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Liberty Men 3rd, Women 4th at Carolina's Cup
Two weeks before the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, partial Liberty men's and women's squads competed in the team-scored Carolina's Cup, Friday evening at Winthrop's Irwin Belk Track. The Flames placed third, while the Lady Flames ended up fourth in the final team standings.
The Liberty men's squad tallied 108 points, including 18 by Chris Johnson. The Flames were overtaken for second place by host Winthrop (109 points) during the night's final event, the 4 x 400 relay. Radford won the competition with 153 points.
Meanwhile, the five women's teams were separated by only 24 points at the end of the 18-event competition. Liberty ended up fourth with 99 points, while Gardner-Webb's 121 markers garnered the team title.
Men's Meet Recap
Johnson was the Flames' only event champion on Friday, thanks to his personal-best 48-2.75 effort in the triple jump. He also highlighted Liberty's 15-point haul in the long jump with a runner-up finish and personal-best 23-0 leap.
Anthony Bryant followed at 22-10 in the long jump, netting third place. Bryant also came in third in the high jump at 6-6.75. He matched the height of event winner Tony Brown from Radford. However, Bryant ended up in third place on misses.
Liberty's sprinters took advantage of favorable tailwinds on Friday, especially in the 100-meter dash. Roderick Spruel (10.78), Jacey Bailey (10.92) and Anthony Settje (10.93) all clocked season-best times, placing second, fourth and fifth, respectively. Spruel's time was an IC4A qualifier.
Those same three runners teamed up with Jamal Spears for a second-place finish in the 4 x 100 relay. The quartet's official time was 42.26.
The Flames claimed the runner-up spot in three other men's field events, thanks to three freshmen. Jacob DeValve heaved the javelin a personal-best 179-6, Tim Abbott hurled the discus 142-3 and Grant Rideout pole vaulted 12-7.5.
Women's Meet Recap
Freshmen Jocelyn Williams and Rachel Barnes combined for 34 points in the women's throwing events. Williams won the discus (119-3), took third in the hammer (146-9) and placed fourth in the shot put (35-5.25).
Meanwhile, Barnes came in second in the shot put (40-3.5) and third in the discus (100-11). Barnes' shot put effort ties her with Lacey Cunningham for the No. 5 spot on Liberty's all-time outdoor shot put performance list.
Mid-distance and distance runners also fared well for the Lady Flames. Leading the way was sophomore Betel Yosef, who recorded a dominating victory in the 1,500 at 4:50.70. Amanda Wimbush came in second in her season debut at the 800-meter distance, clocking a 2:19.34.
Liberty took third and fourth place in the women's steeplechase, courtesy of Alicia Guridy (11:56.71) and Denise Troyer (12:00.00). Troyer's personal-best time enabled her to climb into the No. 8 spot in program history.
The Lady Flames' newest member of the 12-foot pole vault club, Shelley Parker cleared 11-5.75 on Friday for second place. Grace Esden chipped in a third-place performance in the javelin (105-2), while Kristen Willeford shared third place in the high jump at 5-3.
The Flames and Lady Flames who competed in the Carolina's Cup will now begin preparing to defend Liberty's men's and women's team titles at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The 2011 edition of the meet will be contested April 21-23 at VMI's Read Memorial Track in Lexington, Va.