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Liberty Track Set for Shamrock Invitational

March 15, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Taylor Courtney will attempt to defend his Shamrock Invitational title in the men's 400-meter hurdles on Saturday.

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Myrtle Beach Weather

The Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field teams will wrap up their week in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with the Shamrock Invitational. The appropriately named meet for St. Patrick's Day Weekend is slated for Thursday through Saturday at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium.

The sizable meet, which will feature competitors from 54 colleges and universities, will get started with day one of the multi events on Thursday. Riley Brandon will begin her first collegiate heptathlon competition Thursday at 11:45 a.m., while Harrison Allen and Tevan McIntire will start the decathlon at 12:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday's first events will begin at 9 a.m. each morning.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available throughout the meet, courtesy of Event Timing Solutions. The link may be found at the top of this release and on the track & field schedule/results page on LibertyFlames.com.

Weather Report
The weather should be very pleasant for all competitors at the Shamrock Invitational, with the possible exception of distance runners. High temperatures are forecasted to be in the low to mid-70s the next three days in Myrtle Beach, with just a slight chance of scattered thunderstorms Saturday afternoon.

Chasing Another Championship
Three Liberty men's athletes will attempt to defend event titles they captured during the 2011 Shamrock Invitational. Taylor Courtney won the 400 hurdles, Kolby Shepherd took the pole vault crown and Ryan Smith topped the field in the shot put a year ago. All three of their events will be contested on Saturday.

Bold Start for Bendik
Redshirt senior Melinda Bendik got her final collegiate track & field season off to a flying start at last weekend's Coastal Carolina Invitational. She won the women's hammer competition by more than 17 feet and broke her own program record with a 192-2 heave. The performance ranks No. 5 in the nation for the 2012 outdoor track season and earned her the Big South Women's Field Athlete of the Week certificate.

This week, Bendik will have her work cut out for her if she seeks another first-place finish in Myrtle Beach. The native of the Lone Star State will compete in the Amber Campbell Invitational Women's Hammer, Friday morning at 9 a.m. Bendik will square off against Campbell herself, a Coastal Carolina graduate who made the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in the women's hammer.

Shining the Light on the Steeplechase
The men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, slated for Friday at 6:30 p.m., will be one of the featured events at this weekend's meet. It is named the Terah Kipchiris Memorial Steeplechase, in memory of Kipchiris. The former Coastal Carolina standout distance runner died at the age of 31 in August, after an automobile accident.

Liberty figures to fare well in the event, with the duo of Josh MacDonald and Caleb Edmonds toeing the starting line. At last year's Shamrock Invitational, MacDonald placed second to only his distance coach at the time, Derek Scott. Meanwhile, Edmonds will make his collegiate steeplechase debut after a breakthrough indoor track & field season.

Discus Delights
Freshman Jennifer Nicholson recorded a mark of 146-0 during her first collegiate discus competition last weekend, becoming the No. 2 women's discus thrower in program history. Saturday morning, she will again set her sights on the long-standing program record of 151-8, set by Janet Rorer in 1992.

Fellow freshman Mychelle Cumings and sophomore Jocelyn Williams could also make a run at the record. Cumings threw 154-0.5 in high school, while Williams tossed the discus 142-7 a season ago.

How High Can You Fly?
Last weekend, redshirt senior Kolby Shepherd took only one pole vault attempt. However, his clearance at 14-7.25 was enough to win the event at the Coastal Carolina Invitational. This time around, Shepherd will likely need to raise the bar considerably higher if he hopes to defend his title from 2011.

Shepherd's competitors Saturday afternoon include a pair of All-Americans from last weekend's NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. South Carolina's Marvin Reitze was the national runner-up at 18-0.5, while Samford's Michael Seaman tied for sixth place with a 17-8.5 clearance. Also in the field is Matt Shuler of South Carolina, the 13th-place pole vault finisher at the 2011 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Trading Places
One of the interesting things to watch this weekend will be a group of Liberty athletes racing at distances they do not usually attempt. For example, Meghan Burggraf will race in the women's 400, while Jacy Christiansen is entered in the women's 800.

Men's distance runners Zac Edwards, Ngetich Kipchirchir and David Ricksecker will run the 1,500. Meanwhile, Khristina Kanagy will run her first 10K since the 2010 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championship.

See You Again Soon
After the Shamrock Invitational concludes, Liberty will return to Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in almost exactly a month. Coastal Carolina will host the 2012 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the Myrtle Beach facility, April 19-21.