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NCAA Preliminary Round Next for Liberty Track
Thursday's Live Video Streaming
Friday's Live Video Streaming
Saturday's Live Video Streaming
Meet Informational Webpage
Link to Declared Athletes & Start Lists
For the second consecutive year, a pair of NCAA Division I Preliminary Round meets will be used as the qualifiers for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Ten Liberty athletes will compete at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, scheduled for Thursday through Saturday at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex in Bloomington, Ind.
At both the Bloomington and Eugene, Ore., venues, 48 competitors will contest each individual event and 24 squads will run in each relay race. The top 12 qualifiers in each event will then move on to the 2011 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will be held June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Liberty trio of Sam Chelanga, Elliot Galeone and Evans Kigen will be attempting to return to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, with Chelanga aiming to defend his 10K national title. Meanwhile, the other seven Flames and Lady Flames traveling to Bloomington will be in search of their first NCAA national qualifications.
How to Follow the Flames
Both live video streaming and live results will be available during all three days of competition, on the IUHoosiers.com website.
Thursday's video streaming will begin at 3:30 p.m., Friday's video streaming will begin at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday's video streaming will begin at 6 p.m.
Additionally, LibertyFlames.com will provide live interactive blog coverage throughout the meet, following the progress of all 10 Liberty competitors.
Thursday's high temperature in Bloomington is expected to reach the low 70s, but there is a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms.
On Friday, the chance of rain falls to 30 percent, but the temperature will also drop into the 60s.
Temperatures are projected to return to the 70s on Saturday, with a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms.
NCAA Preliminary Round Event Capsules
Men's 1,500-Meter Run
Event Schedule: First Round – Thursday at 5 p.m.; Quarterfinal – Saturday at 6:45 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Isaac Wendland (Jr., Charles City, Iowa)
How He Got Here: Wendland had only run the 1,500 twice during his first two years at Liberty, but the "metric mile" has become his primary event this season. He placed third at both the Raleigh Relays and Big South meet, before making his big breakthrough at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier on May 5. Wendland's time of 3:47.12 moved him up to the No. 3 spot in program history and punched his ticket to Bloomington. He then ran a nearly identical time (3:47.14) in his most recent race, taking sixth place in the IC4A 1,500 final.
This is the second straight year Wendland has qualified for the NCAA Preliminary Round meet. Last year, he competed in the 800-meter run at this meet.
Field Breakdown: There is no clear-cut favorite in the men's 1,500 at Bloomington. Butler senior Kris Gauson is the top seed at 3:40.59, but he will have plenty of competition.
Dumisane Hlaselo of Florida is Track & Field News' favorite. The publication predicts him to place fifth in the 1,500 final at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Hlaselo is one of four entrants who placed in the top seven in the mile at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. He came in fourth, one spot behind Penn State's Ryan Foster.
Wendland is the only Big South Conference athlete in the 1,500 field, but he will see some familiar faces in Bloomington. He raced against the Appalachian State duo of Alex Taylor and Brandon Hudgins at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier. Meanwhile, six of the top seven finishers in the IC4A 1,500 final are entered at Bloomington, led by IC4A champion Paul Lagno of Albany.
Road to Des Moines: Four first-round heats will be contested on Thursday, with the top five finishers in each section and the next four time qualifiers moving on to Saturday's quarterfinal round. On Saturday, two heats will be run. The top five finishers in each heat and the next two time qualifiers from the quarterfinals will advance to Des Moines.
Men's 3,000-Meter Steeplechase
Event Schedule: Quarterfinal – Friday at 9:10 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Evans Kigen (R-Sr., Eldoret, Kenya)
How He Got Here: Limited by injury, Kigen has run at only one outdoor meet this season, the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. However, he fared very well in Lexington, winning the steeplechase in 8:53.32 and coming back the next day to take the conference 5K title in 14:35.32.
Field Breakdown: Kigen will attempt to qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the third time in his career, but he will square off against some of the nation's finest steeplechase runners.
Headlining the entrants is Louisville senior Matt Hughes, the defending NCAA national steeplechase champion. Princeton junior Donn Cabral, who placed second to Hughes at last year's national meet, is also entered.
However, neither Hughes nor Cabral owns the top seed time in Bloomington. That honor goes to Temple's Travis Mahoney, at 8:37.23.
Kigen received a strong challenge at the Big South meet from High Point's Jacob Smith. The conference steeplechase runner-up will also run in Bloomington this weekend.
Road to Des Moines: Three heats of the steeplechase will be contested Friday night. The top three finishers in each heat and the next three time qualifiers will advance to Des Moines.
Men's 5,000-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Semifinal – Saturday at 8:45 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Sam Chelanga (R-Sr., Nairobi, Kenya)
How He Got Here: Hoping to start his professional running career this summer, Chelanga has raced sparingly during the collegiate outdoor season. His only 5K so far this season came on April 30, when he clocked a 14:02.57 at the Radford Invitational.
Field Breakdown: Chelanga owns the fastest 5K personal best in the field, an indoor 13:19.79 from 2009. He is also a four-time NCAA national runner-up at the 5K distance, including the indoor and outdoor championships. However, he is only seeded No. 26 in Bloomington based on his qualifying time from this season.
Another athlete who is considerably underseeded based on past credentials is Iona senior Leonard Korir. The No. 11 seed in Bloomington, Korir outkicked Chelanga to win the 5K national title at this year's NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Ryan Hill of N.C. State is the top seed at 13:31.67 and is picked by Track & Field News to place fourth nationally in this event.
Chelanga is one of 11 5K runners at Bloomington who are entered in a pair of events this weekend. However, only Chelanga, Korir, Florida State's Ciaran O'Lionaird, Western Kentucky's Shadrack Kipchirchir and Columbia's Brendan Martin are attempting the 5K/10K double.
Road to Des Moines: Two 5K heats will be run Saturday evening. The top five finishers in each race and the next two time qualifiers will earn the right to compete in Des Moines.
Men's 10,000-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Semifinal – Thursday at 9:15 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Sam Chelanga (R-Sr., Nairobi, Kenya)
How He Got Here: As in the 5K, Chelanga has only contested the 10K once this season. Leading from start to finish on March 25 at the Raleigh Relays, Chelanga clocked a time of 28:15.64. That ranks him No. 3 nationally in the event.
Field Breakdown: Chelanga has been the NCAA's top 10K runner for the last two years. He won the 2010 national title in this event and owns the collegiate 10K record at 27:08.39. Additionally, Chelanga is the back-to-back NCAA national cross country champion at the 10K distance.
As a result, Chelanga is favored to claim another 10K national crown in Des Moines. However, he will get a first-hand look at two of his top contenders this weekend.
The previously-mentioned Leonard Korir of Iona is also attempting the 5K/10K double. He posted a stellar 10K time of 27:29.40 at Stanford earlier this season.
Meanwhile, the versatile Ciaran O'Lionaird of Florida State won both the 1,500 and 5K titles at the ACC meet. His top 10K time this year is 28:32.30. Track & Field News picks him to place fourth nationally in the 10K, with Chelanga first and Korir third.
Chelanga did not run at the Big South meet this season. In his absence, High Point's Neal Darmody was the conference 10K champion with Coastal Carolina's Kyle Kling coming in second. Both runners will compete in the 10K this weekend.
Road to Des Moines: All 48 10K entrants will compete in the same race Thursday night. The top 12 finishers will punch their tickets to Des Moines.
Men's 400-Meter Hurdles
Event Schedule: First Round – Thursday at 4 p.m.; Quarterfinal – Friday at 7:15 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Taylor Courtney (R-So., Manheim, Pa.)
How He Got Here: Courtney, who enjoyed a breakthrough indoor season, has carried his success over into the outdoor campaign. The Big South 400 hurdles runner-up, Courtney ran a personal-best time of 52.67 at the Shamrock Invitational on March 19. That time got him into the NCAA Preliminary Round field as the 48th and final qualifier.
Field Breakdown: Mississippi's Lee Moore is the only runner in the field who has broken 50 seconds this year, owning a season-best time of 49.82. Meanwhile, South Florida's David Aristil is the top returnee from the 2010 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, where he placed fifth.
Courtney will see one of his top conference rivals in Bloomington, in the form of Radford senior Brett Olinger. Olinger edged Courtney for second place in the 400 hurdles at the 2010 Big South meet, before claiming this year's conference 400 hurdles championship.
Road to Des Moines: Six first-round heats of the 400 hurdles will be contested on Thursday, with the top three runners in each heat and the next six time qualifiers advancing to Friday's quarterfinal. On Friday, the top three finishers in each of the three quarterfinal heats and the next three time qualifiers will advance to Des Moines.
Men's Pole Vault
Event Schedule: Qualifying – Friday at 6 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Kolby Shepherd (R-Jr., Dublin, Ga.)
How He Got Here: Shepherd is seeded No. 4 in Bloomington, thanks to his school record-equaling 17-6.5 clearance at the Texas Relays on April 9. That was one of four times the Big South champion and IC4A runner-up has gone over 17 feet this season.
Field Breakdown: Virginia Tech's Hunter Hall and Tennessee's Joe Berry are tied for the top seed in Bloomington, as both vaulters have cleared 17-8.5 this season. Track & Field News tabs Hall to place fifth nationally and Berry to come in sixth in Des Moines.
Hall, who placed sixth in the pole vault at the 2011 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, is one of the few vaulters who has defeated Shepherd this season. Hall won the pole vault at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier, with Shepherd coming in second.
Albany's Luke Schoen claimed the IC4A pole vault title, just ahead of runner-up Shepherd. Schoen will be in the field at Bloomington as well.
Road to Des Moines: On Friday evening, the 48 pole vaulters will compete until only 12 remain alive. If necessary, tiebreakers and/or a jump-off will be used to determine the final qualifiers for Des Moines.
Men's Shot Put
Event Schedule: Qualifying – Thursday at 1 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Ryan Smith (R-So., Winder, Ga.)
How He Got Here: Smith is seeded No. 19 for his second consecutive NCAA Preliminary Round appearance, thanks to a 57-11.25 effort at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational on April 2. Smith has won four shot put titles this spring, including the Big South crown on April 22.
Field Breakdown: The Bloomington field is headlined by Auburn freshman Stephen Saenz, who has reached 64-3 this season. He placed fourth in the shot put at the 2011 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, while Buffalo's Robert Golabek was eighth.
Last year, Penn State's Blake Eaton placed third in this event at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Big Ten champion is seeded No. 4 in Bloomington.
Smith is one of two Big South shot putters who qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet. He will be joined by Travis Coleman of Winthrop.
Road to Des Moines: Each of the 48 shot putters will receive three attempts, with the top 16 performers earning three more attempts apiece. At the conclusion of the competition, the shot putters with the top 12 marks will advance to Des Moines.
Last year, Smith earned all six throws. However, he finished 16th, narrowly missing a national berth.
Event Schedule: Qualifying – Saturday at 5 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Elliot Galeone (R-Sr., White Hall, Md.)
How He Got Here: Galeone's top discus mark this season, 174-6, came at the Texas Relays on April 8. He also claimed his second straight Big South discus crown and came in sixth at the IC4A meet.
Galeone is competing in the discus at the NCAA Preliminary Round meet for the second consecutive season. Last year, he placed 23rd in the event.
Field Breakdown: James Plummer of Rutgers, Colin Boevers of Kentucky and Michael Putman of Florida State are picked by Track & Field News to finish fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Plummer is the region's top seed at 198-3 and recently claimed the IC4A title. Putman came in sixth in the discus at the 2010 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Many of the discus competitors will be competing in their second event of the weekend on Saturday. However, only Galeone and Florida's Stipe Zunic are entered in both the discus and javelin.
Road to Des Moines: All discus entrants will receive three attempts, before the field is narrowed down to 16 competitors. After each of the 16 remaining entrants takes three more attempts, the top 12 finishers will qualify for Des Moines.
Event Schedule: Qualifying – Thursday at Noon
Liberty Competitor: Elliot Galeone (R-Sr., White Hall, Md.)
How He Got Here: Galeone, a 2010 NCAA national qualifier in the javelin, has enjoyed a stellar senior season. He has thrown 208 feet or longer in all nine of his competitions, topping out at a school-record 229-5 to win the Big South title on April 21. Galeone also came in second at the Raleigh Relays, third at the Drake Relays and fifth at the IC4A championship.
Field Breakdown: Defending national champion Craig Kinsley of Brown headlines the men's javelin field in Bloomington. He has thrown 250-5 this season.
However, the top seed in Bloomington is Western Kentucky junior Ignacio Guerra. He ranks No. 2 nationally with a 258-2 toss.
Track & Field News picks Kinsley to repeat his national title this season, with Guerra second and Georgia's Brian Moore fifth. Galeone defeated Moore at the Drake Relays earlier this season.
For the second straight season, the Big South Conference will be well-represented in the men's javelin at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. In addition to Galeone, Coastal Carolina's Jason Flanagan, UNC Asheville's Simon Haake and Radford's Sean Domer will all throw the spear in Bloomington.
Road to Des Moines: As in the other throwing events, all 48 javelin competitors will take three attempts on Thursday. The top 16 competitors will each earn three additional throws, with each of them aiming to claim one of the 12 qualifying spots to Des Moines.
Women's 1,500-Meter Run
Event Schedule: First Round – Thursday at 4:30 p.m.; Quarterfinal – Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Jennifer Klugh (Jr., Centerburg, Ohio)
How She Got Here: Klugh has been the class of Big South women's distance runners this year, claiming conference titles in cross country, the indoor mile and 3K and the outdoor 1,500. However, her berth in Bloomington was not secure until she ran a personal-best 4:27.33 in the ECAC 1,500-meter prelims on May 14. That effort earned Klugh a spot in the final, where she came in ninth.
Klugh will be running the 1,500 at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the second straight year.
Field Breakdown: The women's 1,500-meter field in Bloomington is very top-heavy, containing four of Track & Field News' top five national picks. The publication tabs Villanova's Sheila Reid to win the national title, with Georgetown's Renee Tomlin third, Duke's Kate Van Buskirk fourth and Stony Brook's Lucy Van Dalen fifth.
Reid was the NCAA national cross country champion in November and enters with the top seed time of 4:11.85. Van Buskirk was the NCAA indoor national runner-up in the mile this season.
Although Klugh is the Big South's lone representative in the women's 1,500 field, she will square off with six of the eight runners who defeated her in the ECAC 1,500 final, led by ECAC runner-up Nihal Kayali of Yale.
Road to Des Moines: Four first-round heats of the women's 1,500 will be contested Thursday afternoon, with the top four finishers from each race and the next four time qualifiers moving on. Saturday evening, two quarterfinal heats will be run, advancing the first five finishers from each race and the top two time qualifiers to Des Moines.
Women's 10,000-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Semifinal – Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Dacia Bushman (Sr., Castalia, Iowa)
How She Got Here: Bushman has run a trio of impressive 10Ks this season, beginning with a personal-best 35:15.84 effort at the Raleigh Relays on March 25. She also won the Big South 10K title and came in fourth at the prestigious Drake Relays in her home state of Iowa.
Bushman claimed the first three Big South individual titles of her career this year, including the indoor 5K and outdoor 5K/10K double. She gives Liberty a representative in this race for the second straight season, after Ashley Osborne competed in the 10K at the 2010 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.
Field Breakdown: The top two seeds in the women's 10K field in Bloomington—Clemson's Kimberly Ruck and Boston's Katie Matthews—have both run 33:16 this year. Ruck is picked by Track & Field News to finish second nationally. Meanwhile, Matthews came in second in the 5K at the 2011 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Bushman is familiar with No. 4 seed Bridget Lyons of Georgia, who won the Drake Relays title in 33:31.14.
Charlotte junior Amanda Goetschius is the top returnee in the Bloomington field from the women's 10K final at last year's NCAA national meet. She placed 11th in Eugene a year ago.
Another intriguing name on the start list is that of North Carolina's Kendra Schaaf. She placed second at the 2009 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, while competing for Washington.
Road to Des Moines: All 48 runners will line up together Thursday night. The first 12 to cross the finish line will move on to the women's 10K final in Des Moines.
Women's Triple Jump
Event Schedule: Qualifying – Friday at 1 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Mia Aghaji (R-Jr., Chester, Va.)
How She Got Here: Aghaji has extended her Liberty triple jump record three times this season. Most recently, she sailed 42-0.5 at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier on May 5, earning the No. 15 seed in Bloomington. Aghaji is also this year's Big South indoor and outdoor triple jump champion.
Field Breakdown: The women's triple jump will be one of the stronger events contested in Bloomington, as the field features the defending outdoor national champion (Clemson's Patricia Mamona), the defending indoor national champion (Florida State's Kimberly Williams) and the defending indoor national runner-up (Clemson's April Sinkler).
In total, five of the top seven national picks on Track & Field News' list are entered this weekend. The publication tabs Williams to win, Mamona to place second, Ganna Demydova of Southern Miss to finish fourth, LSU's Melissa Ogbourne to come in sixth and Sinkler to place seventh in Des Moines.
Charleston Southern's Tamisha Foster, the Big South runner-up, is also entered this weekend.
Road to Des Moines: Each of the triple jumpers in the field will take three attempts, which will whittle things down to the top 16 competitors. Each of the 16 remaining entrants will earn three more attempts, after which the top 12 athletes will advance to Des Moines.