Stephen Racanelli will race at High Point for the first time since winning the Big South men's 400 dash title there last season.
Meet Information High Point Weather Three and a half weeks before the 2016 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Liberty will square off against two of its top conference rivals, Coastal Carolina and High Point. The Flames, Chanticleers and Panthers will compete in the team-scored Big South Triangular, Friday afternoon at Vert Stadium in High Point, N.C.
The throwing events will begin at 2 p.m. with the men's shot put and women's javelin. Jumping events will get going with the men's long jump, women's long jump, women's high jump and women's pole vault at 4 p.m. The women's steeplechase will begin the day's running events at 5 p.m.
Weather Report Friday's weather in High Point is supposed to be pleasant for track & field, with a high temperature in the mid 60s and partly cloudy skies.
Unique Format Liberty's first team-scored meet of the 2016 outdoor track & field season will follow NCAA rules for a triangular meet. Each team's top two finishers will score in individual events, and one relay team per school will score in relays. Individual events will be scored 7-5-4-3-2-1 and relays will be scored 7-5-3.
Athletes competing in the horizontal jumps and all throwing events will be given four attempts, and no finals will be contested in those events. All regular track & field events will be contested except for the heptathlon/decathlon, 5K and 10K. A 3K race will take the place of the 5K in the meet schedule.
Welcome Back Five Liberty athletes will compete at Vert Stadium for the first time since winning Big South event titles there last season. These include Mychelle Cumings (women's shot put), Ryan Davis (men's 400 hurdles), Steve Feister (men's javelin), Fred Fulton (men's shot put and discus) and Stephen Racanelli (men's 400).
Potential Conference Preview Numerous events on Friday will feature Liberty athletes matching up with some of their top conference foes.
Men's 400: Liberty's Stephen Racanelli (48.22 season best) is the reigning Big South indoor and outdoor men's 400 champion but is currently seeded second in the Big South behind Coastal Carolina freshman Braylon Wilkerson (47.98). The only other three Big South athletes who have clocked sub-49.00 400s this season hail from Coastal Carolina (Deion Wellington – 48.76) and Liberty (Jeff Jacobs – 48.93 and Spencer Jamison – 48.96).
Men's 800: This race will feature the defending Big South indoor (Liberty's Michael Todd) and outdoor (High Point's Paul O'Donoghue) conference champions at 800 meters. Todd tops the 2016 Big South performance list at 1:52.10, followed by teammates Bradley Prentice (1:53.75) and Andrew Crowell (1:54.87) and Coastal Carolina's Charles Bascom (1:55.29).
Women's 800: Liberty's Delaney McDowell and Ansley Gebben finished 1-2 in the Big South indoor women's 800 final but have yet to contest the event outdoors this season. Three of the Big South runners who have run faster than 2:15 this year will be on hand Friday, including Aynslee Van Graan (2:13.33 season best) and Imani Boatwright (2:14.35) of Coastal Carolina and Cozette Collin (2:13.63) of High Point.
Men's 1,500: The men's 1,500 will feature four of the top six runners in the Big South this season, including Liberty's duo of Cameron Francis (3:55.26 season best) and Luke Jelen (3:57.73) and High Point's Alejandro Juan Torres (3:58.57) and Vinny Todaro (4:00.30). Todaro is the defending Big South champion in this event and also claimed the 2016 Big South indoor mile title.
Women's 1,500: Coastal Carolina's Aynslee Van Graan is far and away the Big South leader in this event at 4:22.11. Some of her top conference competitors include her sister and teammate, Kyla Van Graan (4:37.23), High Point's Natalia Ocasio (4:35.83) and Liberty's pair of Hannah Scherlacher (4:38.92) and Torree Scull (4:41.71).
Men's 110 Hurdles: The top men's 110 hurdlers in the Big South this season hail from Coastal Carolina (Desmond Wallace, Kevondre Hunt, Dee Jennings, Jerome Coaxum and Nicholas Seabright), Liberty (Ryan Davis and Blake Kohring) and High Point (Dennis Crawford). Wallace is the defending conference champion and top seed at 13.83, Crawford was the 2014 Big South champion and Davis took the men's 60 hurdles conference title indoors.
Men's 400 Hurdles: Liberty junior Ryan Davis is the two-time defending Big South men's 400 hurdles champion, but his season-best time of 52.43 is sandwiched between Coastal Carolina sophomores Jerome Coaxum (52.30) and Terrill Stanley (52.79). The next three names on this year's Big South list include Coastal Carolina's Dee Jennings (54.61) and Liberty's Blake Kohring (54.88) and Michael Fairfax (55.00).
Women's Pole Vault: The top five Big South women's pole vaulters in 2016 include the High Point pair of Jill Marois (12-11.75) and Alyssa Palenchar (12-6), indoor conference champion Emma Kroger of Coastal Carolina (12-5.5) and Liberty's Mariel Finger (11-6.25) and Rachael Fasana (11-5.75).
Men's Shot Put: Reigning Big South indoor and outdoor men's shot put champion Fred Fulton of Liberty (53-7.75 season best) will go head to head with his closest competitor on this year's performance list, Coastal Carolina's Zach Bolton (53-7).
Men's Discus: The only three Big South men's throwers to exceed 160 feet in the discus this season will be competing on Friday, including Liberty's Fred Fulton (173-5), Coastal Carolina's Devontaye Edwards (173-3) and Liberty's David Scouten (166-6). Fulton won the 2015 Big South men's discus competition, following Scouten's victory the previous year.
Women's Discus: High Point newcomer Makenzi Holmes-Digiovine (157-10) leads the Big South this season, followed by Liberty's Mychelle Cumings (152-6) and Holly Arey (151-11) and Coastal Carolina's Caroline Pallini (139-5).
Men's Hammer: Ryan Minor of Coastal Carolina has posted the Big South's best men's hammer mark this season at 199-8. His two closest competitors are Flames Fred Fulton (181-5) and David Scouten (175-2).
Men's Javelin: The men's javelin could be one of the top events to watch at this year's Big South meet, as five conference athletes have gone over 200 feet this season. All five could be competing on Friday, including Liberty's Steve Feister (234-7) and Denzel Pratt (220-1), High Point's Christian Spaulding (225-7) and Drew Francoeur (207-3) and Coastal Carolina's Robert Castellani (208-5).
Women's Javelin: The last time High Point's Christine Rickert threw the javelin at home, she reached a conference-record 172-2. Liberty's Brenna Smith is coming off of a season-best 139-8 heave last weekend, while Coastal Carolina's Chloe White has topped out at 138-5 this year.
Big South's Best At this stage of the 2016 outdoor season, Liberty tops the Big South Conference performance list in the following events:
Women's 400 – Erin Edmond – 54.57 Women's Shot Put – Mychelle Cumings – 48-7.5 Women's Heptathlon – Erika Jackson – 4,820 Men's 800 – Michael Todd – 1:52.10 Men's 1,500 – Cameron Francis – 3:55.26 (Converted from 4:14.08 mile) Men's Shot Put – Fred Fulton – 53-7.75 Men's Discus – Fred Fulton – 173-5 Men's Javelin – Steve Feister – 234-7
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