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McDougal Runs 3:57 Mile on Day Two of ASICS Collegiate Invitational

March 31, 2007  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Josh McDougal races to a 3:57 mile, joining an exclusive group of sub-4:00 milers.

Josh McDougal races to a 3:57 mile, joining an exclusive group of sub-4:00 milers.

Liberty junior Josh McDougal joined the exclusive sub-4:00 mile club, Saturday at the ASICS Collegiate Invitational, clocking a 3:57.46 to win the event on his home track at the Matthes-Hopkins Track & Field Complex. 

McDougal's (Peru, N.Y.) landmark performance highlighted an action-packed day which was hampered by wet weather early on. When all was said and done, Liberty had won 14 events, set two facility records and qualified a pair of athletes to the NCAA East Regional Championships. 

McDougal took advantage of nearly ideal conditions for distance running, competing under an overcast sky with very little wind and the temperature in the 50s. Rabbited by brother Jordan McDougal (So., Peru, N.Y.) for the first two laps, McDougal began to distance himself from Pittsburgh's Tim Konoval and Roberts Wesleyan's Julius Rono, the NAIA 1,000-meter national champion, at the halfway mark. The clock read 3:00 when McDougal crossed the line for the final lap. Urged along by a partisan crowd, he then covered the final 400 meters in 57 seconds to win the race and become Liberty's first athlete ever to break the 4-minute barrier. 

McDougal's time was the fastest run by a collegiate athlete this year and qualified him for the NCAA Division I East Regional Championships in the 1,500 meters. He is now also one of the fewer than 300 Americans who have ever run a sub-4:00 mile. His previous best in the mile was 4:01.63, run indoors, at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, on Feb. 18, 2006. For his efforts, he was named Men's Track Athlete of the Meet. 

With all of the attention McDougal's performance garnered, Tim O'Donnell (Jr., Hurst, Texas) was quietly a triple event winner. He won both hurdle races, clocking a 14.61 into a headwind in the 110 hurdles and running a 53.57 to capture the 400 hurdles title by more than four full seconds. 

O'Donnell then anchored Liberty's 4 x 400 relay squad to victory in a time of 3:17.71. Josh Gilreath (Jr., Reidsville, N.C.), Matt Parker (So., Rome, N.Y.) and Travis Campbell (Sr., Candler, N.C.) ran the first three legs for the Flames. Gilreath had earlier blazed to a winning 48.73 effort in the open 400, and Parker recorded a best mark of 22-5.25 to win the long jump crown. 

Clarence Murray (Jr., Birdsboro, Pa.), the day one leader in the decathlon, went on to win the event. He clocked a 4:42.56 in the 1,500 to unseat Jim Swiech of Roberts Wesleyan, who had taken the lead with a pole vault of 16-0. Murray's final score was 6,187. 

The Liberty men's team won a trio of throwing events on the day. Jon Hart (Jr., Wyomissing, Pa.) uncorked a throw of 196-3 to take first in the hammer. Brandon Hoskins (Jr., Garden City, Texas) came in first in the javelin, tossing the implement 179-4. Clendon Henderson (Jr., Meadow, Texas) heaved the discus 167-7 to outdistance the event runner-up by more than 20 feet. Henderson added a runner-up finish in the hammer, earning Men's Field Athlete of the Meet distinction. 

On the women's side, senior Arlene Zelinskas (Dayton, Ohio) was the headliner, taking Women's Field Athlete of the Meet honors. She became the sixth Liberty athlete, and the first woman among them, to qualify for the NCAA East Regional Championships so far this season with a high jump of 5-8.75. Her victorious leap, which marked her personal best outdoors and matched her overall career best, fell just a quarter-inch shy of the facility record. 

Zelinskas additionally earned a pair of second-place finishes on Saturday, covering the 100 hurdles in 13.96 seconds and helping the 4 x 400 relay squad to a 3:49.10 clocking in the day's final event. 

Piper Newby (Jr., Hayden Lake, Idaho), running ahead of the rest of the 3,000-meter steeplechase field by more than a minute, smashed the facility record in the discipline with her final time of 10:52.06. The previous standard of 11:10.01 had stood for nearly five years. 

Lady Flames senior Caitlyn Sutterfield (Sr., Murfreesboro, Tenn.) enjoyed a busy but successful day in the throwing events. She won the discus with a mark of 138-0, was the hammer runner-up in 153-11 and took third in the shot put at 40-11.75. 

Liberty newcomers Lacey Cunningham (Fr., Spring Hill, Kan.) and Kristen Dalton (So., Wanchese, N.C.) went 1-2 in the javelin throw, with Cunningham's 123-11 toss leading the way. 

Not to be outdone by her athletes, Liberty assistant coach Heather Zealand excelled in her first race in two years, placing second in the 5,000 meters with an 18:06.67. 

Earning Women's Track Athlete of the Meet honors was Pittsburgh's Raquel Bender, who won the 100 meters in 12.29 seconds, helped her team win the 4 x 100 relay in 47.19 seconds and took second in the 200 with a time of 24.54. 

Unattached runner Miesha Marzell swept the women's 800 and 1,500-meter titles, eclipsing the facility record in the latter with a stellar 4:25.62 effort. LaShawn Merritt of the Real Deal Track Club, world-ranked in the 400 meters, was another of the day's impressive performers, as he sped to victory in the 100 (10.56) and 200 (20.69). 

The Liberty team will be divided between several venues this coming week. Some athletes will travel to Austin for the Texas Relays, Wednesday through Saturday. Others will attend either the North Carolina A&T Aggie Relays or the Duke ASICS Invitational, both of which are Friday-Saturday competitions.

Men's Decathlon Final Results
1) Clarence Murray, Liberty - 6,187
2) Jim Swiech, Roberts Wesleyan - 6,072
3) Travis Savidge, Pittsburgh - 5,511
4) Joel Beck, Liberty - 5,352
5) Tom Humbert, Roberts Wesleyan - 4,900
6) Michael Keenan, Washington & Lee - 4,037
7) Kareem Ibrahim, Baldwin-Wallace - 3,971
DNF - Daniel Newell, Liberty
DNF - Adam Steinwachs, Unattached
DNF - David Jackson, Unattached
DNF - Steven Price, Baldwin-Wallace

Women's Heptathlon Final Results
1) Meredith Withers, Roanoke - 4,389
2) Kristen Paulsen, Baldwin-Wallace - 4,368
3) Courtney Hartman, Bridgewater - 4,088
4) Jenn Ward, Liberty - 3,709
5) Erinn McMahon, Pittsburgh - 3,664
6) Sammy Mizerak, Bridgewater - 3,618
7) Megan Maleski, Baldwin-Wallace - 3,322
8) Sallie Armstrong, Washington & Lee - 3,175
9) Jennifer Miller, Baldwin-Wallace - 3,168
DNF - Mycaiah Clemons, Pittsburgh
DNF - Sheronica Henton, Liberty