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BSC Outdoor Track Championships-Women's Preview

April 17, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Melinda Bendik will be one of the first Liberty athletes to compete at the 2012 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, with the women's hammer slated to begin Thursday at 1 p.m.

Meet Schedule

Live Video Streaming (Big South Network)

Live Results

Liberty Flames Twitter Account

Coastal Carolina's Meet Central Page

Heat Sheets

Performance List

Myrtle Beach Weather

Both the Liberty men's and women's squads are expected to contend for team titles at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will be contested Thursday through Saturday at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The Lady Flames will attempt to recapture the Big South outdoor team championship, which they most recently claimed in 2010. Coastal Carolina, the host squad for this weekend's meet, is the defending Big South outdoor women's team titlist.

The 19th edition of the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championship will begin Thursday at 1 p.m., with the women's hammer. The three-day meet is scheduled to conclude at approximately 4:35 p.m. Saturday, with the men's 4 x 400 relay wrapping up the championship.

How to Follow the Action
All three days of competition will be video streamed live on the Big South Network, for a small fee.

Live results will be available throughout the meet, thanks to TimingInc.com.

LibertyFlames.com will be on hand for all three days of the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, and an interactive CoveritLive blog will be available on the website each day.

Periodic updates will also be posted to the official Liberty Flames Twitter account (@libertyflames).

Weather Report
It appears that the weather in Myrtle Beach should be pretty favorable for competition Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with high temperatures expected to reach the low 70s each day. There is a chance of thunderstorms both Thursday and Saturday.

Women's Meet Preview
In nine of the last 10 seasons, Liberty and Coastal Carolina have claimed the women's team championship and runner-up trophies at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. So, it should be no surprise that the Lady Flames and homestanding Chanticleers are expected to battle it out for first place once again this weekend.

Coastal Carolina has won six of the last eight women's team crowns at this meet, including a convincing 228-166.5 victory over Liberty in 2011. The Lady Flames' most recent outdoor championship came in 2010 at Charleston Southern, sealing Liberty's Big South "Double Triple." In February, Liberty held off a late charge by Coastal Carolina to win its third straight Big South indoor team title by a slim 12.5-point margin (187-174.5).

Six Lady Flames will attempt to defend Big South championships they captured in 2011, including Meghan Burggraf (800), Jennifer Klugh (1,500), Olivia Charnuski (100 hurdles), Shelley Parker (pole vault), Mia Aghaji (triple jump) and Christina Mitchell (heptathlon). Burggraf and Aghaji will both be seeking their third straight Big South titles in their respective events.

Liberty's women's throwers could have a big meet as well. Freshman Mychelle Cumings, the Big South indoor shot put champion, is seeded first in both the shot put and discus. Redshirt senior Melinda Bendik is the top seed in the women's hammer and will try to become Liberty's first Big South champion in that event since 1997.

Women's 100-Meter Dash
Event Schedule: Prelims – Friday at 5 p.m.; Final – Saturday at 2:05 p.m.
Defending Champion: Natalie Pearson (UNC Asheville) – 11.61
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Erica Peake (Coastal Carolina) – 2nd place
2012 Indoor Champion (60 Meters): Darriale Henley (Coastal Carolina) – 7.47
2012 Leader: Gabrielle Houston (Charleston Southern) – 11.51 (Tied for No. 23 nationally)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 5 (Panthera Seymour - 2000)
Liberty Entrants: Meme Layne, Abigail Flower and Sherri Spruel
Outlook: Charleston Southern's Gabrielle Houston and Coastal Carolina's Erica Peake are the top two runners to watch in the 100-meter dash. Houston, the 2010 Big South champion, leads the conference at 11.51. Peake, who ranks second in the Big South at 11.71, was the 2011 runner-up. Liberty hopes to score a nice chunk of points in this event, with freshmen Meme Layne and Abigail Flower sitting third and fourth, respectively, on the Big South performance list. Darriale Henley of Coastal Carolina could be an X factor in this event. The Big South indoor 60-meter champion's status for this weekend is uncertain, as she has not yet competed during the outdoor campaign.

Women's 200-Meter Dash
Event Schedule: Prelims – Friday at 7 p.m.; Final – Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: Natalie Pearson (UNC Asheville) – 23.78 (Second in a row)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Erica Peake (Coastal Carolina) – 2nd place
2012 Indoor Champion: Gabrielle Houston (Charleston Southern) – 24.14
2012 Leader: Erica Peake (Coastal Carolina) – 23.76
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 5 (Panthera Seymour - 1999)
Liberty Entrants: Abigail Flower, Meme Layne, Olivia Charnuski and Alyssa Pegues
Outlook: The 200-meter dash could present another showdown between Gabrielle Houston of Charleston Southern and Erica Peake of Coastal Carolina. The two sprinters' top 2012 times are separated by just four-hundredths of a second, with Peake's 23.76 having the upper hand. Liberty's Olivia Charnuski placed third in this event at the 2011 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, while Abigail Flower ranks third in the Big South this season, at 24.48.

Women's 400-Meter Dash
Event Schedule: Prelims – Friday at 4:25 p.m.; Final – Saturday at 1:50 p.m.
Defending Champion: Sasha Robinson (Winthrop) – 55.38
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Santresa Jamison (Coastal Carolina) – 2nd place
2012 Indoor Champion: Manika Gamble (High Point) – 56.23
2012 Leader: Erica Peake (Coastal Carolina) – 55.05
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 8 (Jaime Watson - 2010)
Liberty Entrant: Kiara Bridges
Outlook: The women's 400-meter dash could be somewhat up for grabs, with top seed Erica Peake of Coastal Carolina and Big South indoor champion Manika Gamble of High Point both likely to focus on other events. Coastal Carolina's Santresa Jamison finished second in the 400-meter dash final at the most recent Big South indoor and outdoor meets. Gardner-Webb's Ivana Hughes (55.64) is the only conference runner other than Peake who has broken 56 seconds this season. Kiara Bridges is Liberty's lone entrant in the one-lap event. She stepped up for a fifth-place finish in the 400-meter dash final as a freshman a year ago.

Women's 800-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Prelims – Friday at 5:40 p.m.; Final – Saturday at 2:20 p.m.
Defending Champion: Meghan Burggraf (Liberty) – 2:13.03 (Second in a row)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Burggraf
2012 Indoor Champion: Sarah Gentry (UNC Asheville) – 2:11.40
2012 Leader: Sarah Gentry (UNC Asheville) – 2:10.87
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 10 (Meghan Burggraf - 2011)
Liberty Entrants: Meghan Burggraf, Amanda Wimbush and Kylie McMichael
Outlook: This event could provide the latest chapter in a burgeoning rivalry between juniors Meghan Burggraf of Liberty and Sarah Gentry of UNC Asheville. Burggraf is the two-time defending champion in the Big South outdoor women's 800. However, Gentry edged Burggraf to win this year's Big South indoor 800-meter crown and owns the conference's fastest time of the current season, 2:10.87. The Lady Flames' Amanda Wimbush has dropped her personal-best time to 2:15.57 this season and looks for a top five finish of her own.

Women's 1,500-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Prelims – Friday at 3 p.m.; Final – Saturday at 12:50 p.m.
Defending Champion: Jennifer Klugh (Liberty) – 4:35.08
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Klugh
2012 Indoor Champion (Mile): Jennifer Klugh (Liberty) – 5:02.41
2012 Leader: Jennifer Klugh (Liberty) – 4:26.75
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 7 (Jennifer Klugh - 2011)
Liberty Entrants: Jennifer Klugh and Jacy Christiansen
Outlook: Liberty senior Jennifer Klugh has not lost a Big South championship race to anyone other than a teammate since the 2009 Big South Cross Country Championship. She stands a good chance of continuing that streak and winning her second straight Big South 1,500-meter crown on Saturday. Her personal-best time of 4:26.75 from the Raleigh Relays is the fastest in the Big South this season by almost eight full seconds. If successful, Klugh would become the Big South's first back-to-back women's 1,500-meter champion since Liberty's Rebekah Ricksecker accomplished the feat in 2007 and 2008. Klugh's top competitor could be Coastal Carolina's Christian Johnson, who placed second a year ago. Liberty freshman Jacy Christiansen could be a wild card. She scored 18 points at the Big South indoor meet but has not yet competed in a race during the outdoor season.

Women's 3,000-Meter Steeplechase
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 7:45 p.m.
Defending Champion: Kelsey Fraser (High Point) – 10:52.72
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Fraser
2012 Leader: Adrienne Cuff (Charleston Southern) – 11:01.94
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 2 (Hailey Neal – 2010)
Liberty Entrants: Betel Yosef, Alyssa Allen, Jessica Gass and Alicia Guridy
Outlook: Liberty junior Betel Yosef made a successful steeplechase debut at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational, winning the race in a time of 11:38.09. That ranks her No. 6 entering Friday evening's Big South steeplechase final. The conference's top two seeds, Charleston Southern's Adrienne Cuff and High Point's Audrey Malloy, are separated by only three-tenths of a second. Meanwhile, Kelsey Fraser of High Point is back to defend her conference title from 2011 and will aim to become the first runner in meet history to claim back-to-back women's steeplechase crowns.

Women's 5,000-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Final – Saturday at 3:40 p.m.
Defending Champion: Dacia Bushman (Liberty) – 17:29.81
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Jennifer Klugh (Liberty) – 2nd place
2012 Indoor Champion: Khristina Kanagy (Liberty) – 17:43.09
2012 Leader: Letitia Saayman (Coastal Carolina) – 17:20.29
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 5 (Dacia Bushman - 2011)
Liberty Entrants: Jennifer Klugh, Khristina Kanagy and Betel Yosef
Outlook: As the meet's next-to-last event, the 5K could play a key role in determining the team champion. It certainly did so during this year's Big South Indoor Championship. Liberty outscored Coastal Carolina by a 23-7 margin in the event, sealing the Lady Flames' overall team title. Liberty's Khristina Kanagy won the Big South indoor 5K title, with teammate Jennifer Klugh following closely in second place. Both runners are entered in Saturday afternoon's 5K final as well. The Chanticleers will counter with three athletes who have clocked times of 18:00 or faster this season, led by freshman Letitia Saayman. The South Africa native has recorded the Big South's fastest time in 2012, 17:20.29.

Women's 10,000-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Final – Thursday at 8 p.m.
Defending Champion: Dacia Bushman (Liberty) – 36:55.27
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Jeanne Stroud (Winthrop) – 3rd place
2012 Leader: Letitia Saayman (Coastal Carolina) – 36:21.70
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 6 (Dacia Bushman - 2011)
Liberty Entrants: Khristina Kanagy, Alyssa Allen, Meredith Mistretta and Caroline Parris
Outlook: Thursday evening's women's 10K final could shape up as one of the first Liberty-Coastal Carolina battles this weekend, with the Chanticleers' Letitia Saayman and the Lady Flames' Khristina Kanagy currently ranking first and second in the conference. Kanagy will attempt to become the third different Liberty runner to capture the Big South 10K title in the last three years, following Ashley Osborne in 2010 and Dacia Bushman in 2011.

Women's 100-Meter Hurdles
Event Schedule: Prelims – Friday at 3:45 p.m.; Final – Saturday at 1:25 p.m.
Defending Champion: Olivia Charnuski (Liberty) – 13.93
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Charnuski
2012 Indoor Champion (60 Hurdles): Mulern Jean (Charleston Southern) – 8.44
2012 Leader: Mulern Jean (Charleston Southern) – 13.75
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 9 (Olivia Charnuski - 2011)
Liberty Entrants: Olivia Charnuski and Rachel Houseknecht
Outlook: Liberty senior Olivia Charnuski will attempt to repeat her performance from the 2011 100-meter hurdles final, where she won her first Big South title in convincing fashion. Charnuski ranks third in the conference this season, trailing Charleston Southern freshman Mulern Jean and High Point senior Manika Gamble. Jean was the Big South indoor 60-meter hurdles champion in February, while Gamble has won numerous Big South titles but is still chasing her first crown in the 100 hurdles. The Lady Flames' Rachel Houseknecht also bears watching. She has dropped her time consistently this season, including a 14.23 at the UVa Team Swashbuckle.

Women's 400-Meter Hurdles
Event Schedule: Prelims – Friday at 6:15 p.m.; Final – Saturday at 2:55 p.m.
Defending Champion: Manika Gamble (High Point) – 60.52 (Third in a row)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Gamble
2012 Leader: Manika Gamble (High Point) – 58.85 (No. 19 nationally)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 9 (Arlene Zelinskas - 2007)
Liberty Entrants: Mia Aghaji, Melanie Sims, Christina Mitchell and Riley Brandon
Outlook: Manika Gamble of High Point is a heavy favorite to become the Big South's first four-time Big South women's 400-meter hurdles champion. Her season-best time of 58.85 seconds leads the conference performance list by four seconds and ranks No. 19 in the nation. Behind Gamble, Liberty and Coastal Carolina could both score well in this event. The Lady Flames' Mia Aghaji, Melanie Sims and Christina Mitchell all made the 400 hurdles final in 2011, with Sims placing second and Mitchell third. Christina Davis and Caitlin Baker of the Chanticleers have both run times under 1:04.00 this season.

Women's 4 x 100 Relay
Event Schedule: Final – Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: Coastal Carolina – 45.75
2012 Leader: Liberty – 45.90
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 8 (2007)
Outlook: The first running event on Saturday, the women's 4 x 100 relay could help set the tone for the day. The last time Liberty won the Big South 4 x 100 relay title, 2007, the Lady Flames went on to claim the team championship. The Lady Flames' quartet of Meme Layne, Abigail Flower, Olivia Charnuski and Alyssa Pegues broke the school record in their most recent outing at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational, running a conference-leading time of 45.90 seconds. Coastal Carolina is the defending Big South champion in this event, while Charleston Southern could be a threat as well, with Gabrielle Houston likely to run the anchor leg.

Women's 4 x 400 Relay
Event Schedule: Final – Saturday at 4:25 p.m.
Defending Champion: Coastal Carolina – 3:48.13
2012 Indoor Champion: Charleston Southern – 3:51.97
2012 Leader: Coastal Carolina – 3:42.84
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 8 (2004)
Outlook: If the team championship still hangs in the balance entering the 4 x 400 relay, Coastal Carolina could be in good shape. The Chanticleers are the defending Big South 4 x 400 champions and clocked an impressive time of 3:42.84 at the Auburn Tiger Track Classic. Charleston Southern could also contend, after nipping Coastal Carolina for the Big South indoor 4 x 400 relay crown in February.

Women's Long Jump
Event Schedule: Final – Thursday at 2 p.m.
Defending Champion: Patria Norman (Charleston Southern) – 19-6.75 (5.96m) (Second in a row)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Norman
2012 Indoor Champion: Patria Norman (Charleston Southern) – 19-3.5 (5.88m)
2012 Leader: Deona Jones (Charleston Southern) – 18-10 (5.74m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 7 (Danielle McNaney - 2003)
Liberty Entrants: Melissa Rohwer, Mia Aghaji, Alyssa Pegues and Melanie Sims
Outlook: The long jump has become a very strong event for Charleston Southern of late. Patria Norman is the two-time defending Big South outdoor long jump champion and also claimed the 2012 indoor conference title. Even though Norman has not competed yet during the 2012 outdoor season, the Buccaneers' Deona Jones and Sequoya Casey rank first and second on the Big South performance list. Four Liberty and Coastal Carolina long jumpers have recorded marks between 17-11 and 18-1.5 this season, including Lady Flames Melissa Rohwer and Mia Aghaji and Chanticleers Kierra Gabe and Erica Peake. Their order of finish will be important to the overall team standings. Coastal Carolina outscored Liberty, 17-4, in the long jump at the Big South indoor meet. However, indoor conference runner-up Darriale Henley has not yet competed for the Chanticleers outdoors.

Women's Triple Jump
Event Schedule: Final – Saturday at Noon
Defending Champion: Mia Aghaji (Liberty) – 41-4.25 (12.60m) (Second in a row)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Aghaji
2012 Indoor Champion: Kierra Gabe (Coastal Carolina) – 40-2.75 (12.26m)
2012 Leader: Kierra Gabe (Coastal Carolina) – 41-0.25 (12.50m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 8 (Mia Aghaji - 2011)
Liberty Entrants: Mia Aghaji, Melissa Rohwer, Alyssa Pegues and Bari Minter
Outlook: The triple jump could feature another Liberty-Coastal Carolina head-to-head battle, with the Chanticleers' Kierra Gabe and the Lady Flames' Mia Aghaji seeded first and second. Gabe defeated Aghaji by one centimeter at the Big South indoor meet, while Aghaji is the two-time defending Big South outdoor champion in this event. Liberty has better depth in the triple jump than Coastal Carolina, as Melissa Rohwer and Alyssa Pegues are two of the six conference jumpers who have broken the 38-foot barrier during the 2012 outdoor season.

Women's High Jump
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: Christina Fenske (High Point) – 5-8.75 (1.75m)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Kierra Gabe (Coastal Carolina) – 2nd place
2012 Indoor Champion: Kierra Gabe (Coastal Carolina) – 5-7 (1.70m)
2012 Leader: Kierra Gabe (Coastal Carolina) – 5-7.75 (1.72m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 8 (Mia Aghaji - 2008)
Liberty Entrants: Mia Aghaji, Marianne Wheeler, Riley Brandon and Kristen Willeford
Outlook: Coastal Carolina's Kierra Gabe will enter Friday's high jump competition as a pretty clear favorite. She is the top returnee from the 2011 meet, captured the Big South indoor title and owns the conference's top clearance this season at 5-7.75. However, she is the only Chanticleer who has high jumped during the 2012 outdoor campaign. Conversely, Liberty will enter four athletes ranked in the Big South's top eight. Highlighting the list is Mia Aghaji, who was the Big South indoor and outdoor high jump champion in 2008. Lady Flames freshman Riley Brandon will also look to build upon her performance from the Liberty Collegiate Invitational heptathlon, where she jumped a career-high 5-4.25 and narrowly missed at 5-5.25. However, Brandon will have just completed the heptathlon 800-meter run prior to high jumping on Friday.

Women's Pole Vault
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 5:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: Shelley Parker (Liberty) – 12-7.5 (3.85m)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Parker
2012 Indoor Champion: Jennifer Sing (VMI) – 12-10 (3.91m)
2012 Leader: Jennifer Sing (VMI) – 13-3.5 (4.05m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 7 (Shelley Parker – 2011)
Liberty Entrants: Rachel Houseknecht, Shelley Parker and Tami Tolsma
Outlook: VMI's Jennifer Sing has been the class of Big South women's pole vaulting in 2012, winning the indoor conference title and clearing a conference-best 13-3.5 outdoors. She will have plenty of competition on Friday, though, including defending champion Shelley Parker of Liberty. Two other past Big South pole vault champions will also be in the field, including VMI's Kate Collins (2010 indoor) and Coastal Carolina's Mary Lawrence (2010 outdoor). This is another event where Liberty hopes to overcome the Chanticleers with depth. Lady Flames Parker, Rachel Houseknecht and Tami Tolsma all rank among the Big South's top 10 pole vaulters, while Lawrence is the only Chanticleer in the top 10.

Women's Shot Put
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 1 p.m.
Defending Champion: Ashlei Alexander (Gardner-Webb) – 45-6.5 (13.88m)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Alexander
2012 Indoor Champion: Mychelle Cumings (Liberty) – 47-9.25 (14.56m)
2012 Leader: Mychelle Cumings (Liberty) – 49-0.75 (14.95m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 3 (Amy Rodriguez - 1999)
Liberty Entrants: Mychelle Cumings, Rachel Barnes, Jennifer Nicholson and Jocelyn Williams
Outlook: Liberty freshman Mychelle Cumings won the Big South indoor women's shot put championship in February, and her best outdoor mark (49-0.75) is more than five feet longer than any other conference thrower. So, Cumings certainly has a chance to become the Lady Flames' first Big South outdoor women's shot put champion since Amy Rodriguez in 1999. Gardner-Webb's Ashlei Alexander could be Cumings' top competitor. She is the defending Big South outdoor champion and finished second to Cumings indoors.

Women's Discus
Event Schedule: Final – Saturday at 10 a.m.
Defending Champion: Mary Grace Lemon (VMI) – 144-5 (44.02m)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Lemon
2012 Leader: Mychelle Cumings (Liberty) – 167-0 (50.91m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 0 (None)
Liberty Entrants: Mychelle Cumings, Jocelyn Williams, Jennifer Nicholson and Melinda Bendik
Outlook: The women's discus is the only event Liberty has never won in the 18-year history of the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Lady Flames hope to change that fact Saturday morning and score considerably more than the one point they managed in the discus last season. Liberty freshman Mychelle Cumings tops the Big South performance list by 15 and a half feet, thanks to her school-record 167-0 heave at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational. Teammates Jocelyn Williams and Jennifer Nicholson have also qualified for the ECAC meet and rank in the Big South's top six. Coastal Carolina will counter with Brittany Connor and Anjulia Nicholson, seeded third and fifth, respectively. Connor won the Big South women's discus title in both 2009 and 2010, while VMI sophomore Mary Grace Lemon will attempt to defend her championship from 2011.

Women's Javelin
Event Schedule: Final – Thursday at 6 p.m.
Defending Champion: Deborah Mattern (Coastal Carolina) – 142-2 (43.34m) (Third in a row)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Christina Mitchell (Liberty) – 3rd place
2012 Leader: Danielle England (Coastal Carolina) – 141-11 (43.27m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 5 (Danielle McNaney - 2005)
Liberty Entrants: Christina Mitchell, Jennifer Nicholson and Grace Esden
Outlook: Three-time defending Big South women's javelin champion Deborah Mattern has graduated from Coastal Carolina, but the Chanticleers have reloaded in a traditionally strong event for them. Three Coastal Carolina freshmen rank among the Big South's top eight, including conference leader Danielle England (141-11). Christina Mitchell carries Liberty's top hopes. She finished third last year and ranks second (135-11) on the Big South list this season. The javelin will be Mitchell's fifth event on Thursday, after she completes the first four heptathlon disciplines.

Women's Hammer
Event Schedule: Final – Thursday at 1 p.m.
Defending Champion: Aimee Veatch (Radford) – 173-2 (52.78m) (Third in a row)
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Veatch
2012 Indoor Champion (Weight): Aimee Veatch (Radford) – 60-3 (18.36m)
2012 Leader: Melinda Bendik (Liberty) – 194-5 (59.26m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 1 (Amy Rodriguez - 1997)
Liberty Entrants: Melinda Bendik, Jocelyn Williams, Mychelle Cumings and Jennifer Nicholson
Outlook: Radford's Aimee Veatch will aim for her fourth consecutive Big South women's hammer title, during the very first event of the meet Thursday afternoon. However, she is only seeded No. 5 in the conference entering this weekend. Liberty redshirt senior Melinda Bendik owns the Big South's top throw of 2012, at 194-5. She will aim to win her first Big South title and become the first Lady Flame to capture the Big South women's hammer crown since Amy Rodriguez in 1997. Coastal Carolina's Shantelle Patterson is also likely to battle for first place. The third-place finisher in 2011, Patterson's top mark of 2012 is 185-6.

Women's Heptathlon
Event Schedule: Day One – Begins Thursday at 2 p.m.; Day Two – Begins Friday at 12:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: Christina Mitchell (Liberty) – 4,831
Top Returnee from 2011 Meet: Mitchell
2012 Indoor Champion (Pentathlon): Kristen Hurley (Gardner-Webb) – 3,318
2012 Leader: Christina Mitchell (Liberty) – 4,406
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 7 (Christina Mitchell - 2011)
Liberty Entrants: Christina Mitchell, Riley Brandon and Audrey Bamford
Outlook: Liberty has won the Big South heptathlon title seven times in the 11 years it has been contested, and defending champion Christina Mitchell enters this weekend's event as the top seed with 4,406 points. Her top competition could come from Big South indoor pentathlon champion Kristen Hurley of Gardner-Webb and reigning Big South pentathlon and heptathlon runner-up Patria Norman of Charleston Southern. Liberty also hopes for strong performances from Audrey Bamford and Riley Brandon, who placed third and fourth, respectively in this year's Big South indoor pentathlon competition.