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Klugh, Parker & Shepherd Honored by Big South
A trio of Liberty athletes were honored by the Big South Conference on Thursday, as Jennifer Klugh was tabbed Big South Choice Hotels Women's Indoor Track Athlete of the Week, Shelley Parker was named Women's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week and Kolby Shepherd was recognized as Men's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week.
Klugh earned her second Big South weekly honor this season, after previously being recognized on Dec. 8. The senior started her weekend by finishing second in the women's 3K at the Hokie Invitational in a school-record and ECAC-qualifying time of 9:44.62. The mark improved upon the previous standard of 9:49.55, which had been set by Ashley Osborne at the 2008 ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championship.
The next day, Klugh ran the 1,600-meter anchor leg for the Lady Flames' distance medley relay team. She helped Liberty finish second and qualify for the ECAC meet with a time of 11:58.50. It was the fastest distance medley relay clocking by a Liberty squad since 2001.
Klugh tops the Big South performance list in both the women's 3K and 5K events, and the Lady Flames' distance medley relay effort at the Hokie Invitational was also the fastest in the conference this season.
Parker pole vaulted at a pair of meets last week, reaching the ECAC qualifying standard (11-9.75) at both events to earn the junior's first career Big South weekly honor. Parker got things started at the Hornet Sprints, Jumps and Throws Challenge on Jan. 18, winning the women's pole vault with an 11-9.75 clearance.
At the Hokie Invitational on Saturday, Parker tied for 10th place in the women's pole vault with an indoor personal-best clearance of 12-0. She joins Andrea Wildrick and Aimee Riley as the only Lady Flames ever to crack the 12-foot barrier indoors.
Parker is one of two Big South women's pole vaulters to sail over 12 feet so far this season. She ranks second in the conference behind VMI's Jennifer Sing (12-5.5).
Like Parker, Shepherd pulled double duty in the men's pole vault last week. He won the individual title at the Hornet Sprints, Jumps and Throws Challenge with a 15-1 clearance on Jan. 18.
Shepherd then got over the bar at 17-1 to finish third at the Hokie Invitational on Saturday. It was the redshirt senior's first time vaulting over 17 feet indoors in a Liberty uniform, enabling him to join Ken Howell and Todd Pettyjohn as the only Flames ever to do so.
Shepherd is currently tied for No. 15 nationally with his 17-1 clearance, and the Georgia native tops the Big South performance list by nearly two feet over teammate Cody Fridgen.
Liberty is preparing for its second home meet of the 2011-12 indoor track & field season, the Liberty Open. The meet will be contested Friday and Saturday inside the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, with action getting under way at 1:30 p.m. Friday and at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Parker and Shepherd will both pole vault at the meet, with the women's pole vault scheduled to begin Friday at 5:30 p.m. and the men's vault set for Saturday at 2:30 p.m.