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Liberty Track Set for 1st Road Meet of 2017

February 1, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Darrel Jones is the defending men's long jump and triple jump champion at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup.

Darrel Jones is the defending men's long jump and triple jump champion at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup.

Meet Information Central

Live Results

The Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field teams will take to the road for the first time this season, traveling to University Park, Pa., for the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup. The team-scored meet will take place Friday and Saturday at Penn State's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.

The Flames' 10th consecutive appearance in the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup will begin Friday at 5 p.m. with the women's weight throw, women's pole vault, women's long jump and men's long jump. Saturday's events will get started with the men's pole vault and men's shot put at 11 a.m.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available throughout both days of competition.

Familiar Facility
The Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track features a six-lane, 200-meter hydraulically banked track, just like the Liberty Indoor Track Complex.

Penn State's track has yielded many fast times over the years, especially in the mid-distance events. Jaime Watson set the Liberty women's 600 record (1:28.2) at the 2010 Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup. Most recently, Penn State alumnus Casimir Loxsom set a world record with his 600 time of 1:14.91 at last weekend's Penn State National Open.

Keeping Score
The Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup will be Liberty's first scored meet of the season. The Flames' best-ever team finishes at this meet are third on the men's side (2009) and fourth on the women's side (2014, 2015 and 2016).

As usual, Liberty will face some stiff competition at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, beginning with host Penn State. The Nittany Lions' women's team is currently ranked No. 19 nationally, while the men's squad checks in at No. 21.

The field also includes the Cornell men's team, which has been ranked inside the Top 25 for much of the season.

Past Cup Champions
During its nine previous appearances at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, Liberty has won 15 total events. Below is a summary of the Flames' past event winners at this meet.

2008 – Clendon Henderson (Men's Shot Put)

2009 – Anthony Bryant (Men's High Jump), Sam Chelanga (Men's 3K), Matt Parker (Men's 60 Hurdles), Kolby Shepherd (Men's Pole Vault)

2010 – Kolby Shepherd (Men's Pole Vault), Jaime Watson (Women's 600)

2011 – Anthony Bryant (Men's High Jump), Ryan Smith (Men's Weight Throw)

2012 – Josh MacDonald (Men's 5K)

2013 – Josh MacDonald (Men's 3K)

2014 – Josh MacDonald (Men's 5K)

2015 – Ednah Kurgat (Women's 5K)

2016 – Darrel Jones (Men's Long Jump and Triple Jump)

Looking Back at Last Year
Liberty placed fourth in the men's and women's team standings at the 2016 Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup. It marked the men's team's best finish at the meet since 2011, while it equaled the Lady Flames' top finish in meet history.

Liberty's top individual performer was Darrel Jones, who became the first Flame ever to win two events at the same Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup. Jones took first place in both the men's long jump (personal-best 24-3.5) and triple jump (49-5.75).

6 x 800
Six of Liberty's talented 800-meter runners will compete in the event for the first time this season on Saturday afternoon, including three past Big South champions.

The men's 800 trio includes 2016 Big South indoor 800 champion Michael Todd, 2016 Big South outdoor 800 champion Bradley Prentice and Colin Schultz, who won the 1,000 at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational in a personal-best 2:26.32.

The Lady Flames' entrants are headlined by 2016 Big South indoor 800 champion Delaney McDowell. She will be joined by freshmen Tanner Ealum (2:12.88 high school PR) and Brooke Turner (2:13.85 high school PR).

Last season, Todd placed sixth in the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup men's 800 at 1:52.92, while McDowell took fourth place in the women's 800 in 2:13.54.

Conference Honorees
Liberty athletes won a pair of Big South Conference weekly awards on Wednesday, as freshman Tanner Ealum was named Big South Women's Indoor Track Athlete of the Week and junior Carson Waters was tabbed Big South Men's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week.

Both Ealum (60, 800, 4 x 400) and Waters (pole vault) are slated to compete at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup.

Six different Flames and Lady Flames have won Big South awards during the first two weeks of the season, as Jovaine Atkinson (Men's Indoor Track Athlete of the Week), Darrel Jones (Men's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week), Anna Van Wyk (Women's Indoor Track Athlete of the Week) and Janae Jones (Women's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week) were all honored on Jan. 25.

Big South's Best
Three weeks before the 2017 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, Liberty athletes rank No. 1 in the conference in a number of events.

On the men's side, the Flames' conference leaders include Jovaine Atkinson (60 hurdles – 7.94), Zach Davis (heptathlon – 4,957), Jahquez Durham (400 – 49.34), Darrel Jones (triple jump – 50-9.25), Azaria Kirwa (5K – 14:29.50) and Carson Waters (pole vault – 16-4.75).

Lady Flames currently sitting atop the Big South list include Tanner Ealum (400 – 56.53), Jessie Glynn (pole vault – 12-3.5), Janae Jones (triple jump – 40-8.25), Kylie Polsgrove (pentathlon – 3,472) and Anna Van Wyk (mile – 4:53.88).

The 2017 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships will be contested Feb. 25-26 at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C.