The Liberty men's squad celebrates its eighth consecutive Big South outdoor team title.
For the eighth straight season, the Liberty men's squad captured the team title at the 2014 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which wrapped up on a sun-drenched Monday at Winthrop's Irwin Belk Track. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames finished second to Coastal Carolina at the weather-prolonged meet. The Liberty men's team finished with 225.5 points, ending 54.5 points ahead of runner-up Coastal Carolina's score of 171. It was the most points that the Flames have scored at a Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championship since posting 232 markers in 2008, the last time Winthrop hosted the meet. The Flames have now captured 19 team titles in the meet's 21-year history. Liberty also completed its eighth consecutive Big South Conference men's Triple Crown, after the Flames previously won the conference men's cross country and indoor track & field crowns this year. Liberty is tied with Kansas (Big 8, 1951-59) for the second-longest streak of conference Triple Crowns in men's NCAA Division I cross country/track & field history. William & Mary owns the all-time record, with nine Southern Conference Triple Crowns in a row between 1966 and 1975. The Lady Flames finished with 176.5 points to earn the team runner-up trophy, marking their sixth consecutive top-two finish at this meet. Women's team champion Coastal Carolina totaled 216 points. Liberty also collected several individual trophies at the meet's conclusion, as senior Josh MacDonald was voted Big South Men's Outstanding Track Performer, Brant Tolsma was tabbed Big South Men's Coach of the Year and the duo of Jacob DeValve and Jacy Christiansen each garnered mention on the Big South All-Academic Teams. MacDonald became the Flames' first Big South Men's Outstanding Track Performer since Evans Kigen in 2010. The California native racked up 23 points in the meet's three longest races, winning the steeplechase title, placing second in the 10K and coming in fourth in the 5K. Tolsma's eighth straight Big South Men's Coach of the Year award at this meet makes him a 56-time Big South Coach of the Year for his career. He has now coached 82 Liberty teams to Big South titles, including cross country and track & field. DeValve completed a bachelor's degree in religion with a 3.96 GPA and has now begun graduate work in biblical studies. The redshirt senior was the Big South men's shot put champion, while placing fourth in the javelin and seventh in the discus. A junior communications major with a 3.76 GPA, Christiansen was the Lady Flames' leading scorer at the meet with 18 points. She took home the Big South women's 5K title and was the 10K runner-up. Freshman Zach Davis was Liberty's highest finisher in any of the three field events which were delayed until Monday due to a rain-soaked Saturday in Rock Hill. He finished as the men's high jump runner-up, thanks to a personal best-equaling 6-11 clearance. It was the first time Davis has sailed over 6-11 outdoors, moving him up to No. 7 on Liberty's all-time list. It was the second All-Big South medal of the meet for Davis, who also came in third in the decathlon. The Flames totaled 14 points in the high jump, as Kyle Wheeler placed fifth and Tevan McIntire seventh with matching 6-4.75 clearances. It tied Wheeler's season best and was McIntire's best-ever outdoor clearance. In the men's pole vault, both Ken Ritchey and Zach Gilroy matched their season-best clearances on Monday. Ritchey placed fourth at 15-3, while Gilroy tied for sixth place at 14-9. Lady Flames freshman Brooke Shelton was unable to get over the bar on her third and final attempt at 11-8.5 on Monday, wrapping up a competition which began Friday afternoon. However, she finished in a tie for fourth place with defending champion Kate Collins of VMI in the women's pole vault final, at 11-2.5. Liberty will divide its team between two different meets this coming week. A sizeable group of Flames and Lady Flames will travel to Philadelphia for the 120th running of the prestigious Penn Relays, Thursday through Saturday. Some of their teammates will compete in Radford's Highlander Invitational, Friday and Saturday.
Final Men's Team Scores 1) Liberty – 225.5 2) Coastal Carolina – 171 3) High Point – 128 4) Campbell – 101 5) Gardner-Webb – 71 6) VMI – 42.5 7) Charleston Southern – 42 8) Winthrop – 14 9) UNC Asheville – 12 10) Radford – 9
Final Women's Team Scores 1) Coastal Carolina – 216 2) Liberty – 176.5 3) High Point – 92 4) Campbell – 85 5) Charleston Southern – 67 6) Winthrop – 52 7) Gardner-Webb – 46 8) UNC Asheville – 33 9) Radford – 29 10) VMI – 20.5
Men's Outstanding Track Performer Josh MacDonald, Liberty
Women's Outstanding Track Performer Anna Scott, Campbell
Men's Outstanding Field Performer Reggie Nelson, Coastal Carolina
Women's Outstanding Field Performer Latesha Simpson, Coastal Carolina
Men's Freshman of the Year Fabian Jarrett, Campbell
Women's Freshman of the Year Anna Scott, Campbell
Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year Cabell Willis, VMI
Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year Teresa Williamson, Radford
Men's All-Academic Team Eric Baldwin, Campbell Cameron Griggs, Coastal Carolina Carson Sears, Gardner-Webb Austin Miller, High Point Jacob DeValve, Liberty Skyler Winchester, UNC Asheville Cabell Willis, VMI Carlo Raiteri, Winthrop
Women's All-Academic Team Chelsey Bush, Campbell Laquestis Scott, Charleston Southern Emily Marchini, Coastal Carolina Meredith Byl, Gardner-Webb Christine Rickert, High Point Jacy Christiansen, Liberty Teresa Williamson, Radford Corey McClintock, UNC Asheville Hannah Dickinson, VMI Jeanne Stroud, Winthrop
Men's Coach of the Year Brant Tolsma, Liberty
Women's Coach of the Year Alan Connie, Coastal Carolina