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Liberty Shot Putters Star on Saturday
The shot put ring was the center of attention for the Liberty men's and women's track & field teams during Saturday's final day of competition at the Shamrock Invitational. Freshman Mychelle Cumings set a new school record in the women's shot at 49-0.75, while redshirt junior Ryan Smith won the men's shot put competition with a 58-8.5 heave.
Women's Meet Recap
Prior to Saturday's competition, Pam Pollock had owned the Liberty women's shot put school record for almost 30 years. Pollock's mark of 43-11.75 had stood since April 24, 1982. All four of Cumings' legal throws on Saturday landed past the long-standing record, with her sixth and final attempt stretching the new Liberty standard out to 49-0.75. Cumings placed third overall in the event and second among collegiate athletes.
Cumings also threw the discus well on Saturday, placing fourth with a 139-5 mark. In the process, she qualified for the ECAC meet and grabbed the No. 8 position on Liberty's all-time women's discus list. Jocelyn Williams complemented her teammate's effort by throwing the discus 136-8 for sixth place.
Staying in the throwing events, Christina Mitchell hurled the javelin out to a new personal-best mark of 135-11. She placed second in the competition, hit the ECAC qualifying standard and now sits No. 6 in program history.
Liberty's other ECAC qualifier came in the 100-meter dash final, where Meme Layne finished seventh in 11.99 seconds. She became the seventh Lady Flames sprinter ever to crack the 12.00 barrier. Teammate Abigail Flower finished just ahead of Layne in sixth place, stopping the clock in 11.91.
Flower additionally recorded a 10th-place finish in the 200-meter dash, thanks to a personal-best time of 24.48 seconds.
Flower and Layne joined Sherri Spruel and Olivia Charnuski for a runner-up finish in the 4 x 100 relay. The Lady Flames' season-best effort of 46.49 seconds ranks the quartet No. 6 on Liberty's all-time top 10 ledger.
In the 100-meter hurdles final, Rachel Houseknecht sped to a collegiate-best time of 14.54 seconds and came in fifth. Charnuski ended up seventh, with an official time of 14.66.
The Lady Flames also fashioned top 10 efforts in both the 400 and 800. Meghan Burggraf's personal-best 57.17 showing netted ninth place in the 400, while Amanda Wimbush came in seventh in the 800 with a personal-best 2:16.30 posting.
Men's Meet Recap
Smith's shot put title was his second in a row at the Shamrock Invitational. The Georgia native won the event by 13 inches, with the longest outdoor throw of his career, 58-8.5. Teammate David Scouten threw the shot 50-5.25 for ninth place and also unleashed a 155-4 discus throw for the fifth spot in the final standings.
Liberty performed quite well in both of the vertical jumping events on Saturday. Freshman Kyle Wheeler placed third in the high jump, after making a first-attempt clearance at a new collegiate-best height of 6-10.75. Wheeler, who later had a near miss at 7-0.5, is now tied for sixth place in Liberty history for the men's high jump.
Meanwhile, the Flames had four pole vaulters sail 14-7.25 or higher on the day. In the "A" flight, Kolby Shepherd came in third at 16-0.75, Jon Drablos tied for the fifth spot at 15-7 and Cody Fridgen shared the 10th spot with a 15-1 clearance. Freshman Matthew Thompson won the "B" section of the pole vault, thanks to a personal-best 14-7.25 effort.
Liberty finished near the front in both of Saturday's relays, coming in second in the 4 x 100 and fourth in the 4 x 400. The quartet of Roderick Spruel, Leonard Robbins, Tarell Williams and Anthony Settje posted a season-best 4 x 100 time of 41.06. Robbins, Kyle Gill, Paul Arslain and Andre Washington later notched their fastest 4 x 400 clocking of the young season as well, crossing the line in 3:15.77.
Flames Jarred Cornfield (seventh place, 3:58.63) and David Ricksecker (10th place, 3:59.30) both broke 4:00 and placed inside the top 10 of 66 men's 1,500-meter run entrants.
Liberty will return to the Commonwealth for its next meet, next Saturday's UVa Team Swashbuckle. Events are slated to begin at 10 a.m. at Lannigan Track.