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Liberty Kickoff Slated for Thursday and Friday

December 2, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty will open its 2015-16 indoor track & field season Thursday and Friday, playing host to the Liberty Kickoff at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center.

The low-key meet, which will feature competitors from Bridgewater, Charlotte, Liberty (women only), Lynchburg, Montreat, NC State, Randolph, Richard Bland and Washington & Lee, will begin Thursday at 1:30 p.m. with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles. Friday's action will get started at 9;30 a.m. with the women's triple jump and men's long jump.

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.

Lady Flames Only
The Liberty women's indoor track & field team will begin its 2015-16 season at the Liberty Kickoff. The men's indoor track & field squad will not officially get its season started until the Hokie Invitational (Jan. 22-23), although a number of Flames will compete unattached on Thursday and Friday.

Beginning of the End
The Liberty Kickoff will begin the final season of competition at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, which opened in 2005.

Liberty is scheduled to move into a new 130,000-square-foot indoor track & field facility with a 6-lane hydraulically banked 200-meter oval next season.

Early Start
The Liberty Kickoff will be the second collegiate indoor track & field meet to begin this season, following Tuesday's Navy Lid-Lifter in Annapolis, Md.

Women's Events to Watch
The meet will begin with one of the Lady Flames' strongest and deepest events, the pentathlon. Two-time defending Big South pentathlon champion Riley Brandon, who is out of indoor eligibility, will compete unattached alongside teammates Audrey Bamford and Erika Jackson. Bamford is a two-time All-Big South pentathlete, while Jackson is the reigning Big South heptathlon champion.

Thursday's action will also feature the weight throw. NC State senior Nicole Chavis, who has placed sixth in the women's weight at each of the last two NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, headlines the field.

The Lady Flames lost defending Big South women's 60 and 200 champion Abigail Flower to graduation. However, they will still enter 10 competitors in the 60 dash on Friday, paced by 2014 Big South women's 60 dash titlist Oasis Hernandez. Flower's twin sister Kate will also compete, along with touted Lady Flame newcomers Erin Edmond and Nicole Leonzo.

Six-time Big South women's shot put champion Mychelle Cumings will begin her final season of competition on Friday, after she redshirted the 2014-15 indoor campaign for the Lady Flames.

Men's Events to Watch
Liberty's Zach Davis, coming off of a year which saw him break the 5,000-point barrier in the heptathlon and the 7,000-point milestone in the decathlon, will face some strong competition in the heptathlon at the Liberty Kickoff. Charlotte freshman Keon Howe won North Carolina high school state titles in the high jump and pole vault last season. Meanwhile, NC State's Grant Rivers placed 10th in the ACC heptathlon final with 4,873 points a year ago.

Charlotte's K'Vonte Scott placed 11th in the NCAA Division I decathlon final in 2015. He is entered in four Liberty Kickoff events, including the pole vault where he will square off against the Flames' deep vaulting crew. Flames senior Ken Ritchey will look to build from his strong junior season, which saw him reach 16-6.75 and capture the Big South men's outdoor pole vault crown.

Spencer Jamison, who has been hindered by injuries during his first two years at Liberty, will finally get to make his collegiate debut on Friday in the men's 500. He will face teammate Stephen Racanelli, who swept the Big South indoor and outdoor men's 400 dash championships in 2015.

The Flames' Fred Fulton was the 2014 Big South men's weight throw runner-up, before redshirting in 2015. Teammate David Scouten won the 2015 Big South men's weight throw championship in his absence. They will both compete against NC State's Josh Davis on Friday. Davis placed 10th in the ACC men's weight throw final last season.

Fresh Faces
Ten Lady Flames are scheduled to make their debut in a Liberty uniform at the Liberty Kickoff, including Jessica Eaton (800), Erin Edmond (60, 200), Rachael Fasana (pole vault), Nicole Leonzo (60, 200), Maggie McDermott (400), Delaney McDowell (1,000), Dominique Nelson (60, long jump, triple jump), Catherine Oyarzun (weight), Kylie Polsgrove (pentathlon) and Bailey Reeves (60, 200).

Long Layoff
Following the Liberty Kickoff, the Flames and Lady Flames will not return to action until the Hokie Invitational, set for Jan. 22 and 23, 2016 in Blacksburg, Va. The meet will enable Liberty to preview Rector Field House, the venue for the 2016 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships.