On the heels of the 2015 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Nick Pierce of the Liberty Flames Sports Network caught up with Liberty Track & Field Head Coach Brant Tolsma to review his men's and women's squads' success this past season.
Team Accomplishments Big South's Best Liberty won three Big South track & field team titles in 2015, including the men's indoor, men's outdoor and women's outdoor championships. Liberty has now swept the Big South men's indoor and outdoor track & field titles for nine consecutive seasons. News and Notes: • The men's indoor track & field team outdistanced runner-up Campbell by 89 points, capturing its 18th straight Big South title.
• Liberty's 235 points were its most at this meet since 2000 and its 89-point margin of victory was its largest since 2008.
• The Flames have won all 18 Big South men's indoor track & field titles ever awarded, marking the longest run of consecutive championships in Big South Conference history in any sport.
• At the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the Flames defeated runner-up Coastal Carolina by 106 points.
• It was Liberty's largest margin of victory at the meet since 2009 and the Flames' 288.5 points were their most since tallying 291.5 points in 2001.
• It marked Liberty's ninth consecutive outdoor team championship and its 20th title in the 22-year history of the meet.
• The Lady Flames edged Coastal Carolina by 11.5 points (210.5-199) for their second Big South outdoor team championship in three years and 14th overall.
Among the ECAC's Elite The Lady Flames backed up their third-place finish at the 2014 ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships with a fifth-place showing in 2015.
News and Notes: • Liberty finished with 43 points, just 10 behind ECAC champion Connecticut.
• Riley Brandon (pentathlon), Abigail Flower (60) and Jocelyn Williams (weight throw) all finished as ECAC runners-up.
Success Against the ACC The Liberty men's squad fared well against ACC opposition during the 2015 outdoor track & field season, defeating Virginia in a dual meet at the Virginia Cup (March 21) and taking down Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and NC State to win the April 10-11 Duke Invitational.
Meanwhile, the Lady Flames finished as the Duke Invitational runners-up to the host Blue Devils, placing ahead of Clemson, North Carolina and NC State.
Individual Achievements What a Year for Williams! Redshirt senior Jocelyn Williams finished off her collegiate career with a bang, placing 16th in the women's hammer to garner second team All-America honors at the 2015 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.
News and Notes: • Williams became the Lady Flames' fourth track & field All-American in NCAA Division I history and second in the hammer (also Melinda Bendik in 2012).
• Williams was Liberty's first NCAA national qualifier since Mychelle Cumings, Ryan Smith and Isaac Wendland competed at the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Awards Aplenty Below is a list of awards and honors Liberty athletes and coaches garnered during the 2015 indoor and outdoor track & field seasons.
Aklesso Agama – Big South Men's Outstanding Field Performer (Indoor), Big South Men's Field Athlete of the Week (March 25)
Riley Brandon – Big South Women's Field Athlete of the Week (March 12)
Jacy Christiansen – Capital One Academic All-District, Big South Women's All-Academic Team (Outdoor)
Mychelle Cumings – Big South Women's Field Athlete of the Week (March 17)
Ryan Davis – Big South Men's Track Athlete of the Week (March 17)
Steve Feister – Capital One Academic All-District, Big South Men's Field Athlete of the Week (April 30)
Abigail Flower – Big South Women's Track Athlete of the Week (Dec. 11, March 12, March 25)
Fred Fulton – Big South Men's Outstanding Field Performer (Outdoor), Big South Men's Field Athlete of the Week (March 17, April 1, April 8)
Jessie Glynn – Big South Women's Field Athlete of the Week (April 30)
Darrel Jones – Big South Men's Field Athlete of the Week (March 12)
Janae Jones – Big South Women's All-Academic Team (Indoor)
Ednah Kurgat – Big South Women's Freshman of the Year (Indoor, Outdoor), Big South Women's Track Athlete of the Week (Jan. 28, Feb. 11), ECAC Division I South Rookie of the Week (March 4)
David Scouten – Big South Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Outdoor), Big South Men's All-Academic Team (Outdoor), Capital One Academic All-District, Big South Men's Field Athlete of the Week (Feb. 11)
John Sherret – Big South Men's All-Academic Team (Indoor), Capital One Academic All-District
Brant Tolsma – Big South Coach of the Year (Men's Indoor, Men's Outdoor, Women's Outdoor)
Jocelyn Williams – USTFCCCA 2nd Team All-America, Big South Women's Field Athlete of the Week (May 7)
Breaking Records Liberty athletes broke four different program records in 2015, all of which were women's events.
Women's Indoor Track & Field 200 – 24.14 – Abigail Flower (March 8) 5K – 16:28.29 – Ednah Kurgat (Feb. 6)
Women's Outdoor Track & Field 400 Hurdles – 59.92 – Mary Witmer (May 16) 4 x 100 Relay – 45.68 – Dana Mercer, Abigail Flower, Olivia Davis, Kate Flower (May 16)
Charting the Champions Liberty won 26 events at the 2015 Big South Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The following is a list of the Flames and Lady Flames' conference champions.
Men's Big South Indoor Aklesso Agama – Long Jump, Triple Jump Stephen Racanelli – 200, 400 David Scouten – Weight Throw Ryan Davis, Jeff Jacobs, John Sherret, Ryan Versen – 4 x 400 Relay
Men's Big South Outdoor Aklesso Agama – Triple Jump Ryan Davis – 400 Hurdles (Second in a row) Steve Feister – Javelin Fred Fulton – Shot Put, Discus Tevan McIntire – Decathlon Stephen Racanelli – 400 Ken Ritchey – Pole Vault Kyle Wheeler – Long Jump
Women's Big South Indoor Riley Brandon – Pentathlon (Second in a row) Abigail Flower – 60, 200 Ednah Kurgat – 3K
Women's Big South Outdoor Mychelle Cumings – Shot Put Abigail Flower – 100, 200 Erika Jackson – Heptathlon Janae Jones – Triple Jump (Second in a row) Jennifer Smith – Discus (Second in a row) Dana Mercer, Abigail Flower, Olivia Davis, Kate Flower – 4 x 100 Relay
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