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Flames, Lady Flames Both Place 3rd at Virginia

March 24, 2012
|  Charlottesville, Va.
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Freshman Mychelle Cumings broke her second school record in as many weeks, thanks to her 158-8 effort in the discus.

Despite resting all of their distance runners, both the Liberty men's and women's track & field teams posted third-place finishes at the UVa Team Swashbuckle. The meet was contested on a soggy Saturday at Virginia's newly renovated Lannigan Track.

Highlighted by Mychelle Cumings' school-record 158-8 discus throw, the Lady Flames scored 121 points to come in third of 11 women's teams. Virginia led the way with 159 points, followed by runner-up Army's 124 tallies.

On the men's side, the Flames won two events and posted two new IC4A qualifiers, on their way to recording 111 1/3 points. As was the case in the women's team scoring, Virginia (147 points) won, with Army (146) claiming second place in the 11-team field.

Women's Meet Recap
Cumings, who won both the women's shot put and discus in dominating fashion, headlined an impressive showing by the Lady Flames' throwers. Liberty's throwing crew racked up 61 points in four events, accounting for more than half of the Lady Flames' overall team score.

For the second consecutive Saturday, Cumings broke a program record that had been established before the Tennessee native was born. Last week, the freshman took down Pam Pollock's shot put record which had stood since 1982.

This time around, Cumings' 158-8 mark in the discus shattered the existing Liberty record of 151-8, set by Janet Rorer on May 28, 1992. Cumings, who won Saturday's discus competition by nearly 14 feet, now ranks No. 21 nationally in the event and No. 4 among freshmen.

The Lady Flames totaled 21 points in the discus, as Jennifer Nicholson came in third at 140-9 and Jocelyn Williams was fourth at 133-1.

Cumings also took top honors in the shot put by a wide margin, as her top mark of 47-2.25 landed almost six feet past her nearest competitor. Fellow freshman Nicholson backed her up with a fourth-place finish, reaching 40-0.

Melinda Bendik nearly made it three victories for the Lady Flames in the throwing events, but her sixth and final hammer attempt landed at 185-3, just one centimeter shy of the winning effort by Virginia's Maureen Laffan. Teammates Williams (third place, 158-4) and Cumings (fifth place, 147-1) also notched top-five finishes, to go along with Bendik's runner-up performance.

Rounding out Liberty's efforts in the women's throws was Christina Mitchell, who came in fourth in the javelin with a top mark of 128-5.

The Lady Flames' sprinters and hurdlers also fared well despite the adverse conditions, including a victory in the 4 x 100 relay. The quartet of Sherri Spruel, Abigail Flower, Olivia Charnuski and Meme Layne won the event by more than three seconds with a season-best time of 46.27. In the process, they became the fourth-fastest 4 x 100 relay grouping in program history.

Charnuski also claimed runner-up honors in the 100-meter hurdles final, in 14.75 seconds. Teammate Rachel Houseknecht finished right behind her, taking the third spot in 14.79. During the prelims, Houseknecht sped to a personal-best time of 14.23, qualifying for the ECAC meet and moving up to No. 7 in Liberty history for the event.

Liberty netted 10 points in the women's 100-meter dash final, thanks to a third-place effort by Flower (12.60) and a fifth-place showing from Spruel (12.72).

Alyssa Pegues recorded top-five placements in both horizontal jumps. The senior came in fourth in the triple jump at 37-2.5 and finished fifth in the long jump with a 17-3.25 performance.

Tami Tolsma pole vaulted 10-10 for third place, while Amanda Wimbush's personal-best 800-meter time of 2:15.57 produced a fourth-place finish.

Men's Meet Recap
Making a successful season debut in the 400 hurdles, Taylor Courtney both won the event and qualified for the IC4A Outdoor Track & Field Championships in a time of 53.76 seconds.

The Flames' other victory and IC4A qualifier both came in the throwing events. Freshman David Scouten saved his best shot put effort for last, capturing first place with an outdoor-best mark of 52-8.25. He now ranks seventh on Liberty's all-time outdoor men's shot put list.

Jacob DeValve followed up Scouten's performance by taking fourth place in the shot put at 48-1.75. However, it was the javelin where DeValve really made his mark. He stretched the measuring tape to a personal-best 194-7, exceeding the IC4A standard and finishing fourth in the event.

Even though he did not compete in his specialty event, the shot put, Ryan Smith still enjoyed a successful Saturday. He came in second in the hammer with a 186-3 heave and finished third in the discus, thanks to a personal-best 158-1 toss. Tim Abbott added a fourth-place discus finish, reaching 153-10.

In the remaining field events, Cody Fridgen pole vaulted a season-best 15-5.5 to claim runner-up honors. Meanwhile, Kyle Wheeler's 6-6.25 high jump clearance tied the freshman for second place.

Liberty got second-place finishes in the men's 100 and 200-meter dashes. In the 100, it was Maxwell Asante clocking a time of 10.90 seconds. Leonard Robbins then produced a personal-best effort of 21.49 seconds in the 200.

Asante and Robbins teamed up with Roderick Spruel and Anthony Settje for third place in the 4 x 100 relay. The quartet's official time was 41.63 seconds.

Liberty also placed third in the men's 4 x 400 relay, with Christopher Arvey, Robbins, Paul Arslain and Courtney toting the baton for a time of 3:18.42.

Arvey and Arslain each notched personal-best clockings in their respective individual events, and both Flames finished fifth. Arvey did so in the 400-meter dash, with a time of 50.05, while Arslain's strong individual effort was a 1:53.55 time in the 800.

Liberty's team will be divided between a pair of meets this coming week. Some of the Flames and Lady Flames will head to Austin, Texas for the Texas Relays, beginning on Wednesday. Others will take part in the Raleigh Relays, slated for Friday and Saturday at N.C. State.