2018 ECAC weight throw champion Dasiana Larson
Liberty won two events during a successful Saturday at the 2018 IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, including the IC4A heptathlon (Markus Ballengee) and the ECAC weight throw (Dasiana Larson). Larson's victory helped the Lady Flames take over the lead in the ECAC team standings entering the final day of competition at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center.
The 2017 ECAC indoor runner-up, Liberty is seeking its first-ever ECAC team championship. The Lady Flames have totaled 36.5 points through the meet's first six events, putting them 18.5 tallies ahead of second-place UMass (18).
On the men's side, Liberty is tied with Monmouth for third place in the IC4A standings, as both teams have recorded 17 points through five events. UConn (31 points) and Rhode Island (18) currently rank 1-2.
Ballengee's winning heptathlon score of 5,537 broke his own Liberty and Big South Conference records of 5,523, while also taking down the meet and facility standards in the process.
Fellow sophomore Tanner Ealum lowered her own Liberty and Big South women's 500 standard from 1:12.95 to 1:12.77 during the event's qualifying rounds on Saturday.
Women's Day Two Recap Larson's 65-10.5 weight throw in round five stood up for the victory, giving the senior an ECAC title to go along with her Big South weight throw crown from last weekend. She joins Jocelyn Williams (2012) as the only Lady Flames ever to win an ECAC weight throw championship.
Fellow senior Catherine Oyarzun closed out her Liberty career with a sixth-place finish, hurling the weight 57-11.25.
After tying for second at this meet a year ago, redshirt senior Jessie Glynn got second place all to herself during Saturday's women's pole vault competition. Her indoor personal-best 12-11.5 clearance matched that of champion Delaware's Ashley Bailey, but Bailey took the title on misses. Glynn made clutch, third-attempt clearances at 12-9.5 and 12-11.5 but could not make it over 13-1.5. Her 12-11.5 clearance ranks No. 2 in program history and tied for No. 2 on the Big South all-time indoor list.
Rachel Milnes was the only freshman to place among the women's pole vault's top eight, tying for seventh place at 12-1.5.
Freshman Noel Palmer provided one of the day's biggest highlights late in the afternoon. After clocking a 17:21.80 5K at the Big South meet last Friday, Palmer dropped her time to 16:44.58 on Saturday, finishing third in the race. In the process, she catapulted into the No. 2 position on both the Liberty and Big South all-time indoor lists.
Ealum, the 2017 400-meter dash runner-up at this meet, was the fastest qualifier to Sunday's 500 final with her record-breaking time of 1:12.77. The Alaskan's previous standard (1:12.95) had been set at the Liberty Elite Invitational on Feb. 10.
Big South Women's Outstanding Track Performer Kimone Green advanced to Sunday's 200 (24.27) and 400 (56.29) finals. She will be joined in the 400 final by teammates Cortney Dowling (55.45) and Olivia Behymer (indoor personal-best 55.75).
Running together for the first time this season, the Lady Flames' 4 x 400 quartet of Ty'Asia Dansbury, Dowling, Behymer and Ealum posted the second-fastest preliminary time, 3:44.19.
Finally, Delaney McDowell improved her 800 indoor personal-best to 2:08.82 to earn a spot in the final.
Men's Day Two Recap Ballengee's record-setting heptathlon score of 5,537 put him 351 points ahead of runner-up Nick Fofana of Northeastern in the final standings, one year after Fofana had edged Ballengee by two points for second place in the IC4A heptathlon. Ballengee becomes Liberty's third IC4A heptathlon champion and second in a row, following Zach Davis last season and Brandon Hoskins in 2008.
Ballengee took the lead for good after clocking 8.37 seconds for the 60 hurdles. One week after an untimely no-height during the Big South heptathlon pole vault, Ballengee was able to all but wrap up victory with a personal-best 16-6.75 pole vault on Saturday. That clearance, which would have won the Big South pole vault title last week, ranks No. 6 all-time at Liberty. Ballengee then closed things out with a 2:47.19 clocking in the 1,000.
Jeremy Davis added a sixth-place finish in the heptathlon with 4,709 points, ending up as the event's top freshman.
The Flames' field event performers pulled down a pair of seventh-place finishes, including William Partridge in the weight throw (personal-best 59-4) and Brad Smalley in the long jump (22-9).
Like their female counterparts, the Liberty men's team advanced a trio of runners to Sunday's 400 final, including Alejandro Perlaza Zapata (46.92), Jahquez Durham (48.31) and Jeff Jacobs (personal-best 48.33). Jacobs' effort enabled him to join Liberty's all-time top 10.
Perlaza Zapata (21.41) and Travis Henderson (personal-best 21.66) both moved on to the 200 final.
Jacobs, Michael Todd, Perlaza Zapata and Durham qualified for the 4 x 400 relay final with a 3:13.92 effort.
The Flames' mid-distance squad also excelled on Saturday, including Colin Schultz, who won his heat of the mile in 4:08.98 to reach the IC4A final. Additionally, Andrew Crowell, Branson Rolle, Bradley Prentice and Nick Doan became the fourth-fastest distance medley relay grouping in program history, clocking 10:00.54 to book a place in the final.
Up Next The 2018 IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships will wrap up Sunday, with the day's first events (IC4A triple jump and ECAC shot put) getting started at 9:30 a.m.