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Liberty Picked to Sweep Big South Indoor Track Titles

December 1, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Liberty men's indoor track & field team was picked to win its 20th consecutive Big South Conference title.

The Liberty men's indoor track & field team was picked to win its 20th consecutive Big South Conference title.

The Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field teams were both picked to win the 2017 Big South Conference titles, as voted upon by the league's head coaches.

Head Coach Brant Tolsma's men's squad has captured all 19 team titles in the history of the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, marking the longest active conference championship streak in NCAA Division I men's indoor track & field. This year's squad received six of the seven first-place votes and 48 total points for the No. 1 spot in the poll.

The Flames return five conference champions from the 2016 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, including Ryan Davis (60 hurdles), Zach Gilroy (heptathlon), Darrel Jones (triple jump), Stephen Racanelli (200 and 400) and Michael Todd (800). Additionally, Davis, Todd, Jeff Jacobs and Racanelli captured the Flames' second straight Big South 4 x 400 relay crown a year ago.

Campbell garnered the remaining first-place vote and totaled 41 points for second place in the poll, while 2016 runner-up High Point finished third in the voting with 37 points.

Gardner-Webb (fourth place, 24 points), Winthrop (fifth, 22), Charleston Southern (sixth, 16) and UNC Asheville (seventh, 8) round out the men's poll.

On the women's side, Liberty is a unanimous choice to defend its 2016 Big South title, earning all eight first-place votes and 64 points. Last season, the Lady Flames won their first Big South indoor team championship since 2012 and 11th title overall at this meet.

Liberty's 2016-17 women's squad features Delaney McDowell, who was named Big South Women's Freshman of the Year after winning the 800 at the 2016 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. Two-time Big South outdoor triple jump champion Janae Jones is back after redshirting the 2015-16 campaign.

The Lady Flames won both women's relay events at last year's conference meet and return all four members of the distance medley relay squad (Torree Scull, Bailey Reeves, McDowell and Hannah Scherlacher) along with Nicole Leonzo from the 4 x 400 relay team.

Campbell was picked to finish second with 55 points, followed by High Point in third place with 46 points. The next four teams in the poll were separated by only eight points, including Charleston Southern (fourth place, 32 points), Winthrop (fifth, 31), Gardner-Webb (sixth, 28) and Radford (seventh, 24). UNC Asheville is listed eighth with eight points.

The Lady Flames will open their 2016-17 indoor season with the Liberty Kickoff on Jan. 20-21. The meet will be the first of three events Liberty will host during the inaugural season of the state-of-the-art Liberty Indoor Track Complex.

For the third time in five years, the 2017 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships will take place at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C. The meet will be contested on Feb. 25-26.

2016-17 Big South Conference Men's Indoor Track & Field Preseason Poll
1) Liberty (6 first-place votes) – 48 points
2) Campbell (1) – 41
3) High Point – 37
4) Gardner-Webb – 24
5) Winthrop – 22
6) Charleston Southern – 16
7) UNC Asheville – 8

2016-17 Big South Conference Women's Indoor Track & Field Preseason Poll
1) Liberty (8 first-place votes) – 64

2) Campbell – 55
3) High Point – 46
4) Charleston Southern – 32
5) Winthrop – 31
6) Gardner-Webb – 28
7) Radford – 24
8) UNC Asheville – 8