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Williams Leads Liberty to Best-Ever ECAC Finish
Liberty sophomore Jocelyn Williams won the weight throw title at the ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championship on Sunday, leading the Lady Flames to their highest-ever finish at the meet, 11th place. Across town in Boston, Mass., Taylor Courtney's fourth-place finish in the 500-meter run helped the Flames tie for ninth place at the IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championship.
Williams' winning throw of 62-6.5 broke her own school record and accounted for 10 of Liberty's 24.5 points in the ECAC meet at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. The Lady Flames' 11th-place finish is one spot better than their 12th-place showing at the 2001 ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championship. Atop the standings, Cornell captured the ECAC team crown by one point, scoring 55 points to Maryland-Eastern Shore's 54.
The Cornell men's squad made it a clean sweep of the team titles, scoring 74 points in the IC4A meet to runner-up Connecticut's 59 tallies. Liberty finished with 27 team points inside the Boston University Track and Tennis Center, tying Fordham and Monmouth for ninth place overall. It marked the Flames' third straight top-10 finish at the IC4A indoor championship.
ECAC Day Two Recap
Williams' 62-6.5 heave, which came on her sixth and final attempt, added nearly three feet to her previous weight throw school record. It also won the competition by almost a foot over Sacred Heart senior Athalia Smith.
Williams became the first Lady Flame to win an ECAC indoor event title since Jaime Watson took the 800-meter crown in 2008. She is the first Liberty women's thrower ever to capture an ECAC event championship.
In the pole vault, Rachel Houseknecht matched her personal best at 12-5.5, finishing fourth. Teammate Shelley Parker tied for seventh place, equaling her indoor best clearance of 12-1.5. The duo combined for 6.5 team points for the Lady Flames.
Meghan Burggraf posted a fourth-place finish of her own in the 800-meter final, crossing the line in a personal-best time of 2:09.79. The junior became the fourth Lady Flame ever to crack the 2:10 barrier, either indoors or outdoors.
Competing about 60 miles away from her hometown of New Ipswich, N.H., Jacy Christiansen placed only 19th in a deep 3K field. However, her time of 9:53.19 eclipsed her own Liberty freshman record and catapulted her to No. 4 in program history for the event.
Mia Aghaji triple jumped 37-11.5 on Sunday, finishing 17th in the event.
IC4A Day Two Recap
Last year, Courtney won the IC4A 500-meter title in a school-record time of 1:01.96. He could not quite recapture the same magic on Sunday, but did place fourth in the event with a season-best clocking of 1:03.46. Teammate Paul Arslain finished in eighth place, posting a time of 1:05.29.
About 90 minutes later, Courtney and Arslain joined Kyle Gill and Leonard Robbins for a sixth-place showing in the 4 x 400 relay. The quartet recorded a time of 3:14.43.
After finishing as the IC4A weight throw runner-up on Saturday, Ryan Smith came back for a seventh-place finish in the shot put competition on Sunday. The redshirt junior's top throw of the day reached 55-8.25.
Competing in the 5K final, Josh MacDonald improved his personal-best time to 14:32.18 and finished 15th. The sophomore now ranks No. 9 on Liberty's all-time performance list for the indoor 5K.
Liberty has now concluded its 2011-12 indoor track & field season and will begin the outdoor campaign next weekend. The Flames' first two outdoor meets will be hosted by Coastal Carolina at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach, S.C, beginning with Friday and Saturday's Coastal Carolina Invitational.
The Coastal Carolina Invitational, to be contested at the site of the 2012 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, will begin Friday at 10 a.m. with the men's hammer throw. Saturday's action will also get started at 10 a.m., with the women's 3K, men's discus, women's shot put and women's high jump.