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Liberty Open Set for Friday and Saturday

January 14, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Trevor Hope (left) and Jacob Onifer (right) are both expected to be part of Liberty's men's 4 x 800 relay quartet on Friday at the Liberty Open.
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The Liberty men's indoor track & field team will open its 2014-15 season and the Lady Flames will resume their campaign at the 10th annual Liberty Open, Friday and Saturday at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center.

The meet will begin Friday at 2 p.m. with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles. Saturday's opening event will be the men's weight throw at 9 a.m. Athletes from 16 different colleges are entered in the meet, including Elon, Hampton, James Madison, VCU and Winthrop.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available during both days of competition, by clicking the appropriate links on the Liberty track & field schedule/results page.

Welcome Back
The Lady Flames will return to action following a six-week layoff from competition. Liberty opened the 2014-15 season at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, Dec. 3-4 at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center.

The Flames and Lady Flames are now just six weeks away from the 2015 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, set for Feb. 26-27 at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Beware of Flying Objects!
Redshirt senior Jocelyn Williams has captured back-to-back women's weight throw titles at the Liberty Open and is the reigning Big South champion in the event. But she expects to have her hands full on Friday, squaring off against Winthrop sophomore Marthaline Cooper.

Williams and Cooper finished first and second, respectively, at the 2014 Big South meet. However, it is Cooper who tops the Big South weight throw list and is tied for No. 15 nationally early this season at 62-11.5. Williams ranks second in the conference and No. 27 in the nation at 60-9.5.

The meet record of 63-0.25 has stood since 2007, when it was established by Virginia Tech's Kristen Callan. It could come under attack when the weight starts flying Friday at 5:30 p.m. though.

Baton Battles
Liberty will look for fast times in the men's and women's 4 x 800 relays, starting Friday at 5 p.m. On the men's side, three-fourths of the Flames' quartet which clocked a program-record time of 7:29.15 at the 2014 IC4A meet is slated to compete, including Jacob Onifer, Trevor Hope and John Sherret. They will be joined by freshman Andrew Crowell, who clocked a time of 1:54.93 in high school. The facility and meet record of 7:49.34, set by Appalachian State in 2010, could be challenged.

The Lady Flames are expected to field a quartet of Riley Brandon, Megan Versen, Christieanna Apon and Jacy Christiansen. They could make a run at the facility record (9:21.53), established by Blacksburg High School in 2010.

Fast Flower
Senior Abigail Flower was named the Big South Women's Indoor Track Athlete of the Week on Dec. 11, after winning the 200 and finishing second in the 60 at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational. She currently tops the Big South performance list in the women's 60 and 200.

Flower is slated to compete in both the 60 and 200-meter dash events on Saturday.

Chasing Christiansen
Senior Jacy Christiansen is set to make her 2014-15 indoor track & field season debut this weekend, on the heels of a stellar senior cross country season. She became just the third Lady Flame ever to win the Big South women's cross country individual title, joining Heather Sagan and Jennifer Klugh in that exclusive club.

Christiansen will keep busy at the Liberty Open, as she is entered in the 800, mile and 4 x 800 relay. Last season, she placed third in a competitive women's mile field at this meet.

Counting the Qualifiers
Five Lady Flames qualified for the ECAC meet at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, including Riley Brandon (pentathlon), Abigail Flower (60), Audrey Rabe (pole vault), Jocelyn Williams (weight throw) and Erin Zappia (high jump).

Big South's Best
At this early stage of the 2014-15 indoor season, Lady Flames rank No. 1 in the Big South in the 60 (Abigail Flower, 7.67), 200 (Abigail Flower, converted time of 25.14), 800 (Ansley Gebben, converted time of 2:21.15), 4 x 400 relay (converted time of 4:03.66), high jump (Erin Zappia, 5-7), pole vault (Audrey Rabe, 11-11.75), triple jump (Janae Jones, 37-11.25) and pentathlon (Riley Brandon, converted score of 3,554).

Fresh Faces
The Lady Flames added three student-athletes to the roster at the start of the spring 2015 semester, including freshman pole vaulter Rachael Fasana and freshman distance runners Edna Kurgat and Macey Schweikert.

Fasana, who transferred from UNCW, pole vaulted 11-9 at Lake Braddock Secondary High School. Kurgat hails from Eldoret, Kenya, while Schweikert comes to Liberty from Elon. Schweikert clocked times of 2:11.47 in the 800, 4:31.55 in the 1,500, 4:50.45 in the mile and 10:45.27 in the 3,200 during her time at James Robinson High School.

None of the three new Lady Flames is currently entered in the Liberty Open.