Liberty opened the 2014 Virginia Tech Invitational against a strong field on Thursday at Christiansburg Aquatic Center.
The Lady Flames currently sit in seventh place while competing against three teams that appeared in the latest CollegeSwimming.com Power Rankings. Host Virginia Tech leads the standings with 420 points, while Alabama holds a narrow one-point lead (200-199) over SEC foe South Carolina for second place. Villanova (146 points) and William & Mary (122) round out the top five. Ohio is sixth with 72 points, while Liberty's 48 points rank seventh.
The meet features a similar event program as the 2015 CCSA Swimming and Diving Championships. However, unlike the conference championships, the Hokie Fall Invitational allows for unlimited entries, leading to multiple relays and extra individuals scoring per school.
Senior Cori Gary earned a B Final swim in the 50 free, swimming 23.82 in preliminary heats. She then tied for 12th place overall with a season-best 23.70 during the B Final. Junior Kendall Hough qualified for the 50 free consolation final in 23.90, before tying for 23rd overall in 24.00.
Liberty's A 200 freestyle relay, consisting of Hough, freshman Ashlee Sall, Gary and Meghan Babcock, clocked a 1:35.57 for a ninth-place showing.
Babcock tied for 28th in the 50 free, swimming 24.11. Sall swam 24.65 for 40th place, while senior Chloe Thomas finished in a tie for 42nd with a 24.76 clocking. Freshmen Kendall Hart (24.78 – 44th), Chelsea Pond (24.81 – 45th), Rachel Rippey (25.36 – 56th), Danielle Boother (25.38 – 57th) and Sydney Archuleta (26.24 – 61st) all competed in the 50 free as well.
The Liberty A 400 medley relay placed 18th, as Hough, freshman Prudence Rooker, Hart and Gary clocked a season-best time of 3:54.00.
Junior Hannah Wakeley placed 40th in the 500 free with a season-best 5:11.38. Senior Emily Duff took 42nd in 5:11.86, while junior Kristin VanDeventer went 5:12.77 for 43rd place. Freshman Sarah Browning's 5:16.08 clocking placed 47th, while Rachel Hoeve (5:25.84) finished in 52nd place.
Rooker clocked Liberty's best 200 individual medley time of the day, claiming 38th place in 2:09.52. Freshman Rachel Wasko's season-best 2:12.71 earned her 49th place. Junior Ranndi Grubbs touched the wall in 2:14.02 for 52nd, while Hart finished one spot behind Grubbs with a 2:14.04 showing. Junior Natalie Beale (2:14.69) place 55th, one spot ahead of Boothe (2:15.00). Senior Jennifer Garzinski's 2:19.43 placed 63rd, while sophomore Victoria Tschoke placed 64th in 2:22.26.
The Lady Flames return to the Christiansburg Aquatic Center tomorrow, for day two of the Hokie Fall Invitational. Tomorrow's program opens at 10 a.m., with prelims of the 400 individual medley. Evening finals will begin at 6 p.m., and day two concludes with the 800 free relay finals.