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Aghaji, Smith Earn Big South Honors

February 2, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Ryan Smith was named Big South Men's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week after winning the men's shot put and weight throw titles at the Liberty Open over the weekend.

Liberty redshirt senior Mia Aghaji and redshirt junior Ryan Smith have been tabbed the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Women's and Men's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week, respectively, as announced today. Both Aghaji and Smith were double event winners at last weekend's Liberty Open.

Aghaji becomes the third Lady Flame to be named Big South Women's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week during the 2011-12 season, joining Mychelle Cumings and Shelley Parker. The Chester, Va., native won the women's high jump and triple jump titles at the Liberty Open, qualifying for the ECAC meet in both disciplines.

Aghaji's winning high jump clearance of 5-7 set a new collegiate personal best. It also made her the first Lady Flame to clear 5-7 indoors since 2007 and ranks No. 1 in the Big South this season.

Aghaji also triple jumped an indoor personal-best 40-2, becoming just the second Lady Flame ever to go over 40 feet indoors. She now tops the Big South women's triple jump performance list as well.

Smith got his day started at the Liberty Open by winning the men's weight throw competition with a season-best 59-8.5 heave. He outdistanced the runner-up by more than two feet and now sits just one inch behind the Big South seasonal leader in the event, Gardner-Webb's Travis Rogers.

Smith then dominated the men's shot put field, remaining unbeaten in four shot put competitions this season. His season-best mark of 58-4.75 put him more than five feet past his nearest rival, Radford's Justin Smith, who ranks No. 2 behind him on the Big South performance list.

Aghaji, Smith and their teammates are preparing for Saturday's Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup in University Park, Pa. The one-day team-scored meet will begin at 9 a.m. at Penn State's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.