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VertKlasse Meeting Next Up for Liberty Track

March 30, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Stephen Racanelli will race at High Point for the first time since this photo was taken, showing his celebration after winning the 2015 Big South men's 400 title.

Stephen Racanelli will race at High Point for the first time since this photo was taken, showing his celebration after winning the 2015 Big South men's 400 title.

VertKlasse Meeting Information Central

Meet Schedule

Live Video Streaming (Saturday - 12:30-6:00)

Live Results

Entry Lists

High Point Weather

For the first time in the nine-year history of the VertKlasse Meeting, Liberty will send its full team to compete in the meet, Friday and Saturday at Vert Stadium in High Point, N.C.

Competition will begin with the women's javelin, Friday at 10 a.m. Saturday's slate of events will kick off with section A of the men's hammer and the women's 800 participation heats at 9 a.m.  The meet's "main event" of track events will stretch from 2:30-5:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
The Big South Network will air live video coverage of the VertKlasse Meeting on Saturday, stretching from 12:30 p.m. through the end of the meet.

Additionally, live results will be available throughout the meet, courtesy of Flash Results. Their services include lap-by-lap splits of the track events and live field event updates.

Weather Report
Friday's weather forecast for High Point sees the high temperature in the low 70s with a chance of thunderstorms and a breeze out of the southwest.

Saturday looks to be a beautiful day for competition, with abundant sunshine and a temperature reaching 70.

What is the VertKlasse Meeting?
According to High Point's website, "The VertKlasse Meeting is a European-style meet that features a small amount of high-level competitors, creating a fast-moving, exciting competition. The name ‘VertKlasse' is based on the Weltklasse Zürich meet (pronounced VELT-class ZUR-ick, German for World Class Zurich), a famed international meet held annually in Switzerland. The name ‘Vert' was added in honor of two of HPU's greatest benefactors and alumni, Dick and Peg Vert, for whom Vert Stadium is named."

Liberty made its debut at the VertKlasse Meeting in 2016, sending a partial squad to High Point for the meet.

Scouting the Competition
Six weeks before the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Liberty will match up against nearly every conference school this weekend, including Campbell, Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, High Point, Radford and UNC Asheville.

In total, 47 schools have entered at least one athlete in the 2017 VertKlasse Meeting, highlighted by ACC members Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

Positive Memories
Liberty seniors Ryan Davis (men's 400 hurdles) and Stephen Racanelli (men's 400) will both be competing at Vert Stadium for the first time since winning Big South titles in their respective events at the 2015 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Davis will compete in the 400 hurdles and Racanelli will race in the 400 dash during the "main event" Saturday afternoon.

Senior Aklesso Agama, who captured the 2015 Big South men's triple jump title at High Point, is set to make his 2017 season debut in the long jump and triple jump this weekend.

Welcome to the Main Event
Liberty will be well represented during the "main event" portion of the VertKlasse Meeting, beginning Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The following Flames and Lady Flames are scheduled to compete in the meet's featured events.

2:45 p.m. – Men's 400 hurdles (Ryan Davis, Michael Fairfax)
2:58 p.m. – Women's 400 hurdles (Mary Witmer)
3:27 p.m. – Women's 400 (Olivia Behymer, Tanner Ealum, Nicole Leonzo)
3:35 p.m. – Men's 400 (Jahquez Durham, Spencer Jamison, Stephen Racanelli)
3:55 p.m. – Women's 4 x 100 relay
4:05 p.m. – Men's 4 x 100 relay
4:15 p.m. – Women's 100 hurdles (Katie Dodson)
4:25 p.m. – Men's 110 hurdles (Jovaine Atkinson, Ryan Davis, Samson Moore)
4:50 p.m. – Women's 200 (Tanner Ealum, Nicole Leonzo)
4:56 p.m. – Men's 200 (Greg Edwards, Stephen Racanelli)
5:08 p.m. – Women's 4 x 400 relay
5:30 p.m. – Men's 4 x 400 relay

Go the Distance
Beginning Friday at 2:30 p.m., the VertKlasse Meeting will feature six and a half consecutive hours of distance races, spanning from 1,500 meters to the 10K.

One race to pay particular attention to, from a Liberty perspective, is the women's 5K at 5:15. Anna Van Wyk is slated to make her outdoor 5K debut and will look to continue her impressive redshirt freshman season.

Including the indoor campaign, Van Wyk has set one school record (indoor 1,000) and two Liberty freshman records (indoor 3K and outdoor 1,500). As a point of reference, the Liberty freshman standard for the women's outdoor 5K is 16:34.74, set by Ednah Kurgat in 2015.

Van Wyk should have some good competition on Friday, including former Coastal Carolina standout Letitia Saayman (16:51.56 personal best), Malone's Hannah Campbell (17:01.77 personal best) and Virginia Tech's Katie Kennedy (9:30.45 personal best for the 3K distance). As a result, the meet record of 17:00.04 could be in jeopardy.

Van Wyk's 5K personal best of 17:16.50 was set at the 2017 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Stop, Hammer Time!
Liberty junior Dasiana Larson threw the hammer a personal-best 188-5 at last weekend's FSU Relays, giving her a good chance to return to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the second straight year.

Larson tops the 2017 Big South women's hammer performance list. On Saturday at 10:45 a.m., she will match up against the conference's No. 2 (Gardner-Webb's Natasha Akbarizadeh), No. 3 (Gardner-Webb's Petra Jakelijic), No. 4 (High Point's Jamie Schnuck), No. 5 (Liberty's Catherine Oyarzun), No. 6 (Charleston Southern's Milan Williams) and No. 7-ranked (Liberty's Holly Arey) hammer throwers.

Larson will also face former teammate Jocelyn Williams during the competition. The Lady Flames' 2015 women's hammer All-American won the event at the 2016 VertKlasse Meeting with a meet-record and personal-best 210-5 heave.

Big South's Best
Six weeks before the 2017 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships take place, Liberty ranks No. 1 in the conference in a number of events.

In men's events, Liberty's Big South leaders include Jovaine Atkinson (110 Hurdles), Ryan Davis (400 Hurdles), Zach Davis (High Jump), Spencer Jamison (400), Darrel Jones (Triple Jump), Stanley Langat (Steeplechase), Denzel Pratt (Javelin), Bradley Prentice (800), Jack Tidball (5K), Carson Waters (Pole Vault) and the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay squads.

Lady Flames currently leading the conference include Holly Arey (Discus), Tanner Ealum (400), Jessie Glynn (Pole Vault), Janae Jones (Triple Jump), Dasiana Larson (Shot Put and Hammer), Brenna Smith (Javelin), Anna Van Wyk (1,500) and the 4 x 400 relay team.

Lexington Ledger
The 2017 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will be contested May 25-27 at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track & Field Facility in Lexington, Ky.

At this early stage of the 2017 outdoor season, the following Flames and Lady Flames are in contention for a berth in the meet, which will determine the qualifiers for the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Lock – Azaria Kirwa (Men's 10K), Denzel Pratt (Men's Javelin)

On the Bubble – Samuel Arter (Men's Javelin), Darrel Jones (Men's Triple Jump), Dasiana Larson (Women's Hammer), Carson Waters (Men's Pole Vault)