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Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational to Begin Friday

January 27, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The second annual Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational will be held at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, Friday and Saturday.

The second annual Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational will be held at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, Friday and Saturday.

Meet Information

Meet Schedule

Performance List

Live Results

After a lengthy layoff from competition, the Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field teams will return to action at the second annual Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, Friday and Saturday at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center.

The meet, which will feature athletes from 20 colleges and universities, will get started Friday at 2 p.m. with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles. The men's weight throw will begin Saturday's slate of events at 9 a.m.

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.

Remembering Darius
Darius Dixon, a promising freshman sprinter from Western Branch High School in Chesapeake, Va., opened his Liberty track & field career by competing in the 200 and 400-meter dash events at the Liberty Kickoff on Dec. 5, 2013. Two days later, he was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 18.

In his memory, Liberty will hold a Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational meet for the second straight year. The inaugural Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational was contested on Dec. 3-4, 2014 at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center.

Back in Action
Due to the cancellation of last weekend's Hokie Invitational, the Liberty women's indoor track & field team will be competing for the first time in eight weeks. Meanwhile, the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational will mark the 2016 season opener for the men's indoor track & field squad.

The Flames and Lady Flames will only have three weekends of competition, prior to the 2016 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, which are slated for Feb. 26-27 in Blacksburg, Va.

Olympic Year
The Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational will mark Liberty's first home meet of the Olympic year, 2016. Appropriately, the meet is expected to feature several past Olympians.

Samuel Francis, who ran the 100 for Qatar at the 2008 Olympics, is entered in the men's 60 and 4 x 400 relay.

Samyr Laine, who placed 11th in the men's triple jump for Haiti at the 2012 Olympics, is slated to triple jump on Saturday.

Ayanna Alexander, who triple jumped for Trinidad and Tobago at the 2012 Olympics, is entered in the women's long jump and triple jump.

Men's Events to Watch
Darius Dixon's specialty event, the 400-meter dash, promises a fierce head-to-head battle between Liberty's Stephen Racanelli and former George Mason standout Ja-Vell Bullard. Racanelli swept the Big South men's indoor and outdoor 400 titles in 2015.

The Liberty Kickoff featured an entertaining men's mile clash, as Liberty's Cameron Francis edged local high schooler Micah Pratt by 0.18 seconds, a week before Pratt raced in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. Francis and Pratt will rematch on Saturday and will be joined by Liberty's Sam Hibbs, Jeremy Miekley, Jacob Onifer and Louis Paone (defending champion), as well as NCAA Division III cross country All-American Harrison Toney of Roanoke College.

After a breakthrough sophomore season which saw him eclipse 5,000 points in the heptathlon and 7,000 points in the decathlon, Liberty's Zach Davis will compete in his first heptathlon as a junior this weekend. Davis, the defending meet champion, will be challenged by Richard Roethel, who was a multi-time NCAA Division III national champion in the heptathlon and decathlon for Christopher Newport.

Liberty's Ken Ritchey and Carson Waters each pole vaulted 15-11 off of short approaches at the Liberty Kickoff. Both are looking to soar 16 feet or higher Saturday afternoon.

Women's Events to Watch
The Lady Flames' quartet of Torree Scull (2:14.80 PR), Delaney McDowell (2:13.96 PR), Alexis Taylor (2:15.92 PR) and Ansley Gebben (2:22.72 PR) could make a run at the women's 4 x 800 facility record of 9:21.53 on Friday.

Liberty's Erika Jackson scored a personal-best 3,574 points to win the Liberty Kickoff pentathlon in a semi-upset over teammate Riley Brandon, competing unattached. Jackson and Brandon will both compete in the pentathlon again on Friday, along with Elon's Emily Dixon, the CAA's defending heptathlon champion.

In the women's pole vault, four Lady Flames who have gone over 12 feet will go head-to-head, including Jessie Glynn (13-1.75), Audrey Rabe (12-3), Mariel Finger (12-0.5) and Brooke Shelton (12-0.5). Glynn, who won the women's pole vault competition at the Liberty Kickoff, is competing unattached.

The women's triple jump will feature three competitors who have eclipsed the 40-foot barrier during their careers, including Olympian Ayanna Alexander (45-10.75), Liberty's Oasis Hernandez (41-0.5) and the Lady Flames' Janae Jones (41-2.25), who will be competing unattached.

Defending Champions
Fourteen champions from the inaugural Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational will attempt to defend their titles this weekend. These include:

Men's Events
400 – Stephen Racanelli (Liberty)
800 – John Sherret (Liberty Alumnus)
Mile – Louis Paone (Liberty)
60 Hurdles – Brian Fuentes (Lynchburg)
Pole Vault – Alex Geniesse (Liberty)
Heptathlon – Zach Davis (Liberty)

Women's Events
60 – Oasis Hernandez (Liberty)
400 – Corinn Bedell (Liberty)
Long Jump – Dana Mercer (Liberty)
Triple Jump – Janae Jones (Liberty)
High Jump – Erin Zappia (Liberty)
Pole Vault – Audrey Rabe (Liberty)
Shot Put – Mychelle Cumings (Liberty)
Pentathlon – Riley Brandon (Liberty)

Fresh Faces
Numerous athletes will make their Liberty track & field debut this weekend, including men's competitors Greg Edwards (60, 200, 4 x 400), Spencer Jamison (4 x 800), Samson Moore (500, 60 hurdles, 4 x 400), Dean Palmer (Pole Vault), Bradley Prentice (1,000, 4 x 800), Caleb Rider (Pole Vault), Michael Todd (400, 4 x 400, 4 x 800), Nathaniel Williams (60, 200, 4 x 400) and James Zentmeyer (3K, 5K).

Lady Flames competing in a Liberty track & field uniform for the first time will be Aryn Embretson (1,000, 3K), Kammi Kurtz (1,000, Mile), Torree Scull (1,000, 4 x 800) and Anna Van Wyk (1,000, Mile). All four were part of the 2015 Liberty women's cross country team.

Big South's Best
Several Lady Flames rank atop the Big South performance list for their respective events, including Mychelle Cumings (shot put – 48-10.75), Erin Edmond (200 – converted time of 24.78), Erika Jackson (pentathlon – converted score of 3,595) and Erin Zappia (high jump – 5-7).