The Lady Flames are favored to win their third straight Big South outdoor track & field team title in May.
The Liberty men's and women's track & field teams have been unanimously picked by the conference's head coaches to sweep the team titles at the 2017 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Head Coach Brant Tolsma's men's team has captured 10 straight Big South outdoor championships and 21 team crowns in the meet's 23-year history. The Flames received all seven first-place votes and 49 total points to top the preseason listing.
Three 2016 Big South event champions return for the Flames this spring, including Zach Davis (decathlon), Bradley Prentice (men's 800) and Stephen Racanelli (men's 400). Racanelli, coming off of a Big South men's indoor 200 dash title last month, is now a seven-time conference champion for his career.
Campbell, which finished as the 2017 Big South indoor runner-up, placed second in the poll with 42 points. The Camels were followed by High Point (35 points) in third place and 2017 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships host Charleston Southern (26 points) in fourth.
Gardner-Webb (fifth place, 19 points), Winthrop (sixth place, 18 points) and UNC Asheville (seventh place, 7 points) round out the men's poll.
Coming off their second straight Big South outdoor championship and their 15th overall title at this meet, the Lady Flames garnered all eight first-place votes and 64 points.
Two-time Big South women's outdoor triple jump champion Janae Jones is back for her senior season in 2017 after redshirting the 2016 campaign. The Lady Flames also won both relay titles at the 2016 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. They return Nicole Leonzo and Dana Mercer from the victorious 4 x 100 squad and Olivia Behymer from the first-place 4 x 400 quartet.
As in the men's poll, the second, third and fourth spots went to 2017 Big South indoor runner-up Campbell (56 points), High Point (46 points) and Charleston Southern (39 points), respectively.
Winthrop's 31 points placed the Eagles fifth in the women's poll, and they were trailed by Radford (sixth place, 23 points), Gardner-Webb (seventh place, 21 points) and UNC Asheville (eighth place, 8 points).
Liberty opened its 2017 outdoor season at last weekend's CSU Spring Break Invitational at Bagwell-Settle Track in Charleston, S.C.
The Flames and Lady Flames will return to Bagwell-Settle Track May 10-12 for the 2017 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Charleston Southern will host the meet for the first time since 2010 and the second time in program history.
2017 Big South Conference Men's Outdoor Track & Field Preseason Poll 1) Liberty (7 first-place votes) – 49 points 2) Campbell – 42 3) High Point – 35 4) Charleston Southern – 26 5) Gardner-Webb – 19 6) Winthrop – 18 7) UNC Asheville – 7
2017 Big South Conference Women's Outdoor Track & Field Preseason Poll 1) Liberty (8 first-place votes) – 64 points 2) Campbell – 56 3) High Point – 46 4) Charleston Southern – 39 5) Winthrop – 31 6) Radford – 23 7) Gardner-Webb – 21 8) UNC Asheville – 8
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