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Liberty Track Set for Final Big South Tune-ups

February 11, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Ken Ritchey, coming off of a personal-best 15-11.25 pole vault clearance at Penn State, is one of the event's top entrants at the Liberty Quad on Friday.

Ken Ritchey, coming off of a personal-best 15-11.25 pole vault clearance at Penn State, is one of the event's top entrants at the Liberty Quad on Friday.

Liberty Quad Time Schedule

Liberty Quad Performance List

Liberty Quad Live Results

Samford Invitational Schedule

Samford Invitational Live Results

Two weeks before the 2015 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, Liberty will split its team between two different meets this weekend. The Flames and Lady Flames will host their third and final home meet of the season, the Liberty Quad, Friday and Saturday at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center. Meanwhile, some of their teammates will travel to Birmingham, Ala., for Friday's team-scored Samford Invitational.

Most of the Liberty Quad events will take place on Friday, beginning with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles at 12:30 p.m. The meet will wrap up with the final three heptathlon events on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m.

The one-day Samford Invitational will get started Friday morning at 10 a.m. Eastern with the women's weight throw. The meet will be contested at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available throughout both days of the Liberty Quad and for the Samford Invitational as well.

Liberty Quad Preview
A Look at the Field

Liberty will compete against athletes from Gardner-Webb, James Madison, UNCG, VMI and William & Mary at the Liberty Quad, as well as a few individuals.

Spencer Adams, a former All-American at Clemson, is entered in the men's 60-meter hurdles. He owns a personal best of 7.59 seconds in the event, which could put the facility record in jeopardy. Anwar Moore clocked a 60 hurdles time of 7.66 at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center on Jan. 28, 2006.

Mapping Out the Multis
The pentathlon will be the first event to get going at the Liberty Quad, and it will feature some of the Big South's best multi-event athletes. Gardner-Webb's Kristen Hurley won back-to-back Big South pentathlon crowns in 2012 and 2013 before redshirting the 2014 season. In her absence, Liberty's Riley Brandon and Erika Jackson finished 1-2 in the 2014 Big South pentathlon competition.

Hurley, Brandon and Jackson are all entered in the Liberty Quad pentathlon, along with Lady Flame Audrey Bamford, who is redshirting this season. Bamford finished first in the pentathlon at the 2014 Liberty Quad with a meet-record score of 3,609 points.

Meanwhile, the Liberty Quad heptathlon will feature the top four finishers from the 2014 Big South heptathlon, including champion Quincy Murphy of VMI, runner-up Tevan McIntire of Liberty, third-place Zach Gilroy of Liberty and fourth-place Zach Davis of Liberty.

Murphy is currently ranked first on the Southern Conference heptathlon list with 5,074 points. Davis sits second in the Big South this year at 4,757 points.

How High Can You Fly?
The men's (Kolby Shepherd's 16-8.75 from 2011) and women's pole vault (Rachel Houseknecht's 12-5.5 from 2012) meet records could both be challenged on Friday.

William & Mary's Derek O'Connell is the defending CAA men's pole vault champion and boasts a personal best of 16-11.5. Liberty's duo of Ken Ritchey (15-11.25) and Carson Waters (15-9) have both achieved personal-best clearances this season, as has VMI's Grant Holmes (15-5.75).

The women's pole vault field features the William & Mary duo of Elizabeth Powell (13-3.5 personal best) and Elizabeth Crafford (12-7.5). Liberty freshman Audrey Rabe will be returning to action for the first time since opening her career with an 11-11.75 clearance and victory at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational in December. Meanwhile, Gardner-Webb's Megan Melton has cleared 11-5.75 in 2015.

Samford Invitational Preview
A Look at the Field

Liberty will go head-to-head with Big South rival Coastal Carolina at the Samford Invitational, while also facing strong competition from Georgia Tech, Charlotte, Southern Miss and others.

Checking Out the CrossPlex
Friday's meet will mark Liberty's first visit to the Birmingham CrossPlex since the facility opened in 2011. The 200-meter hydraulically banked track will play host to this year's Southland, SWAC, Sun Belt, Conference USA and Southern Conference Championships, as well as the 2015 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Kickin' It with Kurgat
In just her second meet as a Lady Flame, freshman Ednah Kurgat shattered the Liberty and Big South indoor women's 5K records with her winning time of 16:28.29 at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup. She currently ranks 17th nationally and third among freshmen for the event and earned her second Big South Women's Indoor Track Athlete of the Week honor on Wednesday.

This week, Kurgat will make her mile debut in Birmingham. Among her competitors will be Coastal Carolina sophomore Aynslee Van Graan, who tops the Big South performance list at 4:53.18.

Other Liberty-Coastal Carolina Clashes
Liberty and Coastal Carolina are expected to be the top two contenders for the women's team title at the 2015 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. Some of the top Lady Flames and Chanticleers will square off on Friday, in an early conference preview of sorts.

Liberty's Jacy Christiansen and Coastal Carolina's Letitia Saayman, who have waged numerous battles in the distance events over the years, are both entered in the women's 3K. The Lady Flames and Chanticleers are each listed in the fastest heat of the 4 x 400 relay, along with Georgia Tech. Additionally, the 2014 Big South indoor (Coastal Carolina's Amirah Al-Bayinnah) and outdoor (Liberty's Janae Jones) women's triple jump champions will meet on Friday.

Scouten Steps Up
Liberty redshirt junior Fred Fulton, who won the 2014 Big South indoor men's shot put title and placed second in the weight throw, is redshirting the 2014-15 indoor campaign. In his absence, teammate and classmate David Scouten has stepped up to fill the void. Scouten currently ranks first in the Big South in both the men's shot put (52-6) and weight throw (58-10.25).

Scouten, who was tabbed Big South Men's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week on Wednesday, could score big points for the Flames on Friday. The Michigan native is seeded first in the weight throw and second in the shot put.

Big South's Best
With the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships rapidly approaching, Liberty athletes rank No. 1 in the conference in numerous events.

On the men's side, the Flames' Big South leaders include Stephen Racanelli (200, 21.73 and 400, 49.08), John Sherret (800, 1:53.64), Zach Davis (high jump, 6-8.25), Aklesso Agama (long jump, 22-11.75), Darrel Jones (triple jump, 48-9.5) and David Scouten (shot put, 52-6 and weight throw, 58-10.25).

Lady Flames leading the conference in their respective events include Abigail Flower (60, 7.61 and 200, 24.41), Ednah Kurgat (5K, 16:28.29), Erin Zappia (high jump, 5-7) and Riley Brandon (pentathlon, adjusted score of 3,554).