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Liberty to Be Well-Represented at IC4A/ECAC
More than 40 Liberty men's and women's athletes will head to Princeton, N.J., this weekend for the 2012 IC4A and ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The meets will be held Friday through Sunday at Weaver Track & Field Stadium.
Action will begin Friday at noon, when Christina Mitchell begins defense of her ECAC heptathlon title. Jacob DeValve will be the first Liberty men's athlete to compete, running the IC4A decathlon 100-meter dash at 1 p.m. Friday afternoon.
How to Follow the Action
Live results will be available for both the IC4A and ECAC championships, courtesy of Lancer Timing.
For the third year in a row, LibertyFlames.com will provide an interactive CoveritLive blog throughout the IC4A and ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Due to the lack of an enclosed press box at Weaver Track & Field Stadium, the blog may be halted in the event of inclement weather.
Periodic updates will be available on the Liberty Flames' official Twitter account (@libertyflames), especially if the CoveritLive blog is unavailable.
The weather forecast for Princeton looks quite promising for this weekend. The high temperature for Friday is projected at 69 degrees, before warming up to 76 on both Saturday and Sunday. Abundant sunshine is in the forecast for all three days of competition.
Liberty's IC4A Entrants
Tim Abbott – Discus
Paul Arslain – 4 x 400
Maxwell Asante – 100
Pedro Carela – Steeplechase
Taylor Courtney – 400 Hurdles, 4 x 400
Jacob DeValve – Javelin, Decathlon
Jon Drablos – Pole Vault
Caleb Edmonds – 5K
Lachaddrick Ellis – 200
Steve Feister – Javelin
Cody Fridgen – Pole Vault
Kyle Gill – 400
Ngetich Kipchirchir – 10K
Daniel Klase – Javelin
Josh MacDonald – Steeplechase
Kevin Reddington – Long Jump
David Ricksecker – 5K
Leonard Robbins – 400, 4 x 100, 4 x 400
David Scouten – Shot Put, Discus
Kolby Shepherd – Pole Vault
ConRoy Smith – 100, 200, 4 x 100
Ryan Smith – Shot Put, Discus, Hammer
Roderick Spruel – 100, 4 x 100
Andre Washington – 4 x 400
Kyle Wheeler – High Jump
Tarell Williams – 100, 4 x 100
Liberty's ECAC Entrants
Mia Aghaji – 4 x 400, Triple Jump, High Jump
Melinda Bendik – Hammer
Kiara Bridges – 4 x 400
Meghan Burggraf – 800, 4 x 400
Olivia Charnuski – 100 Hurdles, 4 x 100
Jacy Christiansen – 3K
Mychelle Cumings – Shot Put, Discus
Abigail Flower – 100, 200, 4 x 100
Rachel Houseknecht – 100 Hurdles, Pole Vault
Khristina Kanagy – 10K
Jennifer Klugh – 1,500, 3K
Meme Layne – 100, 4 x 100
Christina Mitchell – Javelin, Heptathlon
Jennifer Nicholson – Discus
Shelley Parker – Pole Vault
Melanie Sims – 4 x 400
Sherri Spruel – 4 x 100
Jocelyn Williams – Discus
What Do All of These Letters Stand For?
The acronym ECAC is short for Eastern College Athletic Conference. According to the ECAC website, it "is the nation's largest athletic conference and only multi-divisional conference, with approximately 300 member institutions ranging across 16 states from Maine to North Carolina and westerly to Illinois." This weekend's women's meet is officially titled the ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championship.
Meanwhile, the concurrent men's meet is called the IC4A Outdoor Track & Field Championship. IC4A stands for Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America, and the name is only applied to the ECAC's Division I men's championships in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field.
Liberty will boast its largest representation at the IC4A and ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in recent years, with 26 men's athletes and 18 women's athletes entered in this weekend's competition.
Liberty will be represented in 17 of 22 IC4A events, highlighted by four athletes (Maxwell Asante, ConRoy Smith, Roderick Spruel and Tarell Williams) in the 100-meter dash. The Flames actually qualified six runners to the men's 100, but Kyle Gill will focus on other events and Anthony Settje will miss the meet due to injury.
On the women's side, the Lady Flames will enter 17 of 23 ECAC events, including a trio of entrants (Mychelle Cumings, Jennifer Nicholson and Jocelyn Williams) in the discus.
Nearly a third of Liberty's IC4A and ECAC qualifiers are freshmen, including one redshirt freshman (Caleb Edmonds) and a dozen true freshmen (Jacy Christiansen, Mychelle Cumings, Jon Drablos, Lachaddrick Ellis, Steve Feister, Abigail Flower, Daniel Klase, Meme Layne, Jennifer Nicholson, Leonard Robbins, David Scouten and Kyle Wheeler).
With so many athletes entered in the meet, Liberty has a chance to place well in both the IC4A and ECAC team standings this weekend. The Flames have finished in the top two for four of the past five years at the IC4A outdoor championship, including titles in 2007 and 2008 and runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2010.
Meanwhile, the Lady Flames could post one of their highest ECAC finishes in program history. Liberty's best performance to date was a seventh-place effort at the 2007 ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Lady Flames recorded their best-ever ECAC indoor finish in March, when they came in 11th.
Three of Liberty's athletes competing this weekend have captured IC4A and ECAC individual event titles during their career, including Taylor Courtney, Christina Mitchell and Jocelyn Williams.
Mitchell is the only one of the three Flames who has been victorious outdoors, after winning the 2011 ECAC heptathlon title. Indoors, Courtney took top honors in the 2011 IC4A men's 500-meter run and Williams claimed the 2012 ECAC women's weight throw crown.
Liberty enters this weekend with three top-five seeds on the IC4A/ECAC performance list, all of which come in women's throwing events. Mychelle Cumings is listed No. 2 in the ECAC in the discus (167-0) and No. 5 in the shot put (51-3), while Melinda Bendik sits No. 3 in the ECAC hammer (197-10).
The Flames' top IC4A seeds (No. 6 in both cases) are owned by Josh MacDonald in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (8:56.65) and Kolby Shepherd in the pole vault (17-1).
Christina Mitchell will attempt to win her second consecutive ECAC heptathlon title, beginning on Friday. If she is successful, Mitchell would become the first Lady Flame ever to win multiple ECAC heptathlon crowns. Danielle McNaney earned a single ECAC heptathlon championship, in 2005.
Earlier this season, Mitchell won her second Big South heptathlon championship in a row, coming from behind to win with 4,513 points. Mitchell has also broken the Liberty women's javelin record twice in 2012, including a 146-1 heave at Sunday's Winthrop Twilight.
Mitchell will compete in the heptathlon Friday and Saturday in Princeton, before throwing the javelin Saturday afternoon.
Tradition of Excellence
The decathlon has been Liberty's strongest event at the IC4A meet during the Flames' 20 years competing in the conference. Seven different competitors have combined to win 12 IC4A decathlon championships, including Geren Woodbridge in 2011.
Jacob DeValve figures to be a contender for this year's IC4A decathlon title, after scoring 6,904 points to win the Big South decathlon championship last month. Only one of his competitors has scored more points this season, as Connecticut's Ben Waruch recorded a score of 6,994 to place as the BIG EAST decathlon runner-up last weekend.
This will be DeValve's first appearance in the IC4A decathlon, but he did throw the shot put at the 2011 IC4A Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
NCAA Up Next
This weekend is athletes' final chance to qualify for the NCAA Preliminary Round meet, which is slated for May 24-26 in Jacksonville, Fla. The top 48 individuals in each event and the top 24 relay teams in the Eastern half of the country will earn the right to compete at the meet. Entering the IC4A and ECAC meets, here is how some of the Flames and Lady Flames stand.
Lock: Mia Aghaji (Women's High Jump), Melinda Bendik (Women's Hammer), Mychelle Cumings (Women's Shot Put & Discus), Josh MacDonald (Men's Steeplechase), Ryan Smith (Men's Shot Put & Hammer) and Kyle Wheeler (Men's High Jump)