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Jefferson, Jelen Event Winners at Duke
Jelen (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Jordan McDougal (R-Jr., Peru, N.Y.) swept the top two spots in the men's steeplechase, as McDougal finished right behind his teammate in 9:04.31. Jelen became the third Liberty men's runner to meet the NCAA regional standard in the steeplechase this season, joining McDougal and Evans Kigen (So., Eldoret, Kenya). Jelen also moved up to No. 5 on Liberty's all-time steeplechase performance list, after trimming nearly five seconds off his personal best. It was the second time Jelen has won the steeplechase in three attempts this year. He previously crossed the finish line first at the Lynchburg Track & Field Classic, on April 12.
Jefferson (Schwenksville, Pa.) ran by herself, well ahead of the other 10 competitors in the final race of the evening, the women's 5,000-meter final. By race's end, the senior had opened up a 56-second gap on runner-up Paige Williams of Tampa. Jefferson's winning time of 16:52.66 is the fastest 5,000-meter effort by a Lady Flames runner this year. The second-fastest time of her career, it left her less than a second shy of the NCAA East Regional standard. Jefferson did qualify for the ECAC Championships, however, and is now an ECAC qualifier in both the 5K and 10K.
Also running in the women's 5K was Lady Flames freshman Dacia Bushman (Castalia, Iowa). She placed fourth in 17:56.02, breaking 18 minutes for the third time during her freshman outdoor track season.
Senior Charlene Hibbert (Mississauga, Ontario) was another high finisher for the Liberty women's squad. She ran 25.05 seconds into a slight headwind in the 200-meter dash final, taking third place.
The Flames and Lady Flames will return to action at the ECAC/IC4A Outdoor Track & Field Championships, scheduled for May 16-18 in Princeton, N.J. The Liberty men's squad will attempt to defend the IC4A team title it captured last season.