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Liberty Track Heads to IC4A/ECAC in Princeton
List of Multi-Event Entrants
As the Liberty men's and women's track & field teams enter the final month of the 2011 season, they are preparing for their second conference meet of the year. The Flames and Lady Flames will travel to Princeton, N.J., for the 135th IC4A and 28th ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Friday through Sunday.
The Liberty men's squad will be in search of its fifth consecutive top-two finish at the three-day meet at William Weaver Track & Field Stadium. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames hope to improve upon their tie for 15th place at last year's meet.
Action gets underway Friday, when Christina Mitchell begins the ECAC heptathlon at noon and Geren Woodbridge starts the IC4A decathlon at 1 p.m. The meet will wrap up shortly after 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
How to Follow the Action
Live results will be available for all IC4A and ECAC events this weekend, courtesy of Lancer Timing.
LibertyFlames.com will provide an interactive CoverItLive blog each day, weather permitting. Due to the lack of an enclosed press box at William Weaver Track & Field Stadium, persistent rain could prohibit live blogging.
Additionally, periodic updates will be posted to the LibertyFlames Twitter account (twitter.com/libertyflames), especially if the blog is not available.
Friday is projected to be the nicest day of the meet, weather-wise. The current forecast calls for a high of 75 degrees under partly cloudy skies. Saturday and Sunday will both feature high temperatures in the mid-60s and the chance of rain showers.
Liberty's IC4A Entrants
Anthony Bryant – Long Jump, Triple Jump
Taylor Courtney – 400
Jacob DeValve – Shot Put
Elliot Galeone – Discus, Javelin
Aaron Johnson – Long Jump
Chris Johnson – Triple Jump
Evans Kigen – Steeplechase
Kevin Reddington – Long Jump
Kolby Shepherd – Pole Vault
Ryan Smith – Shot Put, Hammer
Roderick Spruel – 100
Isaac Wendland – 1,500
Geren Woodbridge – Decathlon
Liberty's ECAC Entrants
Kiara Bridges – 4 x 400 option
Meghan Burggraf – 800, 4 x 400 option
Olivia Charnuski – 100 Hurdles
Jennifer Klugh – 1,500
Kylie McMichael – 4 x 400 option
Christina Mitchell – Heptathlon
Shelley Parker – Pole Vault
Alyssa Pegues – 4 x 400 option
Melanie Sims – 4 x 400 option
Jocelyn Williams – Discus
Amanda Wimbush – 4 x 400 option
What Do All of These Letters Stand For?
The acronym ECAC is short for Eastern College Athletic Conference. According to the ECAC website, it "is the nation's largest athletic conference and only multi-divisional conference, with approximately 300 member institutions ranging across 16 states from Maine to North Carolina and westerly to Illinois." This weekend's women's meet is officially titled the ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championship.
Meanwhile, the concurrent men's meet is called the IC4A Outdoor Track & Field Championship. IC4A stands for Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America, and the name is only applied to the ECAC's Division I men's championships in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field.
Trying For Another Trophy
The Liberty men's squad has taken home a trophy from the IC4A Outdoor Track & Field Championship each of the past four years, winning the championship in 2007 and 2008 and finishing second in 2009 and 2010. The Flames were also successful at this year's IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championship in March, sharing second place with Rutgers.
Connecticut will enter this weekend's meet as the favorite, as the Huskies are the defending IC4A indoor and outdoor champions. Moreover, UConn won the BIG EAST title last weekend.
Other potential contenders for the men's team title include CAA champion George Mason, Ivy League champion Princeton, America East champion Albany, Duke and Rutgers.
Liberty's annual Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday. As a result, some of the top Flames and Lady Flames will not be making the trip to Princeton this weekend. Liberty's notable graduates include Big South women's triple jump champion Mia Aghaji, Big South women's 5K and 10K champion Dacia Bushman and three-time NCAA national champion Sam Chelanga.
The Flames have two past IC4A champions entered this weekend, Taylor Courtney and Evans Kigen. Courtney won the men's 500-meter dash at the 2011 IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championship in impressive fashion.
Kigen has won a pair of IC4A titles during his time at Liberty, including both the indoor 5K and outdoor steeplechase in 2010. However, Kigen is battling a couple nagging injuries and has already pretty much secured a spot in the NCAA Preliminary Round meet. So, his participation in Friday evening's steeplechase final is uncertain.
Carrying on the Tradition
The decathlon has been Liberty's strongest event at the IC4A meet during the Flames' time in the conference. Six different competitors have combined to win 11 IC4A decathlon championships in the last 19 years.
Geren Woodbridge will look to continue the Flames' proud multi-event tradition this weekend. The redshirt senior has finished as the IC4A decathlon runner-up each of the past two seasons and enters as the No. 2 seed behind UMBC's Keith Onto.
Woodbridge, who captured his first Big South decathlon title last month, will also be attempting to extend his career. The decathletes with the top 24 scores in the nation will compete at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Entering this weekend, a score of 7,363 points ranks No. 24 nationally. So, Woodbridge will aim for a score somewhere in that range.
The Lady Flames have also historically fared well in the women's multi events at the ECAC level. Three of their eight ECAC titles have come in either the indoor pentathlon or outdoor heptathlon.
This weekend, Christina Mitchell will attempt to become Liberty's first ECAC heptathlon champion since Danielle McNaney in 2005. The Big South champion is the top seed, thanks to her score of 4,968 at the Texas Relays. Her toughest competition could come from Towson senior Ashley Adams, the reigning ECAC indoor pentathlon titlist.
This weekend is athletes' final chance to qualify for the NCAA Preliminary Round meet, which is slated for May 26-28 in Bloomington, Ind. The top 48 individuals in each event and the top 24 relay teams in the Eastern half of the country will earn the right to compete at the meet. Entering the IC4A and ECAC meets, here is how some of the Flames and Lady Flames stand.
Lock: Mia Aghaji (women's triple jump), Sam Chelanga (men's 5K & 10K), Elliot Galeone (men's discus and javelin), Evans Kigen (men's steeplechase), Kolby Shepherd (men's pole vault) and Ryan Smith (men's shot put)
Near Lock: Dacia Bushman (women's 10K)
Work Left to Do: Anthony Bryant (men's triple jump), Meghan Burggraf (women's 800) Olivia Charnuski (women's 100 hurdles), Taylor Courtney (men's 400), Chris Johnson (men's triple jump), Jennifer Klugh (women's 1,500) and Ryan Smith (men's hammer)
In the Nick of Time
Kevin Reddington and Isaac Wendland both waited until their last chance to qualify for the IC4A meet, last Thursday's Liberty Twilight Qualifier. It was actually Reddington's sixth and final long jump attempt which reached 23-8.25 and punched his IC4A ticket.
Meanwhile, Wendland left no doubt that he would meet the IC4A standard in the 1,500-meter run, clocking a career-best 3:47.12. Not only did the junior qualify for the IC4A meet, but he also put himself in contention for a berth at the NCAA Preliminary Round meet in the process.
Freshmen Kiara Bridges, Kylie McMichael and Amanda Wimbush will all travel to their first ECAC meet this weekend. All three Lady Flames are candidates to run on the 4 x 400 relay, which will be Liberty's only relay quartet to compete in Princeton.
Jocelyn Williams, also a freshman, will get her first taste of the ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championship. However, she did compete in the weight throw at the ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championship in Boston earlier this year.