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Liberty Set to Open 2018 Indoor Season at VMI

January 17, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Team captain Darrel Jones will be one of Liberty's first competitors in the 2018 indoor track & field season, with the Keydet Invitational men's triple jump set to begin Friday at 2 p.m.

Team captain Darrel Jones will be one of Liberty's first competitors in the 2018 indoor track & field season, with the Keydet Invitational men's triple jump set to begin Friday at 2 p.m.

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Liberty's first meet of the 2018 indoor track & field season will see the Flames and Lady Flames make their inaugural visit to the Corps Physical Training Facility in Lexington, Va. Liberty is one of 27 teams entered in VMI's Keydet Invitational, slated for Friday and Saturday.

Friday's action will begin at 2 p.m. with the men's weight throw, men's triple jump and women's 60 hurdles prelims, meaning Darrel Jones (triple jump) and the hurdling trio of Katie Dodson, Jaiden Mulder and Kylie Polsgrove will be among the first Flames to compete in 2018.

Events will resume Saturday at 10 a.m., when the men's long jump, men's shot put and men's mile will commence.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available during both days of competition, courtesy of Snap Timing.

Additionally, periodic updates will be posted to the Liberty Track & Field/Cross Country Twitter account, @Liberty_XCTF.

Scouting the Competition
Liberty will face three Big South Conference opponents (Campbell, Radford and UNC Asheville) this weekend, plus future conference member Hampton. ACC members NC State and Virginia Tech will also be in action in Lexington.

About the Facility
Like the Liberty Indoor Track Complex, the Corps Physical Training Facility features a 200-meter hydraulically banked track installed by Beynon Sports Surfaces.

The Keydet Invitational will be the second meet ever contested at the facility, including the first invitational. The Corps Physical Training Facility will play host to four meets in 2018, culminating with the Southern Conference Championships, Feb. 24-25.

Last Time in Lexington
Although Liberty and VMI are located only about 45 miles apart, the Flames will be competing in Lexington for the first time since VMI hosted the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, April 21-23, 2011.

The Keydet Invitational will be Liberty's first indoor meet in Lexington since the VMI Winter Relays, Feb. 2, 2008 at Cormack Field House.

Late Start
Liberty will be the last Big South Conference team to begin its 2018 indoor track & field season, doing so just five weeks before the Flames will host the 2018 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex, Feb. 23-24.

Great Expectations
The Liberty men's and women's squads were both voted the preseason Big South Conference favorites by the league's head coaches.

The Flames have captured all 20 team titles in the history of the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, while the Lady Flames are aiming for their third straight Big South indoor crown in February.

Big South's Best
Liberty returns nine individual event champions from the 2017 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, including Jovaine Atkinson (men's 60 hurdles), Jahquez Durham (men's 400), Tanner Ealum (women's 400), Jessie Glynn (women's pole vault), Dasiana Larson (women's shot put), Delaney McDowell (women's 800), Kylie Polsgrove (women's pentathlon), Carson Waters (men's pole vault) and Erin Zappia (women's high jump).

All nine are scheduled to compete at the Keydet Invitational, with Atkinson, Glynn, Larson, Waters and Zappia contesting their championship events.

Durham (500), Ealum (500) and McDowell (mile) will all step up in distance this weekend, while Polsgrove will focus on the 60 hurdles and high jump.

How High Can He Fly?
Carson Waters will officially begin his senior season of pole vaulting at the Keydet Invitational, Saturday at 11 a.m. However, he already appears to be in mid-season form after matching his personal-best clearance of 17-0.75 at the National Pole Vault Summit, Saturday in Reno, Nev. Waters swept the Big South indoor and outdoor men's pole vault titles in 2017.

Fresh Faces
Seven athletes are scheduled to make their Liberty track & field debuts this weekend, including Hannah Andrews (women's long jump, triple jump), Cortney Dowling (women's 500), Emily Groeneveld (women's 400), Nikayla Hoyte (women's long jump), Rachel Milnes (women's pole vault), Branson Rolle (men's 60 hurdles, high jump) and Alexis Wilson (women's 60).

All are freshmen except Dowling, who transferred from Augustana, and Groeneveld, who spent the last three years as part of the Liberty women's tennis program.

O Captain, My Captain
Liberty will feature six team captains this season, including Lady Flames Holly Arey, Olivia Behymer and Alyssa Karle and Flames Darrel Jones, Bradley Prentice and Colin Schultz.

All of the captains are entered in the Keydet Invitational except Karle and Schultz, as most of Liberty's mid-distance and distance runners will have this weekend off from competition.

Up Next
Liberty will return to Lynchburg for the first of four home meets this season at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex. The 13th Liberty Kickoff will feature competition on Jan. 26-27.