Ryan Davis will race in the men's 400 hurdles at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the third consecutive year.
Meet Schedule Live Results Thursday Video Streaming - beginning at 9 p.m. (ESPN3) Friday Video Streaming - beginning at 5:30 p.m. (ESPN3) Saturday Video Streaming - beginning at 6 p.m. (ESPN3) Meet Informational Webpage Link to Declared Athletes and Start Lists @LUGameday Twitter Lexington Weather A group of 15 Liberty men's and women's track & field athletes will head to Lexington, Ky., for the 2017 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. The three-day event, which will determine the qualifiers for the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, will take place Thursday through Saturday at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track & Field Complex.
At both the Lexington and Austin, Texas venues, 48 athletes will compete in each individual event and 24 teams will race in each relay. The top 12 finishers in each event at each of the two sites will punch their tickets to the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, to be contested June 7-10 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Kentucky is hosting the meet for the first time at the facility which opened in 2012 and played host to the 2014 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
The women's hammer, featuring Liberty junior Dasiana Larson, will get the meet started Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames ESPN3 will provide live video streaming coverage during all three days of competition. Thursday's broadcast will begin at 9 p.m. Friday's broadcast will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday's broadcast will begin at 6 p.m.
Live results, including lap-by-lap splits and in-progress field event updates, will be available, courtesy of Flash Results.
Periodic updates will be posted to the Liberty Gameday Twitter account (@LUGameday) throughout the meet.
Weather Report Thursday's weather in Lexington calls for a high temperature in the low 60s with afternoon rain showers.
Friday looks to be the nicest day of the meet, weather-wise. A high of 80 degrees is forecasted, under mostly sunny skies.
Saturday's temperature is also expected to reach 80, but there is a chance of thunderstorms throughout the day.
NCAA Preliminary Round Event Capsules (Organized Chronologically) Women's Hammer Event Schedule: First Round – Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
Liberty Competitor: Dasiana Larson (Jr., Garner, Iowa)
Entry Mark/Seed: 196-3 (59.82m)/No. 31
How She Got Here: Larson qualified to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the second consecutive season on the strength of her 196-3 mark at the Duke Invitational on April 21.
Larson ranks No. 3 on Liberty's all-time women's hammer list, behind 2012 NCAA national qualifier Melinda Bendik (202-7) and 2015 national qualifier Jocelyn Williams (200-10). Larson is well ahead of Bendik and Williams at the corresponding stage of their careers. Bendik threw 183-6 as a junior, while Williams topped out at 179-0.
Larson placed a career-best fourth in the Big South women's hammer final, trailing fellow NCAA Preliminary Round qualifiers Natasha Akbarizadeh (Gardner-Webb), Jamie Schnuck (High Point) and Petra Jakelijic (Gardner-Webb). Larson also swept the Big South indoor and outdoor women's shot put titles this season.
Field Breakdown: Only two of last year's Eugene qualifiers return, but the field is still deep. It required a throw of 190-2 to make it to Lexington for this week's meet.
Indiana's Nakel McClinton and Cincinnati's Annette Echikunwoke are back after placing seventh and eighth, respectively, at the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Princeton's Julia Ratcliffe has returned to action after redshirting the 2016 season. The 2014 NCAA national champion owns the New Zealand national record at 232-1.
Marthaline Cooper of Winthrop placed third in the women's hammer at the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships but is redshirting this season. Despite her absence, the women's hammer has been one of the Big South's strongest events in 2017, with Larson, Akbarizadeh, Schnuck and Jakelijic all qualifying for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.
Road to Eugene: All 48 women's hammer throwers will make three attempts, with the top 12 competitors advancing to Eugene. Last season, it took a throw of 193-2 to reach Eugene.
Men's Javelin Event Schedule: First Round – Thursday at noon
Liberty Competitors: Samuel Arter (R-Fr., Hamilton, Va.), Alexander Hoffsmith (Fr., Palmyra, Pa.) and Denzel Pratt (So., Eleuthera, Bahamas)
Entry Marks/Seeds: Pratt – 232-0 (70.72m)/No. 12, Arter – 220-1 (67.09m)/No. 27, Hoffsmith – 213-7 (65.11m)/No. 33
How They Got Here: Pratt made a successful debut at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in 2016, finishing 17th, just five spots away from qualifying to Eugene. He has built upon that success as a sophomore, most recently winning the Big South title with a personal-best throw of 232-0. That broke the Bahamas national record of 229-9 which had stood since 1991.
Arter, a former baseball player, picked up a javelin for the first time in the fall of 2016 and quickly displayed an aptitude for the event. He threw 201-5 in his javelin debut at the CSU Spring Break Invitational (March 17). Two months later, Arter returned to the same venue to finish as the Big South runner-up with a personal-best 220-1 heave.
Hoffsmith, who arrived at Liberty with a high school personal best of 188-8, has made rapid improvement as a college freshman. He reached 213-7 to place third in the college section at the Penn Relays, before placing fourth in the Big South final.
Liberty is sending multiple men's javelin throwers to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the third consecutive season. The Flames join Penn State as the only two teams with three men's javelin entrants at the 2017 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.
Field Breakdown: Mississippi State's Curtis Thompson is back, following a 2016 season which saw him win the NCAA national title and place second in the U.S. Olympic Trials at 271-11.
However, the No. 1 seed is someone with an unlikely story, Gennard Paul of SE Louisiana. Like Arter, Paul picked up for the javelin for the first time this season. The former jumper from Grenada then reached 255-4 to win the Southland Conference title and claim the top seed.
The top four finishers from the Big South men's javelin final are all heading to Lexington, as Pratt, Arter and Hoffsmith will be joined by third-place Drew Francoeur of High Point.
Road to Eugene: All 48 competitors will take three throws, with the top 12 qualifying to Eugene. Last season, the 12th and final Eugene qualifier reached 221-5.
Women's Javelin Event Schedule: First Round – Thursday at 4 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Brenna Smith (Jr., Haddon Township, N.J.)
Entry Mark/Seed: 158-7 (48.33m)/No. 24
How She Got Here: Smith is coming off of the best meet of her career. After placing third in the Big South women's javelin final in both 2015 and 2016, Smith captured this year's conference title with a school-record throw of 158-7.
This has been a big breakthrough season for Smith, who entered the year with a personal best of 140-10. She is the second Lady Flame ever to throw the javelin at this meet, following Christina Mitchell (2012 & 2013), whose school record Smith broke two weeks ago.
Smith is looking to become the second straight Big South women's javelin champion to advance to Eugene, following High Point's Christine Rickert in 2016.
Field Breakdown: The East Region's No. 1 seed is Virginia Tech senior Irena Sediva, the 2015 NCAA national champion in this event.
The next two seeds, Florida's Marija Vucenovic and LSU's Rebekah Wales, placed fifth and sixth, respectively, at the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. They are two of the five returning Eugene qualifiers from last year's NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.
Smith will be the only Big South women's javelin thrower in Lexington, but she will reunite with former conference rival Chloe White of Coastal Carolina. White was the Big South women's javelin runner-up in 2015 and 2016 before placing second in the Sun Belt this season.
Road to Eugene: The 48 women's javelin competitors will make three attempts apiece, with the top 12 finishers punching their tickets to Eugene. In 2016, a throw of 155-7 was sufficient to reach Eugene.
Men's 400 Hurdles Event Schedule: First Round – Thursday at 5 p.m., Quarterfinals – Friday at 7:15 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Ryan Davis (Sr., Deerfield Beach, Fla.)
Entry Mark/Seed: 51.80/No. 23
How He Got Here: Davis enters his third consecutive NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet on the heels of his third Big South men's 400 hurdles title (also 2014 and 2015). He clocked a season-best time of 51.80 in the Big South final, joining former Flame Marlon Tanner (1997-99) as the only three-time Big South men's 400 hurdles champions in meet history.
Davis, whose personal best of 51.23 dates back to 2015, will aim to advance to the quarterfinal round for the first time. The Sunshine State native previously placed 38th at this meet in 2015 and 33rd a year ago.
Field Breakdown: Four of the top five finishers in the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships men's 400 hurdles final are entered in this year's NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. They include national champion Eric Futch (Florida), runner-up TJ Holmes (Florida), third-place Kenny Selmon (North Carolina) and fifth-place Taylor McLaughlin (Michigan).
Selmon is the nation's No. 1 seed this season, thanks to his time of 48.76 from the ACC final. Futch was the SEC runner-up with his season-best 48.82 clocking.
Davis is one of two Big South athletes who will run the 400 hurdles in Lexington this week. Big South runner-up Chigozie Atavwigho of Campbell will make his NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round debut.
Road to Eugene: Six first-round heats will be contested on Thursday, with the top three finishers from each heat and the next six fastest time qualifiers advancing to Friday's quarterfinals. On Friday, the top three placers in each heat and the next three fastest qualifiers will punch their tickets to Eugene. Last season, a time of 52.04 was required to reach the quarterfinals and a 51.02 clocking was necessary to move on to Eugene.
Men's 800 Event Schedule: First Round – Thursday at 8:35 p.m., Quarterfinals – Friday at 6:45 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Michael Todd (So., Anchorage, Alaska)
Entry Mark/Seed: 1:49.56/No. 38
How He Got Here: Todd's time of 1:49.56 at the Virginia Challenge on April 21 broke the program record of 1:49.60 which Chuck Lyngaas had held since 1997. As a result, Todd becomes the Flames' first NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round qualifier in the men's 800 since Isaac Wendland in 2010.
Most recently, Todd finished as the Big South men's outdoor 800 runner-up for the second consecutive season. He also led off for the Flames' Big South champion 4 x 400 relay squad.
Field Breakdown: The NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round men's 800 field features five of the top seven finishers from the 2017 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. National runner-up Drew Piazza (Virginia Tech) leads the way, followed by third-place Joseph White (Georgetown), fourth-place Isaiah Harris (Penn State), fifth-place Robert Heppenstall (Wake Forest) and seventh-place Blair Henderson (LSU).
Other runners to watch include 2016 Olympics 800-meter semifinalist Andres Arroyo (Florida) and 2016 NCAA men's outdoor national seventh-place finisher Eliud Rutto (Middle Tennessee).
UNC Asheville's Matthew Harding, the Big South indoor and outdoor men's 800 champion as a freshman, will also compete in Lexington.
Road to Eugene: The top three finishers from each of Thursday's six first-round heats will advance to Friday's quarterfinal round, along with the next six fastest times. On Friday, the top three finishers from each heat will join the next three fastest time qualifiers in moving on to Eugene. Last season, a time of 1:48.79 was required to guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals, while 1:47.35 claimed the final time qualifier to Eugene.
Men's 10K Event Schedule: Semifinal – Thursday at 9:40 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Azaria Kirwa (So., Eldoret, Kenya)
Entry Mark/Seed: 29:05.57/No. 11
How He Got Here: Kirwa made a huge breakthrough in his 2017 10K debut, March 24 at the Raleigh Relays. After posting a season-best time of 32:52.85 as a freshman in 2016, Kirwa sliced it all the way to 29:05.57 in Raleigh. As a result, he is the Flames' highest seed in any event at this meet, at No. 11.
The only two Liberty Flames who have ever run faster than 29:05 in the 10K, Sam Chelanga and Josh McDougal, both won NCAA Division I national titles during their careers.
Kirwa's only other 10K of the season resulted in a Big South runner-up finish.
Field Breakdown: Eight of last season's 12 Eugene qualifiers return in 2017, led by sixth-place national finisher Jacob Thomson (Kentucky) and eighth-place finisher Erik Peterson (Butler).
Alabama junior Alfred Chelanga, the cousin of former Liberty great Sam Chelanga, has run a nation-leading time of 28:04.95 this season.
Thirteen of the 48 runners who will toe the line for the 10K Thursday evening in Lexington posted their fastest times of the season in Kirwa's section of the Raleigh Relays, paced by Virginia's Zach Herriott at 28:44.22.
Campbell's duo of Amon Kemboi and Amon Terer each ran sub-29:00 10Ks this season, but both Camels will forego the 10K in Lexington to focus on Saturday's 5K.
Road to Eugene: All 48 10K runners will race at the same time Thursday evening, with the first 12 to cross the finish line punching their tickets to Eugene. Last year, the 12th-place finisher clocked a time of 30:05.84.
Women's High Jump Event Schedule: First Round – Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Liberty Competitors: Kylie Polsgrove (So., Newland, N.C.) and Erin Zappia (Jr., Wheaton, Ill.)
Entry Marks/Seeds: Zappia – 5-8.75 (1.75m)/No. 25, Polsgrove – 5-8 (1.73m)/No. 44
How They Got Here: Zappia and Polsgrove will both make their NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round debuts, becoming the first Lady Flames to high jump at this meet since Mia Aghaji in 2012.
Zappia, the 2017 Big South indoor high jump champion and outdoor runner-up, cleared a personal-best 5-8.75 at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier on May 3.
Polsgrove's season-best leap of 5-8 came during the Virginia Challenge heptathlon on April 21, helping her score a personal-best 5,184 points. At the Big South meet, Polsgrove competed in 10 events, winning the heptathlon, placing third in the high jump and coming in sixth in the 400 hurdles. The NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will be Polsgrove's first time this season competing in only one event.
Liberty is one of five teams sending multiple women's high jumpers to Lexington, joining Georgia (three), Brown (two), LSU (two) and Samford (two).
Field Breakdown: The top five women's high jumpers from the 2017 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships are all entered in Lexington. They include national champion Madeline Fagan (Georgia), runner-up Tatiana Gusin (Georgia), third-place Logan Boss (Mississippi State), fourth-place Stacey Destin (Alabama) and fifth-place Nicole Greene (North Carolina).
Boss enters as the No. 1 seed at 6-2.25, but it was Gusin who claimed the SEC title with a 6-2 clearance.
Zappia and Polsgrove will be joined in Lexington by Big South outdoor champion Shenelle McKay of Campbell.
Road to Eugene: After opening at a height of 5-4.5, the high jump competition will continue until all entrants have attempted at least one height and there are 12 or fewer athletes remaining. At that point, the competition will be halted and the top 12 will move on to Eugene, using a jump-off to determine the final qualifiers if necessary. Last year, all 12 Eugene qualifiers made it over 5-10.75.
Men's Pole Vault Event Schedule: First Round – Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Carson Waters (Jr., St. Petersburg Beach, Fla.)
Entry Mark/Seed: 16-10.25 (5.14m)/No. 26
How He Got Here: Waters returns to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round for the second consecutive season after sweeping the Big South indoor and outdoor titles.
Waters cleared a personal-best 17-0.75 to win the Big South indoor championship. However, the junior is still looking to join the 17-foot club outdoors. He posted an outdoor-best 16-10.75 clearance in 2016 and made it over a season-best 16-10.25 at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier on May 3.
Waters will attempt to clear his first bar at this meet, after missing all three attempts at the opening height of 15-11 in 2016. He has made it over 16 feet in eight of his nine outdoor competitions this season.
Field Breakdown: Akron sophomore Matthew Ludwig, the third-place finisher at the 2017 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, tops the region at 18-8.25.
SE Louisiana's Devin King, who has made it over 18-4.5 this season, came in third at the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He is one of six returning Eugene qualifiers from last season's NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.
Notable is the absence of Virginia Tech's Torben Laidig due to injury. He was last year's NCAA national runner-up and had boosted his personal best to 18-8.25 before his 2017 season ended prematurely.
Road to Eugene: After opening at a height of 15-11, the pole vault competition will continue until all entrants have attempted at least one height and there are 12 or fewer athletes remaining. At that point, the competition will be halted and the top 12 will move on to Eugene, using a jump-off to determine the final qualifiers if necessary. Last year, a 17-2.75 clearance was necessary for Eugene qualification.
Men's 110 Hurdles Event Schedule: First Round – Friday at 5 p.m., Quarterfinals – Saturday at 7:20 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Jovaine Atkinson (R-Fr., Spanish Town, Jamaica)
Entry Mark/Seed: 14.01/No. 25
How He Got Here: Atkinson has blazed new trails for Liberty men's 110-meter hurdlers in 2017, breaking the program record of 14.20 which had stood since 1998 and winning the Flames' first Big South title in the event since 2004.
Atkinson, whose season-best time of 14.01 came at the April 15 Gamecock Invitational, will become the first Flame ever to race in the men's 110 hurdles at this meet.
Field Breakdown: Florida freshman Grant Holloway won the 2017 NCAA indoor men's 60 hurdles title, followed by Syracuse's Freddie Crittenden III and Youngstown State's Chad Zallow in second and third place, respectively. That trio owns the meet's top three seed times, paced by Zallow's 13.37.
Nick Anderson of the host Kentucky Wildcats was the national runner-up in the 110 hurdles at the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Georgia's Devon Williams won the SEC 110 hurdles title in 13.37 seconds, but he will not compete in the event in Lexington so he can focus on preparing for the decathlon in Eugene.
Road to Eugene: The top three finishers in each of Friday's first-round heats and the next six fastest times will advance to Saturday's quarterfinal round. On Saturday, the first three finishers in each race and the next three time qualifiers will qualify for Eugene. In 2016, a time of 14.18 moved on to the quarterfinals, while a 13.63 was required for Eugene qualification.
Men's Triple Jump Event Schedule: First Round – Saturday at 3 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Darrel Jones (Jr., Monroe, N.Y.)
Entry Mark/Seed: 51-3 (15.62m)/No. 30
How He Got Here: Jones returns to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the second year in a row after a strong outdoor campaign.
Jones triple jumped 50-9.5 at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational on April 8, reached a personal-best 51-3 at the Virginia Challenge on April 21 and then won the Big South triple jump title in dramatic fashion on May 12. Jones' 51-1 leap in the sixth and final round enabled him to overtake Gardner-Webb's Jalin Lawson for the victory.
Jones fared well in his NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round debut last season, placing 22nd at 51-0.75.
Field Breakdown: Only two Eugene qualifiers are back from the 2016 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. However, one of those is Florida junior KeAndre Bates.
Best known for his long jump exploits, Bates is the reigning NCAA indoor and outdoor triple jump runner-up. Bates ranks No. 1 nationally at 54-9.5 after reaching 55-2 during the 2017 indoor campaign.
Gardner-Webb's Lawson had qualified for his first NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet after his personal-best 50-10.75 effort at the Big South meet. However, the 19-year-old Lawson tragically died in an automobile accident on May 14.
Road to Eugene: All 48 triple jumpers will receive three attempts, with the top 12 advancing to Eugene. Last season, the 12th and final qualifier reached 51-10.5.
Men's High Jump Event Schedule: First Round – Saturday at 6 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Zach Davis (Sr., Sparta, N.J.)
Entry Mark/Seed: 6-9.75 (2.08m)/No. 44
How He Got Here: Davis high jumped 6-9 or higher three times this season, including a season-best 6-9.75 during the Virginia Challenge decathlon on April 21.
Davis cleared 6-9.5 on his way to his second straight Big South decathlon title. He then placed third in the Big South high jump competition at 6-8.25 in his 11th of 12 events at the three-day meet.
Davis, who made it over a personal-best 7-0.25 as a freshman in 2014, will be making his third NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round appearance. He previously high jumped at the meet in both 2014 and 2015, clearing 6-8.75 as a freshman and 6-8.25 as a sophomore.
Field Breakdown: Georgia's Keenon Laine placed third in the high jump at the 2017 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, while Florida's Clayton Brown tied for fifth.
Eastern Kentucky sophomore Tequan Claitt has added four inches to his personal best this season and is the region's top seed at 7-5.75.
Davis will be one of two Big South high jumpers competing on Saturday, as two-time defending conference champion Davian Rhodes of Campbell also earned a trip to Lexington.
Road to Eugene: After opening at a height of 6-6.75, the high jump competition will continue until all entrants have attempted at least one height and there are 12 or fewer athletes remaining. At that point, the competition will be halted and the top 12 will move on to Eugene, using a jump-off to determine the final qualifiers if necessary. Last year, a 6-11.75 clearance was necessary for Eugene qualification.
Women's Triple Jump Event Schedule: First Round – Saturday at 6 p.m.
Liberty Competitor: Janae Jones (R-Sr., Matoaca, Va.)
Entry Mark/Seed: 41-9.75 (12.74m)/No. 35
How She Got Here: The best triple jump of Jones' redshirt senior season was a personal-best 41-9.75 leap to win the Penn Relays' college section title on April 28.
Jones, who won the 2017 Big South indoor women's triple jump championship, most recently placed second in the Big South outdoor triple jump competition.
Jones previously triple jumped at the 2015 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, before redshirting the 2016 campaign.
Field Breakdown: Georgia junior Keturah Orji headlines the 48-member field. She is the American record holder (48-3.25), placed fourth at the 2016 Olympics and has won four NCAA triple jump titles (two indoor, two outdoor).
Also entered in Lexington are the 2017 NCAA indoor runner-up (Florida's Yanis David), third-place finisher (South Carolina's Natasha Dicks), fourth-place finisher (Auburn's Marshay Ryan) and fifth-place finisher (Mississippi State's Tiffany Flynn).
Coming off of a Big South triple jump title two weeks ago, Campbell's Sabina Allen will join Jones in Lexington. Jones and Allen have won three Big South triple jump championships apiece during their careers.
Road to Eugene: The 48 triple jumpers will take three attempts apiece on Saturday, with the top 12 finishers moving on to Eugene. Last season, a jump of 43-0.25 was required for Eugene qualification.
Men's 5K Event Schedule: Semifinal – Saturday at 8:45 p.m.
Entry Mark/Seed: 14:00.29/No. 19
How He Got Here: Kirwa clocked a personal-best time of 14:00.29 in his lone 5K of the season, April 22 at the Virginia Challenge.
Kirwa also enjoyed success during the indoor season, winning the IC4A 5K title.
The sophomore will be Liberty's first men's runner to compete in both the 5K and 10K at this meet since Sam Chelanga in 2011. Chelanga went on to win the 5K national title that year in his final collegiate race.
Field Breakdown: Syracuse's Justyn Knight headlines the field after defeating defending national champion Edward Cheserek of Oregon with his nation-leading time of 13:17.51 at the Payton Jordan Invitational.
Campbell enters both Amon Kemboi and Amon Terer. Terer placed third in the 5K at the 2017 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Henry Wynne, the 2016 NCAA indoor mile national champion, leads a group of five Virginia Cavaliers who will race in Saturday's 5K.
Road to Eugene: Two heats of the men's 5K will be contested Saturday evening. The top five finishers in each section and the next two fastest time qualifiers will punch their tickets to Eugene. Last season, a time of 14:12.62 or faster was required for Eugene qualification.
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