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Kigen, LU Women's DMR Star at Penn Relays

April 24, 2008
|  Philadelphia, Pa.
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Pictured above are two members of Liberty's record-setting women's distance medley relay team: (left) Rebekah Ricksecker and (back right) Kati Albright. (Senior Sarah Roberts, scheduled to join Ricksecker and Albright in Saturday's 4 x 800 relay, is pictured in front.)

Pictured above are two members of Liberty's record-setting women's distance medley relay team: (left) Rebekah Ricksecker and (back right) Kati Albright. (Senior Sarah Roberts, scheduled to join Ricksecker and Albright in Saturday's 4 x 800 relay, is pictured in front.)

Watch Evans Kigen's 10K title (Courtesy Flocasts.org)

Watch the Lady Flames set a distance medley relay school record (Courtesy Flocasts.org)

Liberty sophomore Evans Kigen won the final event on the opening day of the 114th Penn Relays, the men's 10,000 meters, Thursday evening at Franklin Field. His dominating performance, as well as a school-record effort by the Lady Flames' distance medley quartet, highlighted a distance-heavy evening in Philadelphia.

Kigen (Eldoret, Kenya) ran a 10K personal-best 29:16.12, provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships and ranking No. 23 on the national performance list. He went through 5,000 meters in 14:36 and then powered through the second half of the race alone, eventually building a 20-second gap on the race runner-up.

For Kigen, in his first year at Liberty, it was his third victory in seven days. He previously claimed the 3,000-meter steeplechase and 5,000-meter championships at last weekend's New Balance Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Kigen is now the second-fastest men's 10K runner in program history, trailing only Josh McDougal's (Sr., Peru, N.Y.) 28:27.65. McDougal, incidentally, was the last Liberty athlete to win an event at the Penn Relays, doing so in the 5,000-meter final in 2006.

The Liberty women's distance medley relay quartet got the day off to a great start, smashing the school record by 15 seconds. The team of Rebekah Ricksecker (Jr., Laurel, Del.), Chenoa Freeman (So., Lincoln, Del.), Jaime Watson (Jr., Ravenna, Mich.) and Kati Albright (Fr., Wake Forest, N.C.) clocked an 11:30.56, holding off Duke for fifth place in the race's second heat.

Ricksecker led off in approximately 3:31 for 1,200 meters and handed off to Freeman, who fashioned a 55.8-second 400-meter split. Watson, the three-time Big South outdoor 800-meter champion, came in around 2:09 on her leg. Albright then anchored the team home in approximately 4:53 on the closing 1,600-meter leg, enabling the Lady Flames to easily eclipse the school record of 11:45.48.

The previous standard was set at the 2001 Penn Relays by the grouping of Amy Teer, Robin Williams, Katie Butler and current Liberty assistant coach and 2002 NCAA national mile champion Heather (Sagan) Zealand.

Also in action for the Lady Flames Thursday evening was senior Carol Jefferson (Schwenksville, Pa.). Competing in her home state, Jefferson finished ninth in the college women's 10K, crossing the line in 35:55.16.

Speaking of Liberty assistants, the Flames' graduate assistant coach, David Cheromei, placed third in the Olympic Development section of the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase. The college steeplechase runner-up at the 2007 Penn Relays, Cheromei was timed in 8:46.10 on Thursday.

Jarvis Jelen (R-Jr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) clocked a season-best 5,000-meter time of 14:26.57 to finish 22nd in the men's championship section. He became the Flames' third sub-14:30 5K runner this season, joining Josh McDougal and Kigen.

In the Olympic Development section of the men's 5,000 meters, sophomore Josh Edmonds (Cooperstown, N.Y.) ran a personal-best 14:35.69 for 11th place. He is the fifth Liberty men's runner to qualify for the IC4A 5K championship this year. Edmonds' section was won by Liberty student Sam Chelanga, whose outdoor personal-best time of 13:51.40 left him 10 seconds in front of the field.

A pair of freshmen will get things underway for the Flames at 10 a.m. on Friday at the Penn Relays, as Clarence Powell (Marianna, Fla.) high jumps and Kolby Shepherd (Dublin, Ga.) begins the pole vault. Meanwhile, Clendon Henderson (Sr., Meadow, Texas) will throw the shot put at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.