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Liberty Track to Compete at Texas, Winthrop
Texas Relays live results
Texas Relays video streaming (Friday)
Texas Relays video streaming (Saturday)
Flotrack's Texas Relays coverage
Texas Relays schedule
Texas Relays performance list
Austin, Texas weather
Carolina's Cup live results
Carolina's Cup video streaming (Big South Network)
Carolina's Cup schedule
Rock Hill, S.C. weather
The Liberty men's and women's track & field teams will be divided between two meets this week, the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays and the team-scored Carolina's Cup, hosted by Winthrop.
Six Liberty women's athletes and five men's athletes will travel to Austin, Texas for the prestigious Texas Relays, to compete alongside some of the top names in track & field, including Tyson Gay and Jeremy Wariner. Action at the four-day meet gets underway Wednesday afternoon, with the start of the multi-events.
While the Texas Relays will stretch over four days, the Carolina's Cup will wrap up in less than four hours Friday evening. The meet at Irwin Belk Track in Rock Hill, S.C., will feature a team competition between Liberty, Gardner-Webb, Radford, Savannah State and host Winthrop. The first events are slated for a 5:15 p.m. start.
With no meets listed on next week's schedule, the Texas Relays and Carolina's Cup will present Liberty's final opportunities to tune up for the 2011 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The meet will be held April 21-23 at VMI's Read Memorial Track in Lexington, Va.
How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available for both the Texas Relays and Carolina's Cup. Links may be found at the top of this release and on the track & field schedule/results page on LibertyFlames.com.
Additionally, video streaming will be available for the Texas Relays on Friday and Saturday, as well as the entire Carolina's Cup Friday evening.
Flotrack will be also on hand in Austin, shooting videos and conducting interviews throughout the Texas Relays.
Liberty has faced less than ideal weather conditions at its last two meets, the Raleigh Relays and Liberty Collegiate Invitational. However, the forecast is much more favorable this week.
In Austin, Texas, the projected high temperatures range between 83 degrees on Wednesday and 92 degrees on Saturday, with little chance of precipitation.
Meanwhile, Rock Hill, S.C., is expected to see a high of 80 degrees and partly cloudy skies for Friday evening's meet.
Texas Relays Preview
Liberty will be represented at the Texas Relays for the first time since 2008, and all 11 Flames and Lady Flames entered in the meet will be making their Texas Relays debut. The meet at Mike A. Myers Stadium annually features a mix of top professional, collegiate and high school competition, and this year promises to be no different.
A Look Back at Last Time
Liberty fared exceptionally well during its most recent appearance at the Texas Relays, in 2008. A pair of Lone Star State natives combined to break three school records during the meet.
Clendon Henderson, now a Liberty assistant coach, won both the men's shot put and discus titles at the 2008 Texas Relays, setting program records in both events. He threw the shot put 61-3 and tossed the discus 204-3.
Meanwhile, Brandon Hoskins, now Liberty's compliance coordinator, tallied a school-record 7,800 points to place third in the decathlon.
A Mecca for Multi Events
The Texas Relays often attracts top-level athletes to compete in the decathlon and heptathlon. In 2008, Trey Hardee was one of two decathletes to defeat Brandon Hoskins at the Texas Relays. The following year, he went on to win the decathlon at the IAAF World Championships.
Last year, Oregon's Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen swept the Texas Relays decathlon and heptathlon titles. Two months later, the pair won the multi-event crowns at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
In fact, the top three finishers in the 2010 Texas Relays decathlon (Eaton, California's Michael Morrison and Texas A&M's Trinity Otto) finished in the same order atop the NCAA decathlon standings.
As a result, Liberty's Geren Woodbridge in the decathlon and Christina Mitchell in the heptathlon expect to face stiff competition this week, as they make their 2011 outdoor multi-event debuts.
Woodbridge will square off against Morrison, as well as Thomas FitzSimons of Mount St. Mary's, the reigning IC4A decathlon champion. Meanwhile, Mitchell will match up against Ryann Krais of Kansas State and Big South rival Patria Norman of Charleston Southern.
Both the decathlon and heptathlon will be contested on Wednesday and Thursday.
How High Can You Go?
Liberty redshirt junior Kolby Shepherd is off to a strong start this season in the men's pole vault. On Saturday, he became the fourth Liberty pole vaulter ever to go over 17 feet, reaching 17-0.75 at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational.
Shepherd will meet some of the NCAA's top pole vaulters at the Texas Relays. Also entered in the field are Jordan Scott of Kansas and Jack Whitt of Oral Roberts. Scott is the defending NCAA outdoor pole vault national champion, while Whitt currently tops the NCAA Division I national performance list at 18-3.75.
The men's pole vault will be contested Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern, during the final session of competition at the Texas Relays.
Running a Relay at the Relays
Liberty will contest one relay at the Texas Relays. The Lady Flames are entered in the sprint medley relay, consisting of two 200-meter legs, a 400-meter leg and an 800-meter anchor leg. Liberty's expected quartet is Olivia Charnuski and Alyssa Pegues running 200 meters apiece, either Mia Aghaji or Melanie Sims at 400 meters and Meghan Burggraf on the 800-meter leg.
Pegues, Charnuski, Kiara Bridges and Burggraf clocked a 3:58.62 in the sprint medley relay on March 25 at the Raleigh Relays, becoming the second-fastest quartet in program history. Panthera Seymour, Christina Schlesinger, Kodi Pollard and Heather Sagan set the school record of 3:57.43 at the Disney Relays on March 17, 2001.
The women's sprint medley relay will be run under the lights, Friday at 9:30 p.m. Eastern.
Liberty's Competition Schedule at the Texas Relays
Wednesday, April 6
12:30 p.m. Eastern – Heptathlon (Christina Mitchell)
1 p.m. – Decathlon (Geren Woodbridge)
7:15 p.m. – Women's 800 (Meghan Burggraf)
Thursday, April 7
Noon – Decathlon (Geren Woodbridge)
1 p.m. – Heptathlon (Christina Mitchell)
4:30 p.m. – Men's Hammer (Ryan Smith)
5:30 p.m. – Women's 400 Hurdles (Mia Aghaji, Melanie Sims)
Friday, April 8
11 a.m. – Women's 100 Hurdles (Olivia Charnuski)
11 a.m. – Men's Long Jump – Section B (Clarence Powell)
11:30 a.m. – Women's 100 (Alyssa Pegues)
2 p.m. – Men's Discus – Section B (Elliot Galeone)
8 p.m. – Men's Javelin – Section A (Elliot Galeone)
9:30 p.m. – Women's Sprint Medley Relay (Olivia Charnuski, Alyssa Pegues, Mia Aghaji or Melanie Sims, Meghan Burggraf)
Saturday, April 9
2:30 p.m. – Men's Triple Jump – Section A (Clarence Powell)
4 p.m. – Men's Pole Vault – Section A (Kolby Shepherd)
4:30 p.m. – Men's Shot Put – Section A (Ryan Smith)
Carolina's Cup Preview
Liberty will take part in the second annual Carolina's Cup meet on Friday. The rare team-scored meet will pit the Flames against Gardner-Webb, Radford, Savannah State and Winthrop. Last year, Appalachian State swept the men's and women's team championships at this meet.
The meet, set for a 5:15 p.m. start, will be something of a preview of the 2011 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Four of the five participating teams are Big South members.
It Has Been a While
The Carolina's Cup will be Liberty's first meet at Winthrop since the 2008 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Liberty men's squad took the team title, while the Lady Flames finished third in the meet.
Only three Liberty athletes who competed in the 2008 Big South outdoor meet are entered in the Carolina's Cup, including Jacey Bailey, Rod'Esther Castor and Krystle Matthews. Matthews finished as the Big South heptathlon runner-up that weekend, as a freshman.
Matthews will have a heptathlon-like experience on Friday, as she is entered in the 100 hurdles, long jump, high jump and javelin in the four-hour meet.
The men's 400-meter hurdles and women's pole vault are two events to watch on Friday, as they will feature some of the top Big South performers.
In the men's 400 hurdles, Liberty's Taylor Courtney is likely to face Brett Olinger of Radford. Courtney currently tops the Big South performance list at 52.67 seconds, with Olinger second at 53.40. Last year, Olinger edged Courtney for second place at the Big South outdoor meet in a photo finish. Both runners clocked identical times of 52.85 seconds.
Shelley Parker has performed well this year in the women's pole vault. The sophomore claimed the Big South indoor title and just cleared a personal-best 12-1.5 at Saturday's Liberty Collegiate Invitational. On Friday, Parker will match up against conference-leading Carrie Long of Gardner-Webb, who sailed over a school-record 12-3.5 at Wofford last weekend.