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2017 Big South Outdoor Track - Men's Preview

May 9, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Stephen Racanelli enters his final Big South Championship as the two-time defending champion in the men's 400.
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The Liberty men's and women's squads will both look to defend their titles at the 2017 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will be contested Wednesday through Friday at Bagwell-Settle Track in Charleston, S.C.

The Liberty men's team will aim for its 11th consecutive championship and its 22nd overall title at this meet. The Flames have won 21 straight Big South indoor and outdoor men's track & field championships since 2007.

Meanwhile, the Lady Flames will attempt to make it three Big South outdoor titles in a row. Liberty has notched 15 women's team championships in the 23-year history of this meet.

The 2017 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships will begin Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. with the decathlon 100-meter dash. The three-day meet is scheduled to conclude at approximately 4:30 p.m. Friday, with the women's 4 x 400 relay wrapping up the championship.

Charleston Southern is hosting the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the first time since 2010. That meet saw Liberty sweep the men's and women's team titles, wrapping up the program's first-ever Big South "Double Triple" of men's cross country, men's indoor track, men's outdoor track, women's cross country, women's indoor track and women's outdoor track championships in 2009-10.

The Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be contested in May for the third year in a row. The meet will provide athletes with a great opportunity to post qualifying marks for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, set for May 25-27 in Lexington, Ky.

How to Follow the Action
Saturday's events will be video streamed, free of charge, on the Big South Network.

Live results will be available throughout the meet, courtesy of Timing, Inc.

Periodic updates will also be posted to the Liberty Gameday Twitter account (@LUGameday) during the meet.

Weather Report
The preliminary forecast for Charleston appears hot and dry, for a meet which has seen numerous weather delays in recent years.

Wednesday – High in the mid 90s, sunny

Thursday – High in the mid 90s, partly cloudy

Friday – High in the low 90s, partly cloudy

Men's Meet Preview
The Liberty men's track & field team has captured 21 titles in the 23-year history of the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, including the last 10 in succession. Liberty has often won in dominating fashion, as a 54.5-point triumph over Coastal Carolina in 2014 was the Flames' narrowest margin of victory during its current 10-year conference winning streak.

Campbell is expected to provide the Flames' strongest challenge this week, as the Camels finished just 35 points behind Liberty at the 2017 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. Campbell boasts an impressive collection of mid-distance and distance runners and some talented jumpers.

However, Liberty should be tough to beat, as the Flames boast the No. 1 seed in 11 out of 21 events at this week's championship. These include the 200 (Jahquez Durham), 400 (Durham), 110 hurdles (Jovaine Atkinson), 400 hurdles (Ryan Davis), high jump (Zach Davis), pole vault (Carson Waters), triple jump (Darrel Jones), javelin (Denzel Pratt), decathlon (Zach Davis) and both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays.

Three of the Flames' five Big South event champions from 2016 are back, including two-time defending 400 titlist Stephen Racanelli, 800 winner Bradley Prentice and decathlon champion Zach Davis.

Other current Flames who have captured Big South outdoor event titles during their career include Ryan Davis (2014 and 2015 400 hurdles) and Aklesso Agama (2015 triple jump).

Men's 100-Meter Dash
Event Schedule: Prelims – Thursday at 5:10 p.m.; Final – Friday at 2 p.m.
Defending Champion: Tashinga Chitambira (Campbell) – 10.49
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Sean Banda (High Point) – 6th place
2017 Indoor Champion (60 Meters): Curtis Carr (Campbell) – 6.93
2017 Leader: Joshua Paramore (Charleston Southern) – 10.58
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 6 (ConRoy Smith – 2014)
Liberty Entrants: Greg Edwards and Brad Smalley
Outlook: The men's 100 could be wide open, as only two of last season's eight finalists (High Point's Sean Banda and James House) return. Additionally, the top three finishers in the 2017 Big South 60 dash final (Campbell's Curtis Carr, House and Charleston Southern's Joshua Paramore) were separated by only four hundredths of a second. Those same three runners are the top three seeds for this week's meet, topped by Paramore's wind-aided 10.58 on his home track back on March 17. Carr will be trying to win the 100 title as a freshman, something House achieved in 2015. Liberty sophomore Greg Edwards could be a contender for a top-three finish, as he has run sub-11.00 times in all four of his 100-meter races this season, headlined by a wind-aided 10.85 at the Gamecock Invitational on April 15.

Men's 200-Meter Dash
Event Schedule: Prelims – Wednesday at 7 p.m.; Final – Friday at 3 p.m.
Defending Champion: Khai McLin (Campbell) – 20.81
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Stephen Racanelli (Liberty) – 3rd place
2017 Indoor Champion: Racanelli – 22.07
2017 Leader: Jahquez Durham (Liberty) – 21.68
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 6 (Guifaly Christolin - 2002)
Liberty Entrants: Jahquez Durham, Stephen Racanelli, Greg Edwards and Brad Smalley
Outlook: Liberty has not won this event at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships since Guifaly Christolin took top honors in 2002. That could change Friday afternoon, as the Flames boast the three-time defending Big South indoor 200 champion (Stephen Racanelli), the reigning indoor runner-up (Greg Edwards) and the No. 1 seed outdoors (Jahquez Durham – 21.68). Curtis Carr, who ranks No. 3 in the conference this season at 21.92, will try to become the Camels' third freshman to win this event in the last four years, following Fabian Jarrett in 2014 and Khai McLin last season.

Men's 400-Meter Dash
Event Schedule: Prelims – Thursday at 4:45 p.m.; Final – Friday at 1:40 p.m.
Defending Champion: Stephen Racanelli (Liberty) – 47.43 (Second in a row)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Racanelli
2017 Indoor Champion: Jahquez Durham (Liberty) – 48.78
2017 Leader: Durham – 47.99
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 11 (Stephen Racanelli – 2016)
Liberty Entrants: Stephen Racanelli and Jahquez Durham
Outlook: Flames senior Stephen Racanelli has claimed back-to-back Big South outdoor 400 championships and will look to join Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Mike Decker (1999-2001) as the only Flames ever to win this event three years in a row. His top competitor could be freshman teammate Jahquez Durham, who captured the Big South indoor 400 crown and ranks No. 1 outdoors at 47.99. Liberty will be seeking its first 1-2 finish in this event since 2001, when Decker and Chad Wilson swept the top two spots.

Men's 800-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Prelims – Thursday at 5:50 p.m.; Final – Friday at 2:20 p.m.
Defending Champion: Bradley Prentice (Liberty) – 1:52.50
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Prentice
2017 Indoor Champion: Matthew Harding (UNC Asheville) – 1:52.57
2017 Leader: Harding – 1:48.82
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 6 (Bradley Prentice - 2016)
Liberty Entrants: Michael Todd, Bradley Prentice and Andrew Crowell
Outlook: Liberty will enter its 800 school record holder (Michael Todd – 1:49.56) and the defending champion (Bradley Prentice), but both sophomores are looking up at UNC Asheville freshman Matthew Harding on the Big South performance list. Harding won the Big South indoor 800 crown and already ranks No. 2 on the Big South all-time outdoor chart at 1:48.82. Campbell sophomore Kelvin Kirui should also be in the mix of one of this meet's best events, as he placed a close second to Harding indoors and has run 1:51.40 during the outdoor campaign. Prentice will attempt to join Chuck Lyngaas (1996 and 1997) as the only Flames ever to win back-to-back outdoor 800 titles. Harding will look to become Asheville's first 800 champion since Jim Phillips in 2001, while Kirui will chase Campbell's first-ever 800 victory at this meet.

Men's 1,500-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 1 p.m.
Defending Champion: Lawrence Kipkoech (Campbell) – 3:53.30
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Alejandro Juan Torres (High Point) – 3rd place
2017 Indoor Champion (Mile): Amon Kemboi (Campbell) – 4:09.14
2017 Leader: Kemboi – 3:47.19
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 9 (Caleb Edmonds - 2014)
Liberty Entrants: Luke Jelen
Outlook: Campbell's Amon Kemboi and Kelvin Kirui went 1-2 in the Big South indoor mile and are two of the three Big South runners who have clocked 1,500 times under 3:50 this season. High Point's Alejandro Juan Torres, who placed third a year ago, is coming off of a sterling 3:48.86 effort at last Wednesday's Liberty Twilight Qualifier. Redshirt junior Luke Jelen, the Flames' lone entrant in the 1,500, has clocked a personal-best time of 3:53.23 this season. He placed eighth in the 2015 Big South final before improving to sixth a year ago. This event will go straight to a Friday afternoon final, with only 12 entrants.

Men's 3,000-Meter Steeplechase
Event Schedule: Final – Thursday at 6:20 p.m.
Defending Champion: Kevin Mills (Winthrop) – 9:11.58
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Mills
2017 Leader: Mills – 8:58.62
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 9 (Josh MacDonald - 2014)
Liberty Entrants: Stanley Langat and Louis Paone
Outlook: 2016 steeplechase champion Kevin Mills of Winthrop has lowered his time to 8:58.62 this year and is a considerable favorite to repeat. Liberty's Evans Kigen was the Big South's last back-to-back men's steeplechase champion, in 2010 and 2011. Speaking of the Flames, freshman Stanley Langat (9:18.70) and junior Louis Paone (9:23.63) are seeded No. 2 and 4, respectively. Paone, who placed fifth in 2016, has sliced 23 seconds off of his personal best this season. High Point's Paddy Grandinali made an impressive steeplechase debut at last week's Liberty Twilight Qualifier, running 9:20.09. He will bid to become the fourth different Panther to win this event at the last six Big South meets.

Men's 5,000-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 3:20 p.m.
Defending Champion: Lawrence Kipkoech (Campbell) – 14:39.10 (Second in a row)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Amon Terer (Campbell) – 2nd place
2017 Indoor Champion: Terer – 14:27.97
2017 Leader: Amon Kemboi (Campbell) – 13:47.77
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 8 (Caleb Edmonds – 2013)
Liberty Entrants: Azaria Kirwa, Stanley Langat, Jack Tidball and James Zentmeyer
Outlook: Two-time defending 5K champion Lawrence Kipkoech of Campbell is redshirting the season, but the Camels still boast the four-time defending Big South indoor 5K titlist and 2017 NCAA indoor third-place finisher (Amon Terer) and freshman Amon Kemboi, who has run 13:47.77 this season. Terer just made his seasonal 5K debut on Friday at Stanford, clocking 13:50.25. Liberty counters with the 1-2 punch of sophomore Azaria Kirwa (14:00.29) and Stanley Langat (14:12.06), likely producing an all-Kenya lead pack Friday afternoon. Liberty's Caleb Edmonds (2013) is the only America-born Big South men's 5K champion since 2007.

Men's 10,000-Meter Run
Event Schedule: Final – Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: Amon Terer (Campbell) – 30:48.56
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Terer
2017 Leader: Amon Kemboi (Campbell) – 28:57.45
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 7 (David Ricksecker – 2013)
Liberty Entrants: Azaria Kirwa, James Zentmeyer and Jack Tidball
Outlook: Wednesday night's men's 10K will feature two of the seven fastest performers in conference history, including Campbell's Amon Terer (28:54.42) and Liberty's Azaria Kirwa (29:05.57). Terer is looking to become the first three-time men's 10K champion in meet history. Kirwa has improved by leaps and bounds over his 32:52.85 effort in last year's Big South 10K. Fellow Flames sophomore James Zentmeyer, who placed fifth in the 2016 Big South 10K, has dropped his time to 30:49.35 this year.

Men's 110-Meter Hurdles
Event Schedule: Prelims – Thursday at 4 p.m., Final – Friday at 1:20 p.m.
Defending Champion: Desmond Wallace (Coastal Carolina) – 13.83 (Second in a row)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Ryan Davis (Liberty) – 5th place
2017 Indoor Champion (60 Hurdles): Jovaine Atkinson (Liberty) – 8.03
2017 Leader: Atkinson – 14.01
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 6 (Micah Brinkley - 2004)
Liberty Entrants: Jovaine Atkinson, Ryan Davis, Samson Moore and Blake Kohring
Outlook: Liberty has not won the Big South men's 110 hurdles title since Micah Brinkley's victory in 2004 and has only recorded one top three finish in the event since 2010. That should change on Friday, as redshirt freshman Jovaine Atkinson is an overwhelming favorite. He raced to victory in the Big South indoor 60 hurdles final and has lowered the program record to 14.01 outdoors. Atkinson currently ranks No. 4 nationally among freshmen. Liberty will also enter the No. 3 (Ryan Davis – 14.72) and No. 4 (Samson Moore – 14.74) seeds. Charleston Southern freshman Vincent Johnson, who owns a season best of 14.53, is the best hope of preventing a possible 1-2-3 sweep for the Flames. CSU has not won this event since Doug Hazel's back-to-back titles in 1996 and 1997. The most points Liberty has ever scored in the 110 hurdles at this meet was 22 in 1999, when Ken Howell, Greg Benhase, Marlon Tanner and Josh Jones went 1-3-4-5.

Men's 400-Meter Hurdles
Event Schedule: Prelims – Wednesday at 6:15 p.m.; Final – Friday at 2:40 p.m.
Defending Champion: Jerome Coaxum (Coastal Carolina) – 51.94
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Ryan Davis (Liberty) – 2nd place
2017 Leader: Davis – 52.02
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 12 (Ryan Davis - 2015)
Liberty Entrants: Ryan Davis, Samson Moore, Michael Fairfax and Blake Kohring
Outlook: Liberty senior Ryan Davis, the top seed at 52.02 seconds, is looking to cap off an outstanding career in the Big South 400 hurdles. The Florida native won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 before placing second a year ago. He will try to join former Flame Marlon Tanner (1997-99) as the only three-time Big South men's 400 hurdles champions in meet history. Campbell's Chigozie Atavwigho, who has lowered his time to 53.13, is expected to provide Davis' toughest competition as he chases the Camels' first 400 hurdles title. Liberty could be in line for big points, as Samson Moore (54.25), Michael Fairfax (54.97) and Blake Kohring (55.09) also rank among the Big South's top six 400 hurdlers this season. Fairfax came in fourth in the 2016 final.

Men's 4 x 100 Relay
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 12:40 p.m.
Defending Champion: Campbell – 40.08
2017 Leader: Liberty – 41.08
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 7 (2005)
Outlook: Liberty placed only fifth in the 2016 Big South 4 x 100 relay and has not won the title since 2005 but ranks No. 1 in the conference this season at 41.08. Host team Charleston Southern has clocked a time of 41.52 and will look to return to the top of the podium for the first time since winning seven Big South 4 x 100 crowns in succession between 2006 and 2012. Defending champion Campbell only has one of its four legs (leadoff man Lorne Jenkins) back from 2016.

Men's 4 x 400 Relay
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 4:10 p.m.
Defending Champion: Coastal Carolina – 3:11.51 (Second in a row)
2017 Indoor Champion: Liberty – 3:20.38
2017 Leader: Liberty – 3:12.55
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 7 (2001)
Outlook: The Flames won the 4 x 400 at seven of the first eight Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships but have not been back on top since 2001. Liberty, which boasts the conference's top two 400-meter runners in Jahquez Durham and Stephen Racanelli, will look to end that drought on Friday. The Flames are seeded first at 3:12.55 and won their fifth Big South indoor 4 x 400 title in the last six years in February.

Men's Long Jump
Event Schedule: Final – Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Defending Champion: Braxton Drummond (Charleston Southern) – 25-6 (7.77m)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Quemell Brave (Winthrop) – 3rd place
2017 Indoor Champion: Niegel Simmons (Charleston Southern) – 23-10.75 (7.28m)
2017 Leader: Brave – 24-5.75 (7.46m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 11 (Kyle Wheeler - 2015)
Liberty Entrants: Brad Smalley, Aklesso Agama, Darrel Jones and Andre Wright
Outlook: Winthrop's Quemell Brave, the top seed at 24-5.75, will try to win the Eagles' first-ever Big South outdoor men's long jump title. Indoor champion Niegel Simmons of Charleston Southern has jumped 24-3.75 during the outdoor season. The freshman will shoot for the Buccaneers' fifth Big South men's long jump crown in seven years. Liberty's duo of Brad Smalley (23-11.75) and Aklesso Agama (23-8.25) has come on late in the season. Most recently, 2015 Big South indoor long jump titlist Agama earned a head-to-head victory over Brave at last Wednesday's Liberty Twilight Qualifier. Liberty junior Darrel Jones has gone just 22-9.75 this season, but owns a lifetime best of 24-3.5.

Men's Triple Jump
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: EJ Reddick (Charleston Southern) – 50-10.75 (15.51m)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Aklesso Agama (Liberty) – 2nd place
2017 Indoor Champion: Lorne Jenkins (Campbell) – 49-1.75 (14.98m)
2017 Leader: Darrel Jones (Liberty) – 51-3 (15.62m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 10 (Aklesso Agama - 2015)
Liberty Entrants: Darrel Jones, Aklesso Agama, Jonny Saintil and Andre Wright
Outlook: Liberty has won the men's triple jump title in each of the last four odd-numbered years, and two past Big South champions are entered for the Flames this time around. Aklesso Agama swept the 2015 indoor and outdoor titles and is the top returnee from the 2016 outdoor meet (runner-up). Teammate Darrel Jones, the top seed at 51-3, was the 2016 Big South indoor titlist. Campbell senior Lorne Jenkins was the 2017 Big South indoor triple jump champion but is seeded only seventh at 47-9.25 outdoors. Sophomores Jalin Lawson of Gardner-Webb (48-10.75) and Noah Tyson of Campbell (48-8.75) have both made big breakthroughs this season and hope to become the first-ever Big South outdoor triple jump champion for their respective schools.

Men's High Jump
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 1 p.m.
Defending Champion: Davian Rhodes (Campbell) – 7-0.5 (2.15m)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Rhodes
2017 Indoor Champion: Rhodes – 6-10.75 (2.10m)
2017 Leader: Zach Davis (Liberty) – 6-9.75 (2.08m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 8 (Kyle Wheeler - 2012)
Liberty Entrants: Zach Davis, Anthony Colangelo and Markus Ballengee
Outlook: Campbell's Davian Rhodes enters as the reigning outdoor high jump champion and the three-time defending indoor titlist. However, he has only cleared 6-8 this season, while Liberty's Zach Davis has made it over a conference-best 6-9.75. Davis placed second to Rhodes at the 2017 Big South indoor meet, marking his fifth career All-Big South medal for the high jump. Davis, who is seeking his first Big South high jump title, will be competing on the heels of Wednesday and Thursday's decathlon competition.

Men's Pole Vault
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 11 a.m.
Defending Champion: Austin Miller (High Point) – 17-2.75 (5.25m)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Carson Waters (Liberty) – 2nd place
2017 Indoor Champion: Waters – 17-0.75 (5.20m)
2017 Leader: Waters – 16-10.25 (5.14m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 15 (Ken Ritchey - 2015)
Liberty Entrants: Carson Waters, Ryan McCann, Reilly Stroot and Zach Gilroy
Outlook: Liberty has won 15 men's pole vault titles in the meet's 23-year history, including five in the last seven years. Junior Carson Waters is favored to extend the Flames' successful run. The 2016 outdoor runner-up and the 2017 indoor conference champion owns a season best of 16-10.25, putting him 15 inches ahead of his nearest competitor. Waters will also aim to become the Flames' first 17-foot vaulter outdoors since Kolby Shepherd at the 2012 NCAA meet. Behind Waters, the next three seeds are freshmen, including the 2017 indoor runner-up, Carter Clasper of High Point (15-7) and Liberty rookies Ryan McCann (15-6.5) and Reilly Stroot (15-1).

Men's Shot Put
Event Schedule: Final – Thursday at 11 a.m.
Defending Champion: Marcus Abraham (Gardner-Webb) – 54-5.25 (16.59m)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Abraham
2017 Indoor Champion: Abraham – 57-1.25 (17.40m)
2017 Leader: Abraham – 56-1 (17.09m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 12 (Fred Fulton - 2015)
Liberty Entrants: None
Outlook: Liberty throwers have won 10 of the last 13 Big South outdoor men's shot put championships, but no Flames are entered this week. Gardner-Webb sophomore Marcus Abraham, the top seed at 56-1, is the defending Big South indoor and outdoor men's shot put titlist.

Men's Discus
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 11 a.m.
Defending Champion: Fred Fulton (Liberty) – 181-11 (55.46m) (Second in a row)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Andrew White (Gardner-Webb) – 3rd place
2017 Leader: White – 167-0 (50.91m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 16 (Fred Fulton - 2016)
Liberty Entrants: None
Outlook: The Flames have won nine of the last 10 Big South men's discus championships and 16 titles overall in the meet's 23-year history, but Liberty is not entered in the event on Friday. Gardner-Webb could win its first-ever Big South men's discus title, as Runnin' Bulldogs Andrew White (167-0) and Marcus Abraham (161-5) rank 1-2 in the conference this season.

Men's Javelin
Event Schedule: Final – Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: Steve Feister (Liberty) – 234-11 (71.61m) (Second in a row)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Denzel Pratt (Liberty) – 3rd place
2017 Leader: Pratt – 226-4 (69.00m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 11 (Steve Feister - 2016)
Liberty Entrants: Denzel Pratt, Alexander Hoffsmith, Samuel Arter and Zach Davis
Outlook: Despite the graduation of two-time defending Big South champion Steve Feister, the javelin has been arguably Liberty's strongest event in 2017. Sophomore Denzel Pratt (226-4), freshman Alexander Hoffsmith (213-7) and freshman Samuel Arter (210-2) rank 1-2-3 in the conference and are all likely headed to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet later this month. Liberty went 1-2-3 in the men's javelin at each of the first three Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships (1994-1996) but has not done so since. The Flames' Zach Davis, who owns a personal best of 202-2, will also throw the javelin for his 12th and final event of the meet. High Point's Drew Francoeur also bears watching. He has reached 198-10 this season after placing fifth in 2016. Liberty has captured 11 Big South men's javelin titles in meet history, but the only other active Big South men's team with a javelin championship to its credit is Charleston Southern (Joe Obloshny in 2002).

Men's Hammer
Event Schedule: Final – Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: Ryan Minor (Coastal Carolina) – 199-2 (60.70m)
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Mike Hajduk (Winthrop) – 5th place
2017 Indoor Champion (Weight): Hajduk – 54-3 (16.53m)
2017 Leader: Jacob Moore (Charleston Southern) – 168-4 (51.32m)
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 3 (Jon Hart - 2008)
Liberty Entrants: None
Outlook: Liberty will not enter the men's hammer, an event which has three competitors (Charleston Southern's Jacob Moore – 168-4, Gardner-Webb's Andrew White – 165-9 and Winthrop's Mike Hajduk – 165-2) seeded within three feet of one another. While Gardner-Webb has won six of the last eight Big South men's hammer championships, Winthrop has never won the event and CSU has not stood atop the podium since 2001.

Men's Decathlon
Event Schedule: Day One – Begins Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.; Day Two – Begins Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
Defending Champion: Zach Davis (Liberty) – 6,439
Top Returnee from 2016 Meet: Davis
2017 Indoor Champion (Heptathlon): Pablo Romero Gonzales (High Point) – 4,965
2017 Leader: Davis – 6,898
Liberty Event Titles (Last): 11 (Zach Davis - 2016)
Liberty Entrants: Zach Davis, Markus Ballengee and Zach Gilroy
Outlook: Liberty has claimed 11 of 16 Big South decathlon titles all-time, but Zach Davis will attempt to join Daniel Newell (2008-2009) as the only Flames ever to win in back-to-back seasons. Davis is the top seed at 6,898 points, followed closely by freshman teammate Markus Ballengee (6,840). Ballengee placed second in the Big South heptathlon competition to fellow freshman Pablo Romero Gonzales of High Point. Winthrop's Cullen Barringer also bears watching. He owns the Eagles' decathlon school record of 6,186 points and was in the lead in the Big South heptathlon competition before no-heighting the pole vault.