Darrel Jones broke his own program record with a 50-11.5 triple jump on Saturday.
Host Liberty wrapped up a successful Saturday at the fourth annual Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational with one new school record (men's triple jump – Darrel Jones), three meet records, four event victories, six new ECAC qualifications and eight new IC4A qualifiers at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex.
Jones bettered his own triple jump standard with a mark of 50-11.5, while three of Liberty's event titlists set meet records in the process, including Cortney Dowling in the women's 400 (55.39), Delaney McDowell in the women's 800 (2:11.86) and the women's 4 x 400 quartet of Dowling, Kimone Green, Tanner Ealum and Olivia Behymer (3:43.39). Jovaine Atkinson took top honors in the men's 60 hurdles, but just missed the meet record with his 7.85 clocking.
The meet, named in memory of former Liberty men's track & field sprinter Darius Dixon, produced many elite performances. Arguably the most impressive came in the men's pole vault invitational section, where Scott Houston won with a facility-record clearance of 18-8.5. That mark is tied for No. 13 in the world in 2018.
Women's Day Two Recap Reigning Big South Women's Indoor Track Athlete of the Week McDowell led a 1-2 Lady Flames finish in the women's 800, as she was followed across the finish line by teammate Tanner Ealum (2:12.64). Both runners posted ECAC qualifiers and each dipped under the previous meet record of 2:14.03.
Two-time defending Big South women's indoor 800 champion McDowell and Ealum, running just the second 800 of her collegiate career, now rank 1-2 on the 2018 Big South women's 800 performance list.
Dowling's first 400 in a Liberty uniform saw her win the event in an ECAC-qualifying time and move into fourth place in program history. The Lady Flames also got top-eight finishes from Kimone Green (sixth, ECAC-qualifying 56.73) and Ty'Asia Dansbury (eighth, 57.39). Add in Olivia Behymer's 56.98 clocking from last weekend's Liberty Kickoff, and Lady Flames currently occupy the top four spots on this year's Big South women's 400 chart.
The Lady Flames put an exclamation point on their successful day, winning the 4 x 400 relay by more than seven seconds over No. 14 South Carolina's squad. Dowling, Green, Ealum and Behymer now comprise the fourth-fastest relay quartet in Liberty history. Ealum clocked the fastest split of the day with her 55.15-second third leg carry.
Freshman Naomi Mojica nearly made it four victories for the Lady Flames, but South Carolina freshman Kathleen Young topped the Mexico native by 0.75 inches on her final throw of the women's shot put competition. Mojica ended up second with a personal-best 51-3 heave which equaled Mychelle Cumings' Liberty freshman record from 2012.
Dasiana Larson came in fifth with a 44-3.25 shot put, while Holly Arey's personal-best 43-6.5 put earned eighth place in the event and ninth place on the Lady Flames' all-time top 10 list.
Freshmen produced the Lady Flames' other two ECAC qualifications on the day, including Dansbury in the women's 200. She placed third with a conference-leading time of 24.90 which is tied for sixth all-time at Liberty.
Redshirt freshman Jaiden Mulder placed sixth in the women's 60 hurdles final in 8.91 seconds following an 8.76 effort in the semifinals. That mark punched her ECAC ticket, leads the Big South in 2018 and sits sixth in program history.
Reigning Big South Women's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week Kylie Polsgrove had a lighter meet, competing in only three events after last weekend's pentathlon. Her best showing on Saturday was third place in the women's high jump at 5-5.25.
Freshman Rachel Milnes matched her season-best pole vault clearance of 12-5.5 for sixth place, with teammate Jessie Glynn following in seventh at 11-11.75.
The Lady Flames' distance runners produced a couple of lofty finishes, including Mary Kate McElroy's third place in the women's 3K (10:29.83) and Anna Van Wyk's fourth place in the women's mile (5:01.52).
Men's Day Two Recap Jones' 50-11.5 triple jump added 2.25 inches to his previous program record, set Jan. 21, 2017 at the Liberty Kickoff. The Empire State native placed second in the competition, including first among collegiate entrants. Teammate Jonny Saintil added a fourth-place finish at 46-8.75.
I'm always incredibly proud of all our #LibertyJumpsHurdles Crew. This weekend we had several great performances all the way around. If I have to pick one to put online, I guess @ohdjones rebreaking his own #SchoolRecord in the #TripleJump would have to be it. Here's the video of Darrel's leap of 15.53m (50'11.5) @libertytrackandfield @libertyflames A post shared by Shawn Venable (@shawn_venable) on Feb 3, 2018 at 4:30pm PST
I'm always incredibly proud of all our #LibertyJumpsHurdles Crew. This weekend we had several great performances all the way around. If I have to pick one to put online, I guess @ohdjones rebreaking his own #SchoolRecord in the #TripleJump would have to be it. Here's the video of Darrel's leap of 15.53m (50'11.5) @libertytrackandfield @libertyflames
A post shared by Shawn Venable (@shawn_venable) on Feb 3, 2018 at 4:30pm PST
All four members of the Flames' first-place shuttle hurdles relay squad from Friday placed inside the top seven of Saturday's men's 60 hurdles final. Jovaine Atkinson won the race in 7.85 seconds, remaining undefeated on the season. Branson Rolle (personal-best 8.14), Markus Ballengee (8.28) and Jeremy Davis (personal-best 8.43) finished third, sixth and seventh, respectively.
Rolle's time met the IC4A standard and ranks fourth in program history. Ballengee improved his personal best to 8.27 during the preliminary round.
Colin Schultz (1:51.85), Bradley Prentice (1:52.05) and Michael Todd (1:53.00) placed 2-3-4 in the men's 800, with each member of the trio earning a trip to the IC4A meet. Prentice's indoor personal-best effort ranks No. 5 all-time at Liberty and No. 7 all-time in the Big South.
Along with Alejandro Perlaza Zapata's 1:52.40 effort from the Liberty Kickoff, Flames now occupy the top four spots on this year's Big South men's 800 performance list.
Travis Henderson sped to fourth place in the men's 60 final in 6.94 seconds, meeting the IC4A standard and joining the Flames' all-time top 10. However, it was teammate Chukwuma Maduka who stole the show with a conference-leading and IC4A-qualifying time of 6.90 during the prelims. Maduka now ranks sixth all-time at Liberty for the event.
Greg Edwards continued the successful day for Liberty's sprint crew, finishing as the 200 runner-up in an indoor personal-best 21.91 seconds. His IC4A qualifier sits No. 9 all-time at Liberty.
With teammate Azaria Kirwa racing the 3K in Winston-Salem, N.C., Samuel Proctor paced the Flames' distance crew in Lynchburg. His 3K time of 8:27.57 earned a third-place finish and an IC4A qualifier. Making his track debut in a Flames uniform, Nick Doan just missed the IC4A standard of 8:28.00, crossing the finish line in 8:28.27 for fourth in the race.
Carson Waters placed sixth in the men's pole vault invitational section at 16-8.75, with Ballengee coming in eighth with a personal-best 16-2.75 clearance. The sophomore moved up to seventh on Liberty's all-time list in the process.
Big South Men's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week Ballengee later ran a leg of the Flames' 4 x 400 relay for his sixth and final event of the two-day meet, joining Prentice, Jahquez Durham and Davis for fourth place in a time of 3:20.98.
Earlier in the day, Durham had taken over the 2018 Big South lead in the men's 400 with a time of 49.26 which held up for fourth place in Darius Dixon's specialty event.
Andrew Crowell's personal-best mile clocking of 4:15.63 garnered a fifth-place finish, as he was one of nine runners to eclipse the previous meet record in the speedy race.
Up Next Liberty will remain at home for the third consecutive weekend, playing host to the second annual Liberty Elite Invitational, Saturday at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex.
Meanwhile, a small group of men's distance runners will compete at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa next weekend.