.m. – The men's and women's triple jump will begin simultaneously, on the two runways at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex. On the men's side, Clarence Powell (Fr., Marianna, Fla.) opened the season with a 49-1.75 leap. If he can add two centimeters to that mark, the rookie will join the Liberty contingent heading to the regional meet in Tallahassee in May. In the women's competition, new school record holder Mia Aghaji (Fr., Chester, Va.) will aim to add seven-plus inches to her 39-9.75 mark and claim a regional berth.
1:45 p.m. – Freshman Jacey Bailey (Tamarac, Fla.) has posted a season-best 100-meter dash time of 10.83. He will aim to get closer to the NCAA regional qualifying mark of 10.55 on Saturday.
2 p.m. – The 100-meter dash runner-up at this meet last season, Andrea Beckles (Jr., Lynchburg, Va.) looks to flourish on her home track. She is the top entrant in the 25-member field, with a personal best of 11.96 to her credit.
2 p.m. – Shepherd has been showing rapid improvement in the men's pole vault. Most recently, he sailed over the bar at 16-6.75 to win the Shamrock Invitational crown and punch his ticket to the regional meet. The facility record of former Flames assistant coach Michael Prettyman has remained untouched at 17-0.75 for 12 years, and could provide the next mark for Liberty's freshman to aim for.
2:10 p.m. – Best known for his high jumping exploits, Parker has been excelling in the hurdles of late as well. He ran a 14.41 in the 110-meter hurdles at the Shamrock Invitational, putting the regional standard of 14.30 within reach.
2:45 p.m. – Chenoa Freeman (So., Lincoln, Del.) and Charlene Hibbert (Sr., Mississauga, Ontario) both dipped under 57 seconds in the 400-meter dash during the indoor season. The speedy duo will look to see what they can do outdoors in the one-lap event. Unattached athlete Lola Adetu, entered at 55.03, should provide solid competition.
3:10 p.m. – Jaime Watson (Jr., Ravenna, Mich.), the IC4A indoor 800-meter champion, will run the event for the first time outdoors this season. She clocked a 2:08.34 during the recently completed indoor campaign. So, the facility record (2:07.95), school record (2:08.00) and NCAA regional standard (2:09.80) will all be potential targets for the Liberty junior.
3:45 p.m. – Parker has high jumped 6-10.75 at each of his first two outdoor meets and was victorious both times. With a good day on Saturday, the Empire State native has the potential to take down the facility record (6-11), the school record (7-0), or both.
4 p.m. – Beckles, Freeman and Hibbert all figure to be among the top finishers in the women's 200-meter dash.
4:55 p.m. – Based upon the seed times, the final men's running event of the day could turn out to be a crosstown clash between Liberty and Lynchburg College. The Flames are entered with a 4 x 400 time of 3:16, while the Hornets are listed at 3:14.
5:05 p.m. – The meet will wrap up with the women's 4 x 400 relay. If Freeman, Hibbert and Watson all tote the baton for the Lady Flames, Liberty could dip under 3:50.