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Liberty Track to Compete in 3 Time Zones on Friday

February 10, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Mariel Finger will compete in the women's pole vault at Friday's Liberty Quad.

Mariel Finger will compete in the women's pole vault at Friday's Liberty Quad.

Liberty Quad Schedule

Liberty Quad Performance List

Liberty Quad Live Results

Samford Invitational Schedule

Samford Invitational Live Results

Husky Classic Schedule

Husky Classic Entry List

Husky Classic Video Streaming ($)

Husky Classic Live Results

Friday will be a busy day for the Liberty track & field program, as Flames and Lady Flames are set to compete in three different time zones. The day's competitions include the 10th annual Liberty Quad, the Samford Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., and the Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash.

The Liberty Quad, which will be the 38th and final college meet the Flames host in 12 seasons of competition at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, will begin Friday at 12:30 p.m. with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles. The one-day event will feature athletes from Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, James Madison, Liberty, Lynchburg College, Montreat, Richmond, Virginia Tech and William & Mary.

Nineteen Flames and Lady Flames will compete in Friday's Samford Invitational, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern with the women's weight throw. The meet will take place at the Birmingham CrossPlex, site of the 2016 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Finally, cross country All-American Ednah Kurgat will open her sophomore track season at the Husky Classic. She is entered in the fastest section of the women's 5K, which will begin Friday at 8:25 p.m. Eastern at Dempsey Indoor.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available for all three meets.

Additionally, Flotrack will provide live video streaming coverage of the Husky Classic, available with a paid FloPRO subscription.

Liberty Quad Preview
Tolsma Indoor Track Center's Bell Lap
The Liberty Quad will mark the final time the Flames compete at Tolsma Indoor Track Center before moving into their new indoor track & field facility for the 2016-17 season.

Named for Liberty Head Coach Brant Tolsma, the facility has served as the home of Liberty indoor track & field since 2005. The first-ever meet at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center was the Liberty Kickoff, Jan. 28-29, 2005, and the facility was officially dedicated during the On Track Open meet, Jan. 28, 2006.

How High Will They Fly?
The Tolsma Indoor Track Center has seen some impressive pole vault competitions during the last 12 years, as evidenced by the facility records (men – 17-7 and women – 13-8.25).

William & Mary's Elizabeth Powell set the women's pole vault record at the 2015 Liberty Quad, and a strong competition is expected again on Friday. The entry list includes Virginia Tech's Hannah Meador (13-0.25 personal best) and Erinn Schaal (12-6 personal best), Gardner-Webb's Elise Moffatt (12-7.5 personal best, 2015 Big South outdoor champion) and Megan Melton (12-1.5 personal best) and William & Mary's Jackie Meeks (12-1.5 personal best).

Sophomore Mariel Finger headlines the Lady Flames' entrants. She is enjoying a breakthrough season, including a winning vault of 12-5.5 at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational on Jan. 29. Teammate Jessie Glynn, competing unattached, owns a personal best of 13-1.75.

On the men's side, Liberty's Carson Waters (16-2.75) and Ken Ritchey (16-1.75) have both cleared 16 feet already this season. They will face William & Mary's Derek O'Connell, the back-to-back CAA men's pole vault champion who owns a personal best of 17-4.5.

Putting it Out There
Liberty redshirt senior Mychelle Cumings currently ranks No. 39 nationally in the women's shot put, thanks to her mark of 51-5.75 from the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup. On Friday, she will attempt to defend her Liberty Quad women's shot put title from 2015 and improve upon her own meet record (51-3 from 2012).

On Friday, Cumings will be challenged by James Madison's Amber Monroe, a transfer from Miami (Fla.). She was a shot put All-American and threw 56-4.5 during her time with the Hurricanes.

At last weekend's Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, Monroe placed second in the shot put at 53-2.25 and Cumings was third with a 51-5.75 put.

Mapping Out the Multis
Last season, Liberty's Tevan McIntire broke the Liberty Quad heptathlon record with a personal-best score of 5,169, while teammate Zach Davis broke 5,000 for the first time (5,054).

The heptathlon will not be contested at this year's Liberty Quad, but Davis (60 hurdles, long jump, shot put, pole vault), Zach Gilroy (60 hurdles, shot put, pole vault) and Lewis Williams (60, long jump, pole vault) will all focus on shoring up individual events on Friday.

Similarly, Liberty pentathlete Erika Jackson will compete in the women's 60 hurdles, long jump and shot put instead of contesting a full pentathlon. That leaves Riley Brandon as the favorite to defend her Liberty Quad pentathlon title. Lady Flames freshman Kylie Polsgrove will also look to continue her improvement, after going from 3,070 points in her pentathlon debut to 3,250 in pentathlon No. 2.

Samford Invitational Preview
Bound for Birmingham
The reigning Big South Men's Track (Stephen Racanelli – 200, 400, 4 x 400) and Field (Darrel Jones – long jump, triple jump) Athletes of the Week headline Liberty's squad of 19 athletes who will compete in Friday's Samford Invitational.

The other men's athletes who will travel to Birmingham include Aklesso Agama (60, long jump, triple jump), Ryan Davis (200, 60 hurdles, 4 x 400), Cameron Francis (mile), Fred Fulton (shot put, weight throw), Jeff Jacobs (400, 4 x 400), Colin Schultz (800), David Scouten (shot put, weight throw) and Michael Todd (800, 4 x 400).

Meanwhile, nine Lady Flames will make the trip, including Corinn Bedell (200, 400, 4 x 400), Olivia Behymer (400), Erin Edmond (200, 400, 4 x 400), Ansley Gebben (800, 4 x 400), Dasiana Larson (shot put, weight throw), Nicole Leonzo (200, 400, 4 x 400), Delaney McDowell (800), Dana Mercer (60, 200, long jump) and Erin Zappia (high jump).

Keeping Score
Last season, the Lady Flames finished fifth of 15 women's teams and the Flames were seventh of 14 men's squads at the team-scored Samford Invitational.

On Friday, Liberty will square off against Coastal Carolina, two weeks before the 2016 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. Other teams scheduled to compete in Birmingham include Alabama, Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.

Encore, Encore!
Redshirt senior David Scouten will seek a repeat of his success at the 2015 Samford Invitational, where the Michigan native won the men's weight throw title and placed third in the men's shot put.

This season, Scouten ranks No. 3 in the Big South for the men's weight throw (58-5.25) and No. 5 for the men's shot put (49-8.5).

Fast Four-Lappers
Liberty's men's and women's 800-meter runners have been flying this season, led by freshmen Michael Todd and Delaney McDowell.

Todd's 1:52.92 clocking at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup ranks No. 1 in the Big South this season, followed by teammates Colin Schultz (No. 2, 1:53.84), Andrew Crowell (No. 3, 1:54.36) and Bradley Prentice (No. 4, 1:54.86).

Meanwhile, McDowell tops the Big South women's 800 list at 2:13.54, followed closely by teammate Ansley Gebben (No. 2, 2:13.88).

Todd, Schultz, McDowell and Gebben will all race the 800 on Friday. Last season, Liberty's John Sherret showed that the Birmingham CrossPlex track is conducive to fast mid-distance times with a 1:51.44 clocking at this meet.

Husky Classic Preview
Keeping Up with Kurgat
Ednah Kurgat is slated to open her sophomore indoor track & field season by racing in the top section of the women's 5K, Friday at 8:25 p.m. in Seattle. This will mark her first competition since her 12th-place finish at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, Nov. 21 in Louisville, Ky.

Kurgat will look to improve upon her own Liberty and Big South women's indoor 5K record time of 16:28.29. She will also hope to qualify for the 2016 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. Last season, a time of 16:02.54 or faster was required to qualify for the NCAA national meet.

Lady Flames distance runners have found success at the Husky Classic in recent years, taking advantage of Dempsey Indoor's 307-meter oval. Jennifer Klugh broke the existing Liberty and Big South women's 5K records with her time of 16:56.14 at the 2011 Husky Classic. Meanwhile, Jacy Christiansen's indoor 5K best of 17:00.08 came at the 2014 Husky Classic.

Kurgat should have plenty of competition on Friday, including two runners who finished ahead of her at the 2015 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships (Boise State's Brenna Peloquin – 9th place and Colorado's Erin Clark – 11th place).

Tennessee's Chelsea Blaase placed fourth in the 5K at the 2015 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, while Oregon's duo of Molly Grabill and Waverly Neer placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 10K at the 2015 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Former Oregon Duck Mattie Suver, now sponsored by Asics, could be the pre-race favorite. She is the reigning USATF national champion for women's cross country and boasts a 10K personal best of 31:54.

Last season, six women ran sub-16:00 times in the Husky Classic 5K, and the race's top seven collegiate finishers all went on to compete at the 2015 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Big South's Best
Two weeks before the 2016 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships take place in Blacksburg, Va., Liberty athletes rank atop the Big South performance list in numerous events.

On the men's side, Jovaine Atkinson (60 hurdles – 8.25), Zach Davis (heptathlon – converted score of 5,185), Cameron Francis (3K – 8:30.37), Darrel Jones (long jump – 24-3.5 and triple jump – 49-5.75), Azaria Kirwa (5K – 14:55.21), Stephen Racanelli (400 – 48.04), Michael Todd (800 – 1:52.92) and Carson Waters (pole vault – 16-2.75) each rank first in the conference. Liberty also owns the conference's fastest 4 x 400 relay time, 3:17.21.

In women's events, Mychelle Cumings (shot put – 51-5.75), Erin Edmond (200 – converted time of 24.78 and 400 – 55.52), Erika Jackson (pentathlon – converted score of 3,595), Delaney McDowell (800 – 2:13.54), Dana Mercer (long jump – 18-11.25) and Erin Zappia (high jump – 5-7) lead their respective disciplines. The Lady Flames also rank No. 1 in the 4 x 400 relay, with a time of 3:51.19.