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Hart, Newell Win, Propel Flames to IC4A Lead
Liberty senior Jon Hart won the hammer throw and junior Daniel Newell wrapped up the decathlon crown, highlighting Saturday's action at the IC4A and ECAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Princeton, N.J. Their efforts helped push the Liberty men's squad into first place in the IC4A team standings, entering the meet's final day.
Liberty, tied for third place after Friday's events, jumped into the lead at the close of Saturday. The defending champion Flames have notched 44 points through eight events, leaving them 19 points ahead of Georgetown, which claimed this year's IC4A indoor crown. Syracuse is a close third, with 24 points.
The Lady Flames are in 14th place in the ECAC standings, entering Sunday's action. Liberty has totaled nine team points through eight events. William & Mary leads the way with 28 points.
Hart (Wyomissing, Pa.) unleashed a career-best and school-record 222-4 on his second hammer attempt, and the throw outdistanced the field by nearly 15 feet. He repeated his hammer title from 2007 and moved up to No. 9 on the national performance list in the process.
It took Newell (Roanoke, Va.) nearly 10 hours to complete Saturday's five decathlon disciplines, but he was able to maintain his day one lead. The junior became Liberty's 10th IC4A decathlon champion in 17 years, tallying 6,898 points. His score left him 135 points ahead of runner-up Tom FitzSimons of Mount St. Mary's. Newell has now swept the 2007 Big South and IC4A decathlon championships.
Clendon Henderson (Sr., Meadow, Texas) saw his season-long unbeaten streak in the discus halted, in a tough battle with Virginia's Yemi Ayeni. In the end, Ayeni won for the second straight year and Henderson claimed runner-up honors once again. Henderson's top Saturday throw stretched the tape to 190-7.
Much of Saturday's action consisted of qualifying heats in the running events. Liberty posted several fine performances during the heats, including Rebekah Ricksecker's (Jr., Laurel, Del.) 4:25.47 in the 1,500. She won her heat and set a new personal best by more than three seconds. Now No. 3 on Liberty's all-time performance list, Ricksecker will run in Sunday's ECAC 1,500-meter final.
Fellow Delaware native Chenoa Freeman (So., Lincoln, Del.) qualified for the 400-meter dash final with a personal-best time of 54.79 seconds. She is now the No. 2 all-time performer in program history and nearly made the NCAA East Regional Championship standard of 54.61.
On the men's side, the 4 x 100 relay quartet of Aaron Hewlett (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.), Donald Manns (So., Jacksonville, Fla.), Dominic Bolden (Jr., Orlando, Fla.) and Durell Cull (So., Rome, N.Y.) ran a season-best 41.37 seconds, making Sunday's final. The first three members of the relay squad also play football for the Flames.
The third and final day of the ECAC and IC4A Outdoor Track & Field Championships will begin Sunday at 10 a.m., with the ECAC shot put. Liberty's first event will be the IC4A javelin, featuring senior Brandon Hoskins (Garden City, Texas), at 10:30 a.m.
IC4A Decathlon Final Results (Top Five Finishers)
1) Daniel Newell, Liberty – 6,898
2) Tom FitzSimons, Mount St. Mary's – 6,763
3) Tyler Clarke, Duke – 6,642
4) Brian Blumenstein, UNC Wilmington – 6,574
5) Matt Miller, UNC Wilmington – 6,537