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Flames Capture BSC Title, Lady Flames 2nd
The Liberty men's track & field team more than doubled the score of second-place VMI, as the Flames won their third straight Big South outdoor team title, Saturday at the 2009 New Balance Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Lady Flames moved up into the runner-up position in the meet, held at Radford's Cupp Stadium.
The Liberty men's squad racked up 216 points to outdistance the Keydets by 109 points, on a warm, sunny day in Radford. The Flames have now won 14 of the 16 Big South outdoor meets ever contested.
On the women's side, the Lady Flames leapfrogged Gardner-Webb, moving from third place into second with 128.5 points. Coastal Carolina repeated as team champion, totaling 228 markers.
Liberty captured a lot of individual hardware at the meet's conclusion, including both the Big South Men's and Women's Field Performer of the Year awards. Anthony Bryant (R-Fr., Charlottesville, Va.) swept the men's high jump, long jump and triple jump titles to earn the men's honor. Meanwhile, Marie Williams (R-Sr., Tampa, Fla.) scored 33 points while completing 13 disciplines, garnering the women's accolade.
John Talbert (Newton, Kan.), who won the men's discus on Saturday and totaled 23 points in the four throwing events, won the Big South Men's Freshman of the Year trophy. Meanwhile, Brant Tolsma was voted Big South Men's Coach of the Year, his 40th career Big South Coach of the Year honor.
Seniors Phil Leineweber (New Freedom, Pa.) and Andrea Beckles (Lynchburg, Va.) were included on the Big South Men's and Women's All-Academic teams, respectively. Leineweber, a Biblical studies major with a 3.94 GPA, was voted Big South Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Men's Meet Recap
Bryant became only the second men's athlete ever to sweep the Big South outdoor men's high jump, long jump and triple jump crowns at the same meet. He closed an impressive triple jump series on Saturday with a 52-0 leap, which broke the Big South overall record, Big South meet record, Liberty record and stadium record. Pending the other results of this weekend's meets, Bryant could be ranked as high as No. 7 nationally.
Clarence Powell (So., Marianna, Fla.), the defending Big South men's triple jump champion who saw Bryant take down his school and conference records, finished second with a season-best 50-2.5 jump.
Liberty enjoyed a 1-2 finish in the men's discus as well, led by Talbert's 175-3, which won the competition by nearly 20 feet. Elliot Galeone (R-So., White Hall, Md.) captured runner-up honors with a 155-8 heave.
Sam Chelanga (R-So., Nairobi, Kenya) won both of his events on Saturday, clocking 3:49.69 for the 1,500 and breaking Josh McDougal's meet record with a 14:01.89 in the 5K. Chelanga's 5,000-meter time was a NCAA regional qualifier, while his 1,500 clocking earns an IC4A berth.
Tim O'Donnell (R-Sr., Hurst, Texas), who had not run the 400-meter hurdles in two years, prior to this weekend, looked just fine on Saturday. He won the event for the second time in his career, breaking the 14-year-old meet record with his 51.35. O'Donnell also qualified for the NCAA Division I East Regional Championships in the process.
Senior Matt Parker (Rome, N.Y.) posted his second runner-up finish of the meet and his second straight runner-up placing in the men's 110-meter hurdles final. He crossed the finish line in 14.58 seconds.
Cody Fridgen (Sarasota, Fla.), just a freshman, picked a nice time for a season-best 14-11 pole vault clearance. He was an All-Big South performer with his third-place effort.
The Flames punctuated their team title in the meet's final event, the 4 x 400 relay. Leineweber, James Hatch (Fr., Derry, N.H.), Parker and O'Donnell ended up third, coming in under the IC4A standard at 3:14.77.
Women's Meet Recap
Williams competed in a trio of events Saturday, highlighted by her runner-up finish in the 400 hurdles. Her time of 1:01.96, a career best, qualified for the ECAC championship and ranks No. 4 on Liberty's all-time performance list.
Williams also teamed up with Melanie Sims (Fr., Cleveland Heights, Ohio), Ashley Teer (Sr., Abbotsford, British Columbia) and Chenoa Freeman (Jr., Lincoln, Del.) for second place in the 4 x 400 relay, in a season-best 3:54.50. Finally, Williams took fourth in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.74 into a headwind.
In addition to Williams, Liberty came up with two other runner-up finishes in the women's running events. Freeman's season-best 55.43 clocking was good for second place in the 400-meter dash, while Ashley Osborne (Sr., Bristol, Va.) ran 17:49.06 to claim 5K runner-up honors.
Liberty's 4 x 100 relay grouping of Olivia Charnuski (Fr., Elmira, Ontario), Alyssa Pegues (Fr., Warner Robins, Ga.), Freeman and Beckles took third place in 46.13 seconds, cutting a quarter-second off its previous best time this season.
All four of the relay members also starred in individual events Saturday. Pegues triple jumped 38-11.5 for third place, climbing into fifth place on Liberty's all-time performance list. Charnuski came in third in the 100 hurdles, with a time of 14.70.
Beckles placed well in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes. She covered 100 meters in 11.82 seconds for third place and recorded a 24.24 for the 200, which placed fourth.
Some of Liberty's top men's and women's athletes will be divided between a pair of meets on opposite coasts this coming week. Chelanga will travel to Berkeley, Calif., Friday evening, for the Brutus Hamilton Invitational. Meanwhile, some of his teammates will compete in the historic Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa., Thursday through Saturday.
Men's Team Scoring (Final)
1) Liberty - 216
2) VMI – 107
3) Coastal Carolina - 101.5
4) Radford - 99
5) High Point - 86
6) Charleston Southern - 75
7) Gardner-Webb – 67.5
8) Winthrop - 58
9) UNC Asheville - 5
Women's Team Scoring (Final)
1) Coastal Carolina – 228
2) Liberty – 128.5
3) High Point - 97
4) Charleston Southern - 92
5) Gardner-Webb – 82.5
6) Radford – 81.5
7) Winthrop – 54.5
8) VMI – 38
9) UNC Asheville – 15
Men's Track Performer of the Year
Levi Brooks, Charleston Southern
Women's Track Performer of the Year
Ikeiylah Brown, Coastal Carolina
Men's Field Performer of the Year
Anthony Bryant, Liberty
Women's Field Performer of the Year
Marie Williams, Liberty
Men's Freshman of the Year
John Talbert, Liberty
Women's Freshman of the Year
Aimee Veatch, Radford
Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Phil Leineweber, Liberty
Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Marcie Veitch, Coastal Carolina
Men's All-Academic Team
Will Beasley, UNC Asheville
Jean Pierre Poisson, Charleston Southern
Josh Morgan, High Point
Phil Leineweber, Liberty
Paul Steinke, Gardner-Webb
Matt Dobson, Radford
Kevin Davis, Coastal Carolina
Trevor Beesley, Winthrop
Women's All-Academic Team
Kelly Bridges, Gardner-Webb
Zsannett Kis, High Point
Andrea Beckles, Liberty
Marcie Veitch, Coastal Carolina
Carly Moss, Winthrop
Zipporah McCann, VMI
Brittany Owens, Charleston Southern
Ashlyn Sinclair, Radford
Natalie Pearson, UNC Asheville
Men's Coach of the Year
Brant Tolsma, Liberty
Women's Coach of the Year
Alan Connie, Coastal Carolina