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Liberty Track to Open Outdoor Season Friday

March 8, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Melinda Bendik will throw the hammer Friday at the Coastal Carolina Invitational.

Finalized Meet Schedule

Start Lists

Just five days after wrapping up the 2011-12 indoor season at the IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, the Liberty men's and women's track & field teams will get the 2012 outdoor campaign started. The Flames and Lady Flames are set to compete in the Coastal Carolina Invitational, Friday and Saturday at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The season will officially get underway for Liberty Friday morning at 10 a.m., when the Flames' trio of Tim Abbott, David Scouten and Ryan Smith takes part in the men's hammer. Saturday's action will also begin at 10 a.m., with four different events.

Weather Report
Friday's forecast for Myrtle Beach calls for showers and a high of 69 degrees. Saturday will be cooler but drier, with mostly sunny skies but a high of only 59 degrees.

Three Times the Fun
The Coastal Carolina Invitational will be the first of three meets Liberty will compete in at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium during a seven-week span. The Flames and Lady Flames will remain in Myrtle Beach for a week of training, before participating in the Shamrock Invitational March 16-17.

Next month, Liberty will return to the facility for the 2012 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Hosted by Coastal Carolina, the meet will be contested April 19-21.

What's Up with Williams?
Sophomore Jocelyn Williams was Liberty's standout performer at the ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, last weekend in Boston, Mass. She won the women's weight throw competition, breaking her own school record with a 62-6.5 toss.

This weekend, Williams will try to build upon her indoor success as she competes in the shot put, discus and hammer.

Back to Defend Their Titles
Liberty will attempt to repeat four event titles it captured at the 2011 Coastal Carolina Invitational. Mia Aghaji is the defending champion in the women's triple jump, while Taylor Courtney won the men's 400 crown a year ago. Kolby Shepherd is the reigning pole vault champion, and the Liberty men's 4 x 100 relay quartet finished first in 2011.

Redshirt junior Ryan Smith has won the men's shot put title at this meet in each of the last two years, but he will not attempt to make it three in a row. Instead, Smith will focus on the discus and hammer this weekend.

Bomb it Like Bendik
Redshirt senior Melinda Bendik has been looking forward to this meet for quite some time. Her specialty event, the hammer, is only contested outdoors, and Bendik redshirted the 2011 outdoor campaign.

The women's hammer school-record holder at 183-6, Bendik improved her personal best to 198-3 during her redshirt season. This time around, Bendik will aim for 200 feet and beyond, which would make her a contender for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Records in Range
Two of Liberty's oldest program records could be in jeopardy this weekend, including the women's shot put mark of 43-11.75, set by Pam Pollock in 1982, and the women's discus standard of 151-8, established by Janet Rorer in 1992.

Freshman Mychelle Cumings figures to present the greatest threat to the shot put record. She won the Big South women's shot put championship indoors and set the indoor school record at 51-3 during the season.

In the discus, freshmen Cumings and Jennifer Nicholson both threw longer than Rorer's record last year as high school seniors. Additionally, Jocelyn Williams will look to improve upon her discus effort of 142-7 from the 2011 season.

Go the Distance
Liberty men's distance runners Caleb Edmonds, David Ricksecker and Josh MacDonald all performed well at the IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championships last weekend. Edmonds (8:16.59) and Ricksecker (8:24.32) both set new personal-best times in the 3K, while MacDonald clocked a personal-best 14:32.18 for the 5K.

Friday evening, the trio will see what they can do in the 10K. Hitting the IC4A qualifying standard of 31:08 will be a goal. Additionally, Edmonds, Ricksecker and MacDonald will look to join the list of nine Liberty runners who have ever broken 31:00 for the 10K.

400 x 4
The men's 400-meter dash will certainly be an event to watch on Saturday afternoon, as the Flames have entered Paul Arslain, Taylor Courtney, Kyle Gill and Leonard Robbins in the one-lap event. Courtney is the defending 400-meter champion at the Coastal Carolina Invitational, but will have to work just to defeat his teammates this time around.

Arslain was a 500-meter finalist at the IC4A meet last weekend. Gill ran the Flames' fastest 400-meter clocking of the 2011-12 indoor season, a 48.46 effort during the IC4A prelims. Robbins was the Big South indoor 400-meter dash champion and the Co-Big South Men's Freshman of the Year.