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Liberty Track Prepares for 2 Weekend Meets

February 9, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Taylor Courtney will run the 500 on Saturday at the Valentine Invitational. The last time he competed at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center, he won the 2011 IC4A 500-meter title in a school-record time of 1:01.96.

Liberty Quad Schedule

Liberty Quad Performance List

Liberty Quad Live Results

Valentine Invitational Schedule

Valentine Invitational Men's Entries

Valentine Invitational Women's Entries

Valentine Invitational Live Results

Valentine Invitational Videos (Courtesy of Flotrack.org)

For the first time this season, the Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field competitors will be divided between multiple meets this weekend. The Flames will host the Liberty Quad, their final home indoor meet of the 2011-12 indoor campaign, Friday at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center. Meanwhile, 13 Flames and Lady Flames will travel to Boston, Mass., for Friday and Saturday's Valentine Invitational.

The Liberty Quad will feature four men's teams (Liberty, Virginia, Lynchburg College and Virginia University of Lynchburg) and six women's squads (Liberty, Virginia, Lynchburg College, Virginia University of Lynchburg, Elon and James Madison). The men's weight throw will get things started at 4 p.m. Running events will commence one hour later with the prelims of the women's 60-meter hurdles.

The Valentine Invitational features a unique format, with all women's events being contested on Friday and all men's events taking place on Saturday. Friday's first events begin at 3 p.m., while Saturday's action gets under way at 10:30 a.m. The meet will take place at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center, which will also play host to the IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championships next month.

These two meets will be Liberty's final tune-ups for the 2012 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, to be contested Feb. 24-25 in Blacksburg, Va. Liberty's men's and women's indoor track & field teams are scheduled to take a weekend off from competition next weekend.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available for both the Liberty Quad and Valentine Invitational, with links available on LibertyFlames.com.

Additionally, Flotrack.org will be on hand in Boston and will post archived videos of the Valentine Invitational races.

Liberty Quad Preview
The sixth annual Liberty Quad will feature a mixture of regular participants in the meet and newcomers. Both Elon and James Madison will send their women's squads to the Liberty Quad for the fourth year in a row, but Friday will mark the Liberty Quad debuts for Virginia, Lynchburg College and Virginia University of Lynchburg.

Nine events feature past Liberty Quad champions, including the women's high jump, which includes the last two winners. Liberty's Marianne Wheeler took the 2010 Liberty Quad women's high jump title, while teammate Kristen Willeford won in 2011.

Five Events You Won't Want to Miss
Listed in chronological order

Friday, 4:30 p.m. – Men's Long Jump – Liberty's Kevin Reddington will be in search of his third consecutive Liberty Quad men's long jump title on Friday. He and Aaron Johnson will also aim to join teammate Tarell Williams as IC4A qualifiers in the event. Both Reddington (23-0 season best) and Johnson (22-11.25 season best) have come tantalizingly close to the IC4A standard of 23-0.5 this year. Reddington, Johnson and Williams figure to be challenged by Virginia's Matt Meyer, who qualified for the 2010 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in the event.

Friday, 5:15 p.m. – Women's High Jump – As mentioned above, Marianne Wheeler and Kristen Willeford have captured the last two Liberty Quad women's high jump crowns. They will be part of a strong field on Friday, which includes five athletes who have cleared 5-5 or higher this season. Leading the way are Virginia's Moira Cronin and Emily Kianka, who have each sailed over 5-7. Kianka tied for fifth place in the women's high jump at the 2011 ECAC outdoor meet.

Friday, 6 p.m. – Men's Shot Put – With Liberty's Ryan Smith competing at the Valentine Invitational instead of the Liberty Quad, the men's shot put should be a wide-open event. Virginia's Thomas Fuson, who placed second to Smith in the shot put at the Liberty Kickoff earlier this season, is the top seed. Lynchburg College's Greg Wilson and Eric Van Dunk, the top two shot putters in the ODAC, should also contend. For Liberty, freshman David Scouten will look to eclipse the 50-foot mark for the third straight week, while teammate Tim Abbott seeks his first 50-foot toss after reaching 49-9.75 at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup.

Friday, 6:15 p.m. – Women's Mile – At the 2011 Liberty Quad, Wake Forest's Anna Nosenko blazed to a facility-record mile time of 4:47.32. None of this year's entrants are expected to challenge her record, but this still figures to be a competitive race. Liberty alumnus Rebekah Ricksecker, who won this event at the 2009 Liberty Quad, joins Virginia's Tasia Potasinski and Barbara Streheler as runners who boast personal-best times of 5:00 or faster. The Lady Flames' Betel Yosef is also entered, and she will attempt to continue her strong indoor season. Most recently, Yosef clocked a personal-best mile time of 5:12.84 at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup.

Friday, 6:45 p.m. – Men's 800 – The men's 800 has traditionally been one of the strongest events at the Liberty Quad, beginning with former VMI standout Donnie Cowart's victory in the inaugural Liberty Quad in 2007. Last year, Wake Forest's Thomas Morrison won with a facility-record time of 1:53.40. This year's field includes promising Virginia freshmen Payton Hazzard and Afolabi Shokunbi, as well as the Flames' Paul Arslain. Last week, Arslain clocked the second-fastest 600-meter time in program history with his 1:19.47 at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup.

Valentine Invitational Preview
Liberty will send 13 athletes to Boston this weekend for the Valentine Invitational, one of the largest meets in the Northeast. The event is especially known for fast times in the mid-distance and distance races.

As mentioned previously, all of the women's events will take place on Friday and the men's events will follow on Saturday. Some of the Liberty men's competitors are already familiar with the Boston University Track and Tennis Center after previously competing in IC4A meets at the facility.

Liberty's women's competitors will include Mia Aghaji (triple jump & high jump), Meghan Burggraf (800), Olivia Charnuski (200 & 60 hurdles), Jacy Christiansen (mile), Khristina Kanagy (5K) and Jennifer Klugh (5K).

On the men's side, Taylor Courtney (500 & 4 x 400), Kyle Gill (400 & 4 x 400), Leonard Robbins (60 & 4 x 400), Ryan Smith (shot put & weight), Andre Washington (400 & 4 x 400), Isaac Wendland (mile) and Kyle Wheeler (high jump) will participate in the Valentine Invitational.

Six Events You Won't Want to Miss
Listed in chronological order

Friday, 5:30 p.m. – Women's Mile – Coming off of a Liberty freshman-record 9:57.43 clocking in the 3K at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, Jacy Christiansen will make her collegiate mile debut on Friday. She should have plenty of competition, as 28 women ran under 5:00 for the mile at the 2011 Valentine Invitational.

Friday, 8:40 p.m. – Women's 5K – Almost exactly one year to the day after setting the Liberty women's indoor 5K record at 16:56.14, Jennifer Klugh will look to improve upon that mark Friday evening. The pace figures to be fast again this year, after 11 women's runners clocked 5K times of 16:53 or faster at the 2011 Valentine Invitational. Highlighting the list of entrants are former Providence standout Kate DiCamillo, who boasts a personal-best time of 16:03, and reigning ECAC outdoor women's 5K champion Carly Seymour of Duke.

Saturday, 11 a.m. – Men's Shot Put – Ryan Smith has enjoyed a strong redshirt junior season, winning four of his five shot put competitions. He is the top seed on Saturday in his first meet at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center since placing third in the shot put at the 2011 IC4A indoor meet.

Saturday, 1:25 p.m. – Men's 500Taylor Courtney certainly has positive memories of racing on the track at Boston University. At the 2011 IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championship, Courtney took home an improbable title in a school-record time of 1:01.96. Saturday's race will be his first at the facility since that memorable race on March 6, 2011. (To watch a replay of Courtney's IC4A 500-meter title race, click here.)

Saturday, 1:55 p.m. – Men's Mile – Just like Taylor Courtney, Isaac Wendland excelled in his most recent visit to the Boston University Track and Tennis Center. He finished as the 2011 IC4A runner-up for the 1,000-meter run, lowering the school record to 2:24.74. This time around, he hopes to lower his mile personal-best time of 4:16.95. At the 2011 Valentine Invitational, five men broke the 4:00 mile, including a quartet of collegiate athletes.

Saturday, 6:20 p.m. – Men's 4 x 400 Relay – Last week at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, the Liberty quartet of Andre Washington, Taylor Courtney, Kyle Gill and Leonard Robbins recorded a 4 x 400 relay time of 3:17.31. The Flames' 4 x 400 relay squad tops the Big South performance list for the season and has already qualified for the IC4A meet. One objective on Saturday could be earning a spot on Liberty's all-time top 10 list for the indoor 4 x 400 relay, with a time of 3:16.49 or faster.