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Pratt, Ritchey Victorious at Winthrop Invitational

March 26, 2016  Rock Hill, S.C.  RSS
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Ken Ritchey won the Winthrop Invitational men's pole vault competition on Saturday, thanks to a 16-2.75 clearance.

Ken Ritchey won the Winthrop Invitational men's pole vault competition on Saturday, thanks to a 16-2.75 clearance.

Liberty freshman Denzel Pratt (men's javelin) and senior Ken Ritchey (men's pole vault) each posted victories on the final day of the Winthrop Invitational, Saturday at the Irwin Belk Track Complex.

Men's Day Two Recap
The men's javelin has been arguably Liberty's strongest event through the early stages of the 2016 outdoor season, and Saturday's results did nothing to refute that claim. Pratt (212-2) and reigning Big South Men's Field Athlete of the Week Steve Feister (211-11) finished first and second, respectively, with only one other athlete coming within 50 feet of the Liberty duo. For Pratt, it was his second victory of his young collegiate career, following his triumph at the Coastal Carolina Invitational.

Ritchey cleared 16-2.75 to win the men's pole vault competition and did not record a miss until he took attempts at 16-9.5 with the victory already in hand. Alex Geniesse made it over in an outdoor personal-best 15-11 for second place, while Carson Waters finished fourth at 15-7.

Liberty's mid-distance depth was on display, as the Flames captured three of the top six spots in the men's 800 and two of the top four positions in the men's 1,500.

Freshman Michael Todd's outdoor 800 debut nearly resulted in a victory, but he was edged at the finish line by John Carroll's Will Cameron. Both athletes were clocked in 1:52.10, with the effort setting a new personal best for Todd.

Fellow freshman Bradley Prentice won his 800 heat and placed fourth overall in a personal-best time of 1:53.75. Andrew Crowell's outdoor-best time of 1:54.87 was good for sixth place.

In the developmental sections of the 800, Andrew Garrett came in second, thanks to his personal-best time of 1:56.69.

Luke Jelen (3:57.73) was the men's 1,500 runner-up, while Jacob Onifer (4:00.82) crossed the line in fourth place. Both Flames established new personal bests in the process.

The Flames' 4 x 100 quartet of Ryan Davis, Stephen Racanelli, Marquis Gilchrist and Greg Edwards clocked a season-best time of 41.71 for second place.

Davis also notched top-three finishes in each of his individual events, including second place in the 110 hurdles (season-best 14.70) and third place in his first 400 hurdles effort of the season (53.30).

Blake Kohring came in seventh in both hurdles races, clocking 17.39 for the 110 hurdles and a personal-best 54.88 in the 400 hurdles. Teammate Michael Fairfax's season-best 55.64 effort placed ninth in the 400 hurdles.

David Scouten threw the discus 159-11 for third place, while Stephen Racanelli came in eighth in the 400 with a time of 48.46.

Women's Day Two Recap
The Lady Flames placed inside the top three in both of Saturday's relay races, including second in the 4 x 400 and third in the 4 x 100. The team of Corinn Bedell, Bailey Reeves, Olivia Behymer and Nicole Leonzo posted a 4 x 400 time of 3:50.86, while Leonzo, Kate Flower, Dana Mercer and Erin Edmond teamed up for a season-best 4 x 100 time of 47.03.

Edmond recorded a third-place finish in the 400 final (54.98), followed by Leonzo in sixth (season-best 56.16) and Behymer in seventh (56.50).

Holly Arey's personal-best discus mark of 147-1 highlighted the Lady Flames' throwing event results. The sophomore placed second in the event and climbed into fifth place in program history. Mychelle Cumings followed closely in third place at 144-1.

Brenna Smith (120-11), Riley Brandon (season-best 118-2) and Arey (111-7) placed third, fourth and ninth, respectively, in the women's javelin competition.

Alexis Taylor ran a big personal best (4:42.88) for fourth place in the women's 1,500, an event which was won by her coach, Rebekah Ricksecker, in 4:36.93. Taylor's best-ever 1,500 time prior to Saturday stood at 4:54.26.

Freshman Delaney McDowell made a successful debut at the 1,500-meter distance, clocking 4:53.55 to win the developmental section of the event by more than 17 seconds.

Classmate Kylie Polsgrove placed fourth in the women's 100 hurdles final, recording a time of 14.84 despite a significant headwind.

Mary Witmer's 400 hurdles time of 1:02.27 placed her fifth. Meanwhile, teammate Allison Corbin cut nearly three seconds off her previous best, clocking 1:05.31 for eighth place.

In the finals of the short sprints, Flower came in sixth at 100 meters (12.31), while Leonzo was seventh in the 200 (season-best 25.05).

Liberty will divide its team between a pair of meets next week. A group of Flames and Lady Flames will head to Austin, Texas for the 89th Nike Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, Wednesday through Saturday at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Other Liberty athletes will compete in the VertKlasse Meeting, slated for Friday and Saturday at Vert Stadium in High Point, N.C.