Flames Home > Track and Field Home > News

NCAA East Regional Championship Blog: Day 1

May 30, 2008
|  Tallahassee, Fla.
|   RSS
|   Share

Jaime Watson is scheduled to run the prelims of the women's 800-meter run this evening at 6:50 p.m.

Jaime Watson is scheduled to run the prelims of the women's 800-meter run this evening at 6:50 p.m.

From the press box overlooking the south end of Florida State's Mike Long Track in Tallahassee, Fla., LibertyFlames.com will provide live updates throughout the two days of the 2008 NCAA East Regional Track & Field Championships. Please see below for other ways to follow all of the action.

Complete Meet Schedule
Heat Sheets
Live Results
NCAA.com

The most recent posts will be located just below this italicized message. You may need to refresh the page periodically to view the latest updates. Feel free to email pjcarmany@liberty.edu with any comments, questions or suggestions. Thanks! 

7:10 p.m. - Watson did finish second in the heat at 2:09.91, edging sub-2:06 entrant McKenzie of Florida. She was 15th overall of the 32 competitors. Ashley Hubbard of Georgetown was the final qualifier to the final, at 2:07.02.

The meet will continue for another three hours, but Liberty is done for the day. We'll be back bright and early tomorrow morning, as Jon Hart will compete in the men's hammer throw at 10 a.m. In total, there will be seven Liberty athletes in action Saturday. Here's a schedule of tomorrow's action:

10 a.m. - Men's hammer (Jon Hart)
4 p.m. - Men's pole vault (Kolby Shepherd)
4 p.m. - Men's triple jump (Clarence Powell)
6 p.m. - Men's discus (Clendon Henderson)
6:40 p.m. - Men's 3,000-meter steeplechase (Jarvis Jelen, Evans Kigen, Jordan McDougal)

Have a nice Friday evening, thanks for your interest and Go Flames!

6:55 p.m. - It's now time for the women's 800-meter run prelims. Jaime Watson is in the second of four heats. Each heat champion and the next four fastest times will advance to Saturday's final.

Other strong runners in Watson's heat include Jesse Carlin of Pennsylvania, the ECAC titlist, and Florida's Lorain McKenzie. Watson will be looking to go out around 1:02 or 1:03 for the opening lap.

Lap 1 - Watson starts out in the rear of the pack for the first 200 meters. She moves up to seventh at the bell. 1:01 is her split. A little fast. Some of thse runners should fall back.

Lap 2 - Watson claims fourth at the 600-meter mark. Carlin is a clear winner. Watson battles McKenzie of Florida for second. Unofficially, Watson's time was 2:09.5, which probably won't be good enough to make the final. Still a nice effort for the Liberty junior.

The third heat is underway. Official results for Watson will follow, once the event has concluded.

5 p.m. - Hart ended up 11th in the men's shot put, falling exactly one foot shy of qualifying for the final. Virginia Tech's Justin Clickett captured the title, throwing a 62-0.5. Hart finished just ahead of the second (Connecticut junior Andrew Dubs) and third-place (Morgan State junior Tyron Benjamin) finishers from the IC4A Championship.

Now we will have a break until Jaime Watson competes at 6:50. A good chance to grab some dinner, although I want to be sure to watch Florida State sprinter Walter Dix run the 100 meters at 5:50 p.m. He stole the show at last year's regional meet, breaking the collegiate 200-meter dash record with a 19.69 effort.

Liberty head coach Brant Tolsma and associate head coach Lance Bingham will be getting ready to drive north after the conclusion of Watson's race. They will be returning to Lynchburg for the Liberty Christian Academy graduation ceremony tomorrow afternoon. Both have daughters graduating from high school this year, as Tami Tolsma and Brittany Bingham will each be donning caps and gowns tomorrow. Incidentally, both ladies are set to join the Liberty track & field team next season.

4:30 p.m. - Ricksecker tied Columbia senior Carmen Ballard for 15th place of the 32 women's 1,500-meter run competitors, as both ran a 4:26.07. For Ricksecker, it's her second-fastest time ever, and is seven seconds faster than she ran at the 2007 regional meet. Meghan Burns of William & Mary was the 12th and final qualifier to tomorrow's final, as she clocked a 4:24.83.

I'm off to see what's up in the men's shot put. The only other event Liberty has remaining is the prelims of the women's 800-meter run. Jaime Watson will compete this evening at 6:50 p.m.

4:10 p.m. - We are set for the first of three heats of the women's 1,500 meters. Rebekah Ricksecker will need to finish in the top three, or post a fast time and hope it holds up. She is coming off a season-best 4:25.47 clocking at the ECAC Championship in Princeton, N.J. The weather was considerably cooler there than it is in Florida. However, there is no wind at all to buffet the runners. The athletes will get to hang out on the track for a few minutes before the gun goes off, because the men's 4 x 100 heats wrapped up a little early.

The protagonists in this heat are 2007 national runner-up Susan Kuijken of Florida State, ECAC champion Keri Bland of West Virginia, Georgetown's Elizabeth Maloy, who is entered at 4:16 and Virginia Tech's Tasmin Fanning, entered at 4:22.

Lap 1 - Ricksecker starts out toward the back of the pack. Bland of West Virginia leads, followed by Kuijken. The split is 71 seconds for Ricksecker.

Lap 2 - The pack has broken up. Ricksecker is hanging on in seventh place. Still the same leaders in front. Her split is a 72, meaning she's covered 800 meters in 2:23. This is a good pace for her.

Lap 3 - Ricksecker makes a move to fourth at the bell. She's at 3:31 for 1200 meters.

Lap 4 (last 300 meters) - Bland, Kuijken and Maloy are clearly the three qualifiers. Ricksecker appears to hang on for fourth. Unofficially, I have her time at 4:26. I'll post again shortly, giving the junior's official clocking and her status for the final.

I'll also see who's made the men's shot put final.

3:30 p.m. - We have some good news from the men's shot put. Liberty senior Jon Hart recorded the second-best throw of the 11 competitors in the first of two flights. His opening attempt stretched the tape to 56-8.5 (17.28m), representing his second-farthest throw of the season. The 12 competitors in the second flight are now warming up. If the eighth-place thrower from the second flight fails to throw 56-8.5, Hart will qualify for the final later this afternoon.

Here are the top three throwers from Flight 1:
1) Chris Keller, Monmouth - 57-11 (17.65m)
2) Jon Hart, Liberty - 56-8.5 (17.28m)
3) Tyron Benjamin, Morgan State - 56-2.5

We are 35 minutes away from Rebekah Ricksecker's heat of the women's 1,500 meters. I'll also try and keep an eye on the shot put, to see if Hart will qualify for the final and earn three more throws. The 12 best throwers are entered in the second flight, however.

2:10 p.m. – The men's high jump bar has reached 7-1 (2.16m), and only nine jumpers remain. Matt Parker was unable to get over 6-11 (2.11m) on his three attempts.

Parker will end up in a seven-way tie for 10th place, after successfully clearing 6-9 on his first try.

The next event for Liberty will be the men's shot put, scheduled to start in about an hour. The shot put rings are at the north end of the facility, so I may venture out into the hot sunshine to cover the event. Then, I'll come back and report after Jon Hart takes his first three throws.

Here's how I described the men's high jump, up until Parker was eliminated:

---------------------------------------------------------------------

We're up to 6-11 (2.11m), and Matt Parker is one of 12 high jumpers who cleared 6-9 on his first attempt. Here's how things shake down at 6-11:

First-Attempt Clearance:
Garrett Huyler (Cornell)
Raphael Hall (Norfolk State)

Second-Attempt Clearance:
Will Velez (St. Francis - Pa.)
Marlon Woods (Norfolk State)
Donte' Nall (North Carolina)
James Blocker (Morgan State)

Third-Attempt Clearance:
Jason Williams (Winthrop)
Justin Frick (Princeton)
Jacques Watson (Coastal Carolina)

Out of Competition:
Daniel Oseth (Radford)
David Edwards-Brennan (Maryland)
Marquis Thomas (Connecticut)
Errol Blackmon (South Florida) - won the jump-off with Matt Parker at last year's regional meet.
Eugene Martin (Florida)
Nick Frimpong (Seton Hall)
Jeff Witmyer (Robert Morris)
Chris Sole (Manhattan)
Matt Evans (Western Carolina)
Matt Parker (Liberty)



We're underway in the men's high jump. The opening height is 6-9 (2.06m). Here's how the athletes have fared so far:

First-Attempt Clearance:
David Edwards-Brennan (Maryland)
Garrett Huyler (Cornell)
Marlon Woods (Norfolk State)
Marquis Thomas (Connecticut)
Justin Frick (Princeton)
Raphael Hall (Norfolk State)
James Blocker (Morgan State)
Eugene Martin (Florida)
Jeff Witmyer (Robert Morris)
Chris Sole (Manhattan)
Matt Evans (Western Carolina)
Matt Parker (Liberty)

Second-Attempt Clearance:
Daniel Oseth (Radford)
Jason Williams (Winthrop)
Donte' Nall (North Carolina)
Jacques Watson (Coastal Carolina)

Third-Attempt Clearance:
Will Velez (St. Francis - Pa.)
Errol Blackmon (South Florida)
Nick Frimpong (Seton Hall)

Out of Competition:
Adam Cole (Florida International)
Nick Crosta (Rutgers)
Cameron Shriver (William & Mary)
Tim Reen (Florida State)
Ian Fox (Princeton)
Michael Kursteiner (South Florida)
Daniel Averso (Georgia)
Adrian Li (Northeastern)
Jeffrey Ramos (Maine)
Jim Smith (Cornell)

12:30 p.m. – I will be limited to 10 blog updates each day this weekend, due to NCAA regulations. That should be more than sufficient, however, because only 10 Liberty athletes will be in action today and tomorrow.

Josh McDougal is entered in tonight's men's 5,000-meter final, but the senior has been battling a right leg injury this spring. So, he has chosen to forego the remainder of his collegiate season in an effort to prepare for the U.S. Olympic Trials. Thus, his brilliant Liberty career has come to an end. The Peru, N.Y., native will end up with 14 total All-America honors.

Here's what today's schedule looks like:

At 1 p.m., the men's high jump is set to begin, with 29 jumpers entered. Matt Parker will jump last in the rotation, with the opening height listed at 6-9. Last year, he cleared 6-11 at the regional meet, reaching a jump-off for the fifth and final qualifying spot for the NCAA national meet. However, Parker was edged by South Florida's Errol Blackmon, who will also be competing today.

Two hours later, Jon Hart will begin throwing the men's shot put. He will be the fourth thrower in the first of two flights. Hart is favored to qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in his best event, the hammer throw, tomorrow. A solid performance in the shot put would be icing on the cake for the senior.

A pair of Lady Flames will compete in running event prelims this afternoon. Rebekah Ricksecker is entered in the first of three heats of the women's 1,500-meter run at 4:05 p.m. Classmate Jaime Watson will then run in the second of four heats of the 800-meter run at 6:50.

Ricksecker has enjoyed a stellar season at the 1,500-meter distance. She won her second consecutive Big South title and cut her personal-best time to 4:25.47 at the ECAC Championship. Unfortunately for her, the 1,500-meter run is arguably the strongest event of the women's regional. Included in the field are the 2007 national champion (North Carolina's Brie Felnagle), the 2007 national runner-up (Florida State's Susan Kuijken) and the 2008 NCAA indoor mile champion (Florida State's Hannah England). The top three finishers in each heat, along with the next three fastest times, will qualify for Saturday's final.

In the 800-meter run, each heat's winner and the next four fastest times will qualify to Saturday's final. Watson is the three-time defending Big South titlist in the event, and is within three-tenths of a second of eclipsing Heather (Sagan) Zealand's Liberty and conference record. Yet, her path to the final is a difficult one as well. Watson's heat features a pair of sub-2:06 runners, ECAC champion Jesse Carlin of Pennsylvania and Florida's Lorain McKenzie.

It promises to be a fun (and hot) day of track and field here in Florida, where the forecast high is 92 degrees. I hope to post several updates from the high jump and shot put competitions as well as a detailed account of the 800 and 1,500 prelims. Enjoy!