Freshman Hannah Scherlacher ran the 1,200-meter leadoff leg for the Lady Flames' distance medley relay team on Thursday.
The Liberty quartet of Hannah Scherlacher, Janae Jones, Meghan Burggraf and Jacy Christiansen clocked a time of 11:56.54 in the distance medley relay, representing the Lady Flames' top performance on the opening day of the 120th Penn Relays, Thursday at Franklin Field. The Lady Flames, who placed 12th in the college section of the distance medley relay, claimed the No. 8 spot in program history. It was Liberty's fastest distance medley relay effort since Jennifer Klugh, Chenoa Freeman, Jaime Watson and Rebekah Ricksecker posted a time of 11:32.55 at the 2010 Penn Relays. Competing just 20 miles from her hometown of Jefferson, N.J., freshman Scherlacher led off with a 1,200-meter split of 3:48.92. Sophomore Jones followed with a 59.78 split for 400 meters. Burggraf, a redshirt senior team captain, ran the Lady Flames' most impressive leg, clocking 2:08.51 for 800 meters. The five-time Big South 800-meter champion accounted for the fastest 800-meter carry among the 19 teams in the race. Burggraf then handed off to junior Christiansen, who posted a 4:59.35 for the 1,600-meter anchor leg. Liberty's trio of women's 400-meter hurdlers (Ansley Gebben, Mary Witmer and Mary Echols) joined Corinn Bedell to record a 4 x 400 relay time of 3:50.81. The Lady Flames placed 38th of 87 teams in the qualifying heats, while becoming the second different Liberty women's 4 x 400 grouping to dip under the ECAC standard in 2014. Bedell made her collegiate 4 x 100 relay debut Thursday afternoon, teaming up with Oasis Hernandez, Abigail Flower and Kate Flower for a time of 48.29 seconds. That was good for 58th place out of 105 entrants in the preliminary heats. Junior Melissa Rohwer long jumped over 18 feet for the second time this season, stretching out to 18-1.5 on each of her last two attempts. She finished 11th in the Eastern section of the women's long jump. Liberty's lone male competitor on Thursday, redshirt freshman Sam Hibbs finished 50th in the college men's 5K, thanks to a time of 14:54.63. Liberty athletes will compete in two different meets on Friday. Big South champion Janae Jones and Rohwer will be the first two Lady Flames in action at the Penn Relays, beginning the women's triple jump competition at 11 a.m. Meanwhile, Big South champion Jennifer Nicholson will get Liberty's day started at Radford's Highlander Invitational, throwing the discus at noon.