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Zelinskas Sets Hurdle School Record On Opening Day Of Virginia Tech Invitational
Liberty senior Arlene Zelinskas broke an 18-year-old school record in the 55-meter hurdles, clocking a 7.99 during the semifinals of the event to highlight day one action at the Virginia Tech Invitational. Freshman Josh Edmonds starred for the Liberty men's team, placing second in the 5,000-meter run Friday evening at the nearly 30-team event at Rector Fieldhouse.
Zelinskas' (Sr., Dayton, Ohio) record-breaking effort allowed her to advance to Saturday's 55-meter hurdle final with the sixth-fastest qualifying time. She had previously equaled Delethea Quarles' school-record 8.11 effort during the preliminary round. The senior was not finished for the day, as she also tied for fifth in the high jump, clearing 5-5.
Lady Flame sprinters additionally established a pair of program freshman records on Friday. Sheronica Henton (Raeford, N.C.) became the fastest Liberty rookie in the 55-meter dash with her 7.28 effort in the prelims. Meanwhile, Chenoa Freeman (Lincoln, Del.) covered the 500-meter distance in 1:16.92. Her ninth-place effort in the event makes her Liberty's all-time fastest freshman and the third-best performer at 500 meters in program history.
Some of the more experienced female sprinters on the team shone as well. Sophomore Andrea Beckles (Lynchburg, Va.) just missed making the 55-meter dash final, recording the 10th-fastest time from the semifinals. However, her 7.22 mark left her tied as the second-best performer in program history.
Jaime Watson (So., Ravenna, Mich.) took fifth place in the 500-meter run in a time of 1:15.10, which puts her behind only Gina Turner on the all-time Liberty list. Turner is also the only Lady Flame who has ever run 300 meters faster than Charlene Hibbert (Jr., Mississauga, Ontario) did on Friday. Hibbert placed 22nd in 41.49 seconds.
Edmonds (Cooperstown, N.Y.) nearly became the Flames' first event champion at the meet, finishing just 1.5 seconds behind Sam Bryfczynski of Clemson in the 5K and crossing the line in a time of 15:10.81.
Junior Jon Hart (Wyomissing, Pa.) made a successful return to the Liberty throwing corps, recording a seventh-place finish in the weight throw. His 60-8 effort placed Hart as the number two performer on Liberty's all-time performance list. Fellow Keystone State native Philip Leineweber (So., New Freedom, Pa.) crossed the line in 1:04.20 during the 500-meter dash, a time good for fifth place overall.
The second and final day of the Virginia Tech Invitational will begin Saturday at noon at the Rector Fieldhouse.