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Field Events Highlight Liberty Open Action
Liberty was at its best during the field events on Saturday at the Liberty Open, inside the Tolsma Indoor Track Center. Mychelle Cumings shattered her own school record in the women's shot put, while both Mia Aghaji and Ryan Smith were double winners on the day.
Women's Meet Recap
The first time she ever competed at her home indoor facility, at the Liberty Kickoff, freshman Cumings had broken a long-standing school record in the women's shot put with a 45-1 heave. On Saturday, Cumings again displayed her affinity for the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, pushing her Liberty record all the way out to 47-5.25 with her third throw.
Cumings won the competition handily, with teammates Emily Woods (43-10) and Rachel Barnes (41-1.75) placing second and fourth, respectively.
Aghaji took top honors in both the high jump and triple jump, qualifying for the ECAC meet in both events. Her first-attempt high jump clearance at 5-7 gave her the victory over George Mason's Dominique Graham. It was the best high jump mark of Aghaji's collegiate career and moves her up to No. 3 on Liberty's all-time list. No Lady Flame had high jumped 5-7 indoors since 2007.
Aghaji also took home the Liberty Open women's triple jump championship for the third time in the last four years with an indoor personal-best leap of 40-2. She joined program record holder Jonisha Saunders as the only Lady Flames ever to triple jump 40 feet indoors.
Freshman Melissa Rohwer backed up Aghaji's performance with a fourth-place finish in the triple jump. Her top effort on the day measured 37-0.5.
The Lady Flames' fourth and final event victory on Saturday came in the 4 x 400 relay. The quartet of Kiara Bridges, Kylie McMichael, Melanie Sims and Meghan Burggraf crossed the line first, in a time of 4:00.66.
Sims had previously finished third in the 400-meter dash, clocking a 1:00.36. Meanwhile, Amanda Wimbush was third in the 800-meter run, at 2:24.37.
Freshman Abigail Flower had a successful day in the short sprints, placing second in the 200 and fifth in the 60. Her 200-meter dash time was 25.82, while her 60-meter clocking was a personal-best 7.76. Flower is now tied with teammate Olivia Charnuski for seventh place in program history at 60 meters.
Men's Meet Recap
Smith dominated the men's shot put and weight throw on Saturday, winning both events by wide margins and in season-best fashion. He started the day with a 59-8.5 mark in the weight throw, taking first place by more than two feet. Freshman teammate David Scouten came in fourth in the weight at 54-1.
Smith and Scouten were at it again in the shot put, finishing first and third. Smith's season-best toss of 58-4.75 gave him the victory by more than five feet and kept him undefeated on the year for the shot put. Scouten followed with a personal-best throw of 52-1.75, qualifying for the IC4A meet and joining Liberty's all-time top 10 for the event.
With three-time defending meet champion and teammate Kolby Shepherd sitting out Saturday's competition, Cody Fridgen pole vaulted a season-best 15-3 on his first attempt to claim victory. Jon Drablos followed in fifth place, after sailing over the bar at 14-9.
On the track, Liberty's strongest event was the 400-meter dash. Newcomer Leonard Robbins won the 400 in 50.20 seconds, with teammate Andre Washington taking runner-up honors at 50.81.
Robbins and Washington later ran the first two legs of the Flames' victorious 4 x 400 relay team, where they were joined by Tyler Weigandt and Paul Arslain. The grouping posted a time of 3:24.37 in the final men's event.
Liberty also performed well at two non-traditional distances, 500 and 1,000 meters. Arslain came in third in the 500 final with a 1:05.88 effort. Jordan Bright was the fourth-place finisher in the 1,000, posting a time of 2:40.53.
Harrison Allen and Tevan McIntire finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the heptathlon. Allen's personal-best score of 4,464 points put him just nine points ahead of McIntire and made him the No. 10 heptathlete on Liberty's all-time list.
The lone facility record of the meet was set in the heptathlon, where Edward Broadbent posted a winning score of 5,690 points.
Liberty will compete in a rare team-scored meet next Saturday, heading to University Park, Pa. for the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup. The meet, which the Flames will be taking part in for the fifth consecutive season, will take place at Penn State's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. Action is slated to begin at 9 a.m.