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Bendik Wins ECAC Hammer with School-Record Throw
Day 2 Blog
Liberty redshirt senior Melinda Bendik won the ECAC hammer competition and broke her own school record with a 201-3 throw, highlighting a sun-drenched Saturday at Weaver Track & Field Stadium. Meanwhile, the Flames' top IC4A result was a third-place pole vault finish by Kolby Shepherd.
Bendik's victory, which provided a nice substitute for her graduation ceremony, contributed 10 points to the Lady Flames' total of 19 tallies. Liberty now ranks fourth in the ECAC team standings through nine events, just two points behind Cornell for second. The Lady Flames have never finished higher than seventh place at this meet. Defending ECAC champion Duke owns a commanding lead with 56.5 points so far.
On the men's side, Liberty has totaled 16 points through eight events, which is good for seventh place on the IC4A ledger. Connecticut's 30 points have the Huskies one point ahead of Duke for first place at this juncture.
Women's ECAC Day Two Recap
Bendik stepped up for her final throw of the ECAC women's hammer competition trailing Connecticut's Victoria Flowers, the top-ranked hammer thrower in the East Region. However, Bendik's sixth heave reached 201-3 and Flowers could not answer on her final attempt.
As a result, Bendik became the first Lady Flame ever to win a throwing event title at the ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Additionally, the Texas native broke her own program record of 197-10, which had been set April 28 at the Highlander Invitational in Radford, Va. Bendik now ranks No. 6 in the East Region and No. 18 nationally for the women's hammer.
Reigning ECAC heptathlon champion Christina Mitchell finished fifth in this year's heptathlon competition, with a score of 4,498 points. Her top event on Saturday was the javelin, as her 136-11 mark topped the field of heptathletes by 11 and a half feet.
Later on in the day, Mitchell competed in the ECAC javelin. Her throw of 136-3 netted 12th place overall.
The Lady Flames' 4 x 100 relay quartet of Sherri Spruel, Abigail Flower, Olivia Charnuski and Meme Layne qualified to Sunday's ECAC final with a time of 46.34 seconds.
Charnuski nearly made the ECAC 100 hurdles final as well, finishing with the 10th-fastest time during the semifinals, 14.13.
Meghan Burggraf did not make the ECAC 800-meter run final, but did fashion her fastest-ever outdoor time, 2:09.94. That moves the junior up to No. 4 on Liberty's all-time outdoor 800-meter list.
Men's IC4A Day Two Recap
Shepherd sailed over 16-10 on his second pole vault attempt to claim third place in the event. In the process, the redshirt senior also greatly improved his chances at qualifying for the NCAA Division I Preliminary Round meet.
The Flames' other two IC4A points on Saturday came from Tim Abbott in the discus. The sophomore's fifth throw stretched the tape to a personal-best 167-4. That effort placed seventh in the event and moves Abbott up to No. 7 in program history.
Ryan Smith followed up Abbott's effort with a 12th-place discus finish, thanks to a 160-10 toss. Earlier in the morning, Smith had come in 14th in the IC4A hammer final, reaching 175-3 on his best attempt.
Kevin Reddington made the IC4A long jump finals with a season-best 23-11.75 leap. However, he just missed out on scoring points for the Flames by two inches, ending up ninth overall.
Liberty will have both of its 4 x 100 relay teams in action on Sunday, as the men's grouping of Roderick Spruel, Leonard Robbins, Tarell Williams and Maxwell Asante posted a time of 40.79 to earn a berth in the IC4A final.
The Flames also had some near-misses while attempting to qualify for other IC4A finals. The 4 x 400 relay team of Andre Washington, Kyle Gill, Paul Arslain and Robbins ran a season-best time of 3:13.36 but came in ninth, with the top eight teams reaching the final.
Asante was 10th in the 100 dash prelims at 10.69, while Robbins and Taylor Courtney were each 12th in their respective event preliminaries. Robbins clocked 47.51 in the 400 dash, with Courtney running a heat-winning 400 hurdles time of 53.08.
The third and final day of the 2012 IC4A and ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships will begin Sunday at 10 a.m., when Mychelle Cumings competes in the ECAC shot put and Mia Aghaji takes part in the ECAC high jump. Running events commence at 12:15 p.m., when the Lady Flames run in the ECAC 4 x 100 relay final.