Liberty Track & Field/Cross Country Head Coach Brant Tolsma has announced the addition of 14 student-athletes to his team for the 2018-19 season. The newcomers include one junior college transfer and 13 high school seniors, hailing from 13 different states.
Sprinter Christian Lyon, a transfer from Barton Community College, joins Andrew Stanley (distance) as the incoming men's student-athletes. The 12 future Lady Flames include Emma Arblaster (hurdles/jumps), Emma Bower (distance), Naomi Bowser (mid-distance), Kaylyn Cromer (hurdles/jumps), Jamie Gray (heptathlon), Taylen Langin (pole vault), Makenzy Mizera (jumps), Calli Parlier (distance), Sophia Pisano (hurdles/jumps), Emily Shelton (distance), Kyley Sorg (distance) and Abby Thorpe (heptathlon).
"The first wave of the recruiting class for the 2019 Liberty track & field team shows promise for continued progress for our unique program," stated Tolsma, who has led the Flames to 104 conference championships in his 32 years at Liberty. "Some bring talents in areas in which we will graduate some quality seniors while others appear poised to help where we presently have a weakness. I believe all were drawn to Liberty by their desire to be a part of a program with the mission of bringing glory to the Lord. We look forward to our opportunity to guide this group in their growth. We are excited to see how God will use these young athletes to have an impact for good in both track & field and the world."
Men's Newcomers Christian Lyon (Fountain, Colo.) Top Marks: 60 – 6.84, 100 – 10.43 (10.33w), 200 – 20.95 (at altitude) Lyon will have two years of eligibility to use at Liberty after spending two years at Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kan. He helped Barton place second as a team at the 2017 NJCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, finishing fourth in the 4 x 100 relay and sixth in the 100. As a high school senior at Fountain-Fort Carson High School, Lyon swept the Colorado 5A titles in the 100 and 200 dashes.
Andrew Stanley (Three Springs, Pa.) Top Marks: 1,600 – 4:29.01, 3,200 – 9:29.06, Cross Country 5K – 16:00 Stanley recently wrapped up a successful senior cross country season for Southern Huntingdon County High School, placing ninth at the Pennsylvania Class A state meet and 30th at the Paul Short Run. The younger brother of former Lady Flame and current Liberty track & field/cross country graduate assistant Abigail Stanley, he finished fourth at the 2017 Pennsylvania AA state track meet in the 3,200 and came in eighth in the 1,600.
Women's Newcomers Emma Arblaster (Armagh, Pa.) Top Marks: 100H – 15.72, 300H – 47.56, TJ – 37-0.25, HJ – 5-0 A versatile athlete, Arblaster's top state meet performance came as a sophomore in 2016. The United High School competitor triple jumped a personal-best 37-0.25 to place third at the Pennsylvania AA state championship.
Emma Bower (Powell, Ohio) Top Marks: 1,600 – 5:02.66, 3,200 – 10:49.38, Cross Country 5K – 17:40 Bower recently closed out her high school cross country career in style, finishing ninth at the Ohio Division I state meet and 17th at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional. The Olentangy Liberty High School senior also had a successful 2015, including a state runner-up finish in the 3,200 on the track and a third-place showing at that year's state cross country championship.
Naomi Bowser (Smyrna, Del.) Top Marks: 800 – 2:17.24, 1,600 – 5:09.28, Cross Country 5K – 18:33, Pole Vault – 10-6 Smyrna High School's Bowser was the third-place finisher in the Delaware state cross country championship this fall, following a runner-up effort the previous year. Her successful junior year featured an indoor state championship at 800 meters and a trio of top-three state finishes outdoors (800 – second, 1,600 – second, pole vault – third).
Kaylyn Cromer (Christiansburg, Va.) Top Marks: 55H – 9.37, 100H – 15.84, LJ – 17-2, TJ – 36-0.75, HJ – 4-10 The lone Commonwealth native among this signing class, Cromer is a senior at Christiansburg High School. She owns a pair of sixth-place finishes in the triple jump at the Virginia state meet, including the 2015 outdoor and 2016 indoor championships. Cromer also helped the Blue Demons place fifth in the 4 x 100 relay at the 2017 outdoor state championship.
Jamie Gray (Ball Ground, Ga.) Top Marks: LJ – 17-0.75, HJ – 5-1, JAV – 110-9, Heptathlon – 4,152 Gray came in 12th in the heptathlon at the 2017 USATF National Junior Olympic Championships with a personal-best score of 4,152. She is home schooled but competes for Fideles Christian School, winning 2017 GICAA state titles in the 100 hurdles, long jump, high jump and shot put. Her older sister, Jordan, is an All-American heptathlete at Kennesaw State.
Taylen Langin (Meridian, Idaho) Top Mark: PV – 12-7 Langin, a senior at Rocky Mountain High School, has pole vaulted well at some high-level meets during her career, beginning with a 2016 Idaho state title in the event. During 2017, Langin has been the Simplot Games runner-up, took seventh place at the National Pole Vault Summit and came in 11th at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships.
Makenzy Mizera (Maryville, Mo.) Top Marks: LJ – 19-3, TJ – 39-0, HJ – 5-2 Mizera was busy and successful at the 2017 Missouri state track & field meet, winning the long jump title, finishing as the triple jump runner-up and claiming ninth place in the 100 hurdles. As a result, the Warrensburg High School senior was named the Daily Star-Journal's inaugural female track & field athlete of the year.
Calli Parlier (Apex, N.C.) Top Marks: 800 – 2:18.48, 1,600 – 5:04.78, 3,200 – 11:06.59, Cross Country 5K – 18:07 Apex High School senior Parlier recently finished as the North Carolina 4A state cross country runner-up, improving upon her eighth-place showing the previous year. On the track, Parlier crossed the line third in the 1,600 and seventh in the 800 at the 2017 North Carolina 4A state championship.
Sophia Pisano (Inwood, W.Va.) Top Mark: LJ – 16-6 Pisano has been a valuable relay runner during her time at Musselman High School. She helped the Applemen win the 2017 West Virginia AAA shuttle hurdles relay state title and place second in the 4 x 100. Pisano also came in eighth in the state long jump competition during her sophomore year.
Emily Shelton (Minooka, Ill.) Top Marks: 1,600 – 5:00.29, 3,200 – 10:33.81, Cross Country 3-Mile – 16:30 Shelton has been a key part of a strong cross country program at Minooka High School. Her team captured the Illinois 3A state title in 2015 and advanced to Nike Cross Nationals in 2016. Individually, Shelton placed third at the Illinois state cross country meet as both a junior and senior. She also recorded a third-place finish in the Illinois 3A 3,200-meter final in 2016 before coming in fourth in 2017.
Kyley Sorg (Floyds Knobs, Ind.) Top Marks: 3,200 – 11:06.70, Cross Country 5K – 18:42 Sorg finished off her high school cross country career with a career-best 59th-place effort at the 2017 Indiana state meet, competing for Floyd Central High School.
Abby Thorpe (St. Johns County, Fla.) Top Marks: LJ – 18-9.25, TJ – 38-2, HJ – 5-6, JAV – 107-3, Heptathlon – 4,481 Creekside High School senior Thorpe has quickly taken to the multi events. She scored 4,481 points in just her second heptathlon, at the 2017 Jacksonville Athletic Club Combined Events Championship. Thorpe high jumped her way to fifth place at the 2016 Florida 3A state meet and took seventh place in 2017.