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Women's 4 x 100 Relay, Discus Records Go Down
The home teams enjoyed numerous outstanding performances on a sun-drenched Saturday at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational, including 20 event victories and five new IC4A/ECAC qualifications. However, the day's two biggest highlights at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex were new Liberty program records in the women's 4 x 100 relay and women's discus.
The Lady Flames' quartet of Meme Layne, Abigail Flower, Olivia Charnuski and Alyssa Pegues teamed up to clock a winning time of 45.90 seconds in the 4 x 100 relay. The effort eclipsed both the school and facility records of 45.95, set during the same race at the 2007 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Meanwhile, freshman Mychelle Cumings improved upon her own women's discus school record with a 167-0 heave. The effort, which far outdistanced her 158-8 mark from March 24, ranks Cumings No. 29 nationally, including fifth among freshmen.
Women's Meet Recap
Three of the four members of Liberty's record-breaking 4 x 100 relay team went on to win individual events later in the day. Layne sprinted to a personal-best time of 11.85 seconds to win the 100-meter dash title and climb to No. 4 in program history. The freshman was followed by classmate Flower in second place at 11.97 seconds.
Flower picked up her victory in the 200-meter dash, with a 24.98 clocking into a stiff headwind. Charnuski backed her up with a second-place finish, posting a time of 25.26.
Charnuski led a 1-2 Liberty sweep of her own, thanks to a season-best time of 14.11 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles. Rachel Houseknecht claimed the runner-up position with a 14.36 effort.
Cumings was one of two athletes to shatter the facility record of 159-5 in the women's discus, as her school-record toss of 167-0 finished second behind Virginia's Erin Wykoff (169-5). Jocelyn Williams added a third-place finish in the event, with her 149-5 throw qualifying for the ECAC meet and ranking the sophomore No. 3 in program history.
Cumings later claimed victory in the women's shot put, with her 47-11.25 mark winning the competition by almost three feet. Sophomore Rachel Barnes came in seventh in the shot put, with an outdoor personal-best heave of 42-6.25. In the process, Barnes jumped up to No. 4 on Liberty's outdoor women's shot put list.
Liberty's other women's field event victory came in the pole vault, when Houseknecht cleared a season-best 11-11.75. Tami Tolsma chipped in a third-place finish, thanks to a personal-best 10-11.75 vault.
The Lady Flames' 400/800 runners were successful on Saturday, including Kiara Bridges' victory and season-best time of 58.47 seconds in the 400-meter dash.
Meghan Burggraf fared well in her first 800-meter run of the season. The two-time defending Big South outdoor 800-meter champion won the event with an outdoor personal-best clocking of 2:11.82. Jennifer Klugh, running her first 800-meter race in two years, came in third. Her personal-best time of 2:14.21 ranks the senior No. 10 in program history.
In the evening's final race, Bridges, Klugh and Burggraf teamed up with Melanie Sims for a come-for-behind victory in the 4 x 400 relay. The team's winning time of 3:54.11 was a new season best for the Lady Flames.
Two Liberty women's distance runners triumphed in somewhat unfamiliar events on Saturday. Running the first 3,000-meter steeplechase race of her career, Betel Yosef won in a time of 11:38.09. The junior already ranks No. 5 in program history for the event.
Big South indoor 5K champion Khristina Kanagy dropped down to 1,500 meters and posted a time of 4:43.05, winning the event by more than five seconds.
Rounding out the Lady Flames' top running event performances, Sims stopped the clock in a season-best time of 1:04.59 for third place in the 400-meter hurdles final.
In the field, Mia Aghaji triple jumped 40-3.5 for second place. Freshman Melissa Rohwer followed with a collegiate-best leap of 38-8.75 for fifth place in the event and sixth place on Liberty's all-time performance list for the outdoor women's triple jump.
Marianne Wheeler shared second place in the women's high jump, sailing over 5-3.75. Meanwhile, Christina Mitchell scored 4,406 points in her heptathlon season debut, ending up in third place.
Men's Meet Recap
Some of the Liberty men's team's top performances on Saturday came in the sprinting events, highlighted by a 1-2-3-4 finish in the 100-meter dash. Tarell Williams led the way with a personal-best time of 10.75, followed by Roderick Spruel's season-best and IC4A-qualifying 10.76 effort in second place. Kyle Gill notched a season-best 10.80 effort for third place and an IC4A qualifier, while Anthony Settje was fourth in 10.90 seconds.
In the 200 dash, Leonard Robbins paced a 2-3-4-5 Liberty performance in 21.91 seconds. ConRoy Smith's personal-best 21.94 clocking netted third place. Lachaddrick Ellis ran a time of 21.99 in his collegiate 200 dash debut for fourth place, with Spruel's season-best 22.14 effort earning the fifth position.
Robbins was victorious at 400 meters, posting an IC4A-qualifying time of 48.01 seconds. Decathlete Jacob DeValve also ran well in the event, finishing in a personal-best 49.22 seconds for third place.
Liberty also won both relays, sweeping the top two places with its pair of squads in the 4 x 100 event. The Flames' first-place 4 x 100 relay quartet of Spruel, Robbins, Williams and Settje crossed the finish line in 40.82 seconds. Meanwhile, the "B" team of Maxwell Asante, Ellis, Smith and Gill was second with a 41.55 clocking.
In the 4 x 400, the Flames' squad consisted of Ellis, Asante, Robbins and Paul Arslain and edged Sacred Heart with its 3:17.31 performance.
Arslain was part of a middle-distance and distance group that also sparkled on Saturday. Arslain closed strongly in the 800-meter run to win in 1:54.92, with Jarred Cornfield following in third-place with a season-best 1:56.49 time.
As in the 100-meter dash, Liberty's men's team also came in first, second, third and fourth at the 1,500-meter distance. Caleb Edmonds won the race with a 3:57.11 time in his first-ever 1,500-meter race. Cornfield followed in second with a season-best 3:58.39 effort. Ngetich Kipchirchir (3:59.12) and Josh MacDonald (4:01.88) finished third and fourth, respectively, as both distance runners recorded personal-best times.
Taylor Courtney was the Flames' final event victor in a track event. His personal-best time of 52.46 captured the victory in the 400-meter hurdles and moved Courtney up to fifth in program history.
The Liberty throwing duo of redshirt junior Ryan Smith and freshman David Scouten finished first and second in both the shot put and discus on Saturday. Both fashioned outdoor season-best throws in the shot put, with Smith reaching 59-0 and Scouten stretching the tape to 52-10.75. Smith's win was his fourth consecutive men's shot put title at this meet.
Later on, Smith hurled the discus to a personal-best distance of 162-2, winning the event and catapulting to seventh place on Liberty's all-time list. Scouten finished just four inches back, with a personal-best toss of his own. The freshman now ranks eighth in program history for the event.
Kevin Reddington long jumped a season-best 23-6 to meet the IC4A standard and finish second overall, including first among collegiate entrants.
Cody Fridgen matched the top clearance of men's pole vault champion Matthew Armentrout from Virginia at 15-3. However, Fridgen finished second to Armentrout due to misses. Matthew Thompson came in third with a successful first-attempt clearance at 13-9.25.
Kyle Wheeler's personal-best 46-1.5 triple jump placed him third in the event. Fellow freshman Nick Fifelski also garnered a third-place finish, after scoring 5,361 points in his decathlon debut.
Liberty does not have a meet scheduled next weekend. So, the Flames and Lady Flames will return to action at the 2012 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will be contested April 19-21 at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The Liberty men's squad will attempt to win its sixth consecutive Big South outdoor team title, while the Lady Flames will seek their first Big South outdoor crown since 2010.