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Bendik, Shepherd Earn All-America Honors
Based upon their performances at the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Liberty redshirt seniors Kolby Shepherd and Melinda Bendik have been recognized as All-Americans by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Shepherd was tabbed a first team All-American in the men's pole vault, while Bendik was honored as a second team All-American in the women's hammer.
Shepherd and Bendik are the 15th and 16th Liberty track & field athletes to garner All-America recognition in the 24 years that the Flames and Lady Flames have been competing at the NCAA Division I level. The top eight finishers in each event were tabbed first team All-Americans, with the ninth through 16th-place athletes named second team All-Americans.
Shepherd tied for fifth place in the NCAA men's pole vault final, Friday afternoon at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. He cleared each of the competition's first four heights on his initial attempt, including a 17-8.5 clearance. That effort broke the school record and equaled the Big South Conference record for the outdoor men's pole vault. Shepherd is Liberty's first-ever NCAA Division I All-American in the men's pole vault.
Bendik fared well in her first visit to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, placing 16th in the women's hammer final with a 192-7 heave. The Odessa, Texas native is the first Lady Flame to earn All-America honors since Heather Sagan and Andrea Wildrick both did so in 2002.