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Liberty Track Bound for Tampa

May 22, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Carson Waters, who grew up near Tampa, will be the Flames' first competitor in the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet on Thursday.
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Meet Schedule - REVISED on May 23

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A record-setting group of 27 Liberty men's and women's track & field athletes will head to Tampa, Fla., for the 2018 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. The three-day event, which will determine the qualifiers for the 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, will take place Thursday through Saturday at the USF Track & Field Stadium.

At both the Tampa and Sacramento, Calif., 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 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, to be contested June 6-9 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Liberty's 27 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round qualifiers shattered the Flames' previous record of 16 qualifiers at the inaugural NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in 2010.

The Flames will now look to break the program record of five NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships qualifiers, set in 2007. Liberty already has one athlete on his way to Eugene, as Markus Ballengee was announced as a national qualifier in the decathlon, which is not contested in Tampa.

USF is hosting the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the first time. This is the fifth time in the meet's nine-year history it is being contested in Florida.

The meet will begin Thursday at 8:45 a.m. with the men's hammer. Liberty's first event will be the men's pole vault, featuring Tampa-area native Carson Waters, Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Please note that the schedule has been significantly revised, and a link to the updated version appears at the top of this release.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
FloTrack will provide live video streaming coverage during all three days of competition, but a paid subscription is required.

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 Track & Field/Cross Country Twitter account (@Liberty_XCTF) throughout the meet.

Weather Report
The weather in Tampa is projected to be unsettled all week. During all three days of competition, the high temperature is forecasted in the 80s, but there is also a significant chance of showers and thunderstorms each day.

NCAA Preliminary Round Event Capsules (Organized Chronologically)
Men's Pole Vault
Event Schedule:
First Round - Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

Liberty Competitor: Carson Waters (Sr., St. Petersburg Beach, Fla.)

Entry Mark/Seed: 17-5 (5.31m)/No. 16

Outlook: Waters, who will be the first Flame to compete in Tampa, hails from nearby St. Petersburg Beach. He will be making his third and final NCAA Preliminary Round appearance, seeking his first NCAA national qualification.

Waters, the 2018 Big South indoor and outdoor men's pole vault champion, has set new personal bests at three of his last four meets. The senior cleared 17-3 at the Virginia Grand Prix on April 28, 17-4.25 at the Big South meet on May 9 and 17-5 at the Mount Olive Qualifier on May 13.

Waters is within range of Kolby Shepherd's Liberty and Big South-record clearance of 17-8.5 from 2012. Shepherd was Liberty's most recent pole vaulter to qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, tying for fifth place in 2012.

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.

Women's Javelin
Event Schedule:
First Round - Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

Liberty Competitors: Brenna Smith (Sr., Haddon Township, N.J.) and Paige Demetriades (R-So., Lake Hauto, Pa.)

Entry Marks/Seeds: Smith - 161-7 (49.26m)/No. 15, Demetriades - 156-4 (47.65m)/No. 29

Outlook: Smith performed well in her NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round debut a year ago, finishing five spots and less than five feet away from qualifying to Eugene. This season, the former walk-on will look to become the Lady Flames' first javelin thrower ever to reach the national meet.

Smith has won four straight women's javelin competitions, including Section B at the Texas Relays, the Duke Invitational, the Virginia Grand Prix and her second straight Big South title.

Last season, a throw of 154-11 made it to Eugene. Smith has recorded five throws longer than 154-11 this season, including her school-record 161-7 effort at Duke on April 21.

A transfer from Pittsburgh, Demetriades made quite a splash in her Liberty debut. She won the CSU Spring Break Invitational javelin competition on March 16 with a mark of 156-4 which ranks No. 2 to Smith in program history.

Unfortunately, Demetriades was injured at CSU and has only competed once since then.

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 154-11.

Men's 400 Hurdles
Event Schedule:
First Round - Thursday at 12:30 p.m., Quarterfinals - Friday at 3 p.m.

Liberty Competitor: Branson Rolle (Fr., New Providence, Bahamas)

Entry Mark/Seed: 52.10/No. 37

Outlook: Rolle has been consistently strong in the 400 hurdles as a freshman, as he has finished between 52.10 and 52.84 in five of his last six races.

Most recently, Rolle won the Big South men's 400 hurdles title in a personal-best time of 52.10, lowering his own Liberty freshman record.

A versatile athlete, Rolle also placed fourth in the javelin, seventh in the 110 hurdles and 10th in the high jump at the Big South meet.

Rolle's entry gives Liberty a men's 400 hurdler at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the seventh time in the last eight years. However, the Flames are seeking their first national qualifier in this event since program record holder Mike Reed in 1995.

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 52.81 was required to reach the quarterfinals and a 51.17 clocking was necessary to move on to Eugene.

Women's 400 Hurdles
Event Schedule:
First Round - Thursday at 1 p.m., Quarterfinals - Friday at 3:15 p.m.

Liberty Competitor: Kimone Green (Sr., St. Elizabeth, Jamaica)

Entry Mark/Seed: 58.46/No. 23

Outlook: Green is the first Lady Flame ever to enter three different events at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, including the women's 400 hurdles, 4 x 100 relay and 4 x 400 relay.

Green is making her NCAA Preliminary Round debut. In 2016, she won the Southland Conference women's 400 hurdles championship with a sterling time of 57.78. However, she could not compete at the Preliminary Round meet due to Abilene Christian's ongoing transition to NCAA Division I status.

This season, Green has broken Liberty's women's 400 hurdles program record twice, including her 59.12 effort at the April 21 Virginia Challenge and her Big South-winning time of 58.46 on May 11. As a result, the Jamaican will be the Lady Flames' first ever women's 400 hurdler to compete at this meet.

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 59.88 was required to reach the quarterfinals and a 58.13 clocking was necessary to move on to Eugene.

Men's 1,500
Event Schedule:
First Round - Thursday at 1:30 p.m., Quarterfinals - Saturday at 1 p.m.

Liberty Competitor: Colin Schultz (R-Sr., Las Vegas, Nev.)

Entry Mark/Seed: 3:43.58/No. 16

Outlook: Schultz has enjoyed a stellar senior season, setting school records in both the men's 800 (1:48.96 at the April 28 Virginia Grand Prix) and 1,500 (3:43.58 at the May 11 Big South Championship).

Schultz has also shown himself to be a strong competitor, winning the Raleigh Relays 1,500 title over a field including 2017 national runner-up Justine Kiprotich of Michigan State.

Isaac Wendland owned the school 1,500 record of 3:43.91 before Schultz broke it in his last race. Wendland was the Flames' last 1,500 runner to make it to the NCAA national meet, doing so in 2013.

Road to Eugene: The top five finishers from each of Thursday's four first-round heats will advance to Saturday's quarterfinal round, along with the next four fastest times. On Saturday, the top five finishers from each heat will join the next two fastest time qualifiers in moving on to Eugene. Last season, a time of 3:50.90 was required to guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals, while 3:47.32 claimed the final time qualifier to Eugene.

Men's 400
Event Schedule:
First Round - Thursday at 3:20 p.m., Quarterfinals - Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Liberty Competitors: Alejandro Perlaza Zapata (Jr., Cali, Colombia) and Jahquez Durham (So., Orlando, Fla.)

Entry Marks/Seeds: Perlaza Zapata - 44.86/No. 3, Durham - 46.94/No. 39

Outlook: Perlaza Zapata, a Rio Olympian in the 4 x 400 relay for his native Colombia, put himself onto the map as a potential All-American with his scintillating 44.86 clocking in the Big South men's 400 final on May 11. That time set numerous records, including the Colombian and Liberty standards.

Perlaza Zapata enters his first NCAA-level competition as Liberty's highest seed in any event (No. 3), trailing only Auburn's Nathon Allen (44.28) and Tennessee's Nathan Strother (44.34). He will try to become the Flames' first men's 400 runner to advance to the national meet since Mike Decker in 2001.

Perlaza Zapata has won all six of his 400-meter dash finals during his first collegiate season, including the indoor and outdoor campaigns.

Durham, who will get to compete not far from his hometown of Orlando, will also make his NCAA Preliminary Round debut after clocking a personal-best time of 46.94 for third place in the Big South final. He and Perlaza Zapata will become Liberty's first men's 400 runners ever to compete at the NCAA Preliminary Round meet.

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 47.63 was required to guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals, while 46.04 claimed the final time qualifier to Eugene.

Women's Shot Put
Event Schedule:
First Round - Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Liberty Competitor: Naomi Mojica (Fr., Queretaro, Mexico)

Entry Mark/Seed: 52-3.25 (15.93m)/No. 22

Outlook: Mojica quickly took over as the Big South's top women's shot putter as a freshman, sweeping the conference indoor and outdoor titles. Her outdoor championship came in a Liberty and Big South-record distance of 52-3.25.

Mojica ranks third among freshmen shot putters competing in Tampa, trailing only Miami's Debbie Ajagbe and South Carolina's Kathleen Young.

Mojica is the Lady Flames' second freshman to throw the shot put at the NCAA Preliminary Round meet, following Mychelle Cumings in 2012.

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 threw 53-7.5.

Men's 800
Event Schedule:
First Round - Thursday at 4:10 p.m., Quarterfinals - Friday at 2:30 p.m.

Liberty Competitor: Bradley Prentice (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.)

Entry Mark/Seed: 1:49.37/No. 30

Outlook: Prentice, who arrived at Liberty as a walk-on, will make his NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round debut on Thursday in the men's 800 first round.

The junior ranks No. 2 all-time at Liberty with his 1:49.37 clocking from the April 28 Virginia Grand Prix. In his most recent race, Prentice earned All-Big South honors with a third-place finish in the Big South final on May 11.

Liberty will have a men's 800 runner at this meet for the second straight year, following Michael Todd's appearance a season ago.

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 1:50.11 was required to guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals, while 1:48.11 claimed the final time qualifier to Eugene.

Women's 800
Event Schedule:
First Round - Thursday at 4:35 p.m., Quarterfinals - Friday at 2:45 p.m.

Liberty Competitors: Tanner Ealum (So., Anchorage, Alaska) and Delaney McDowell (Jr., Mason, Ohio)

Entry Marks/Seeds: Ealum - 2:06.69/No. 25, McDowell - 2:07.31/No. 38

Outlook: Liberty's women's 800 entries include the reigning Big South indoor (McDowell) and outdoor Ealum) 800 champions. Both are making their NCAA Preliminary Round debuts this week.

Ealum, in her first full year as an 800-meter runner, lowered her personal best to 2:06.69 in the Big South final on May 11. The Alaska native finished just off the Liberty and Big South all-time records of 2:06.09 set by Jaime Watson in 2010.

If a race turns tactical, Ealum can call upon her sprint speed, as she owns personal bests of 24.72 (200) and 54.33 (400).

McDowell, a four-time Big South women's 800 titlist (one outdoor, three indoor), placed third in this year's Big South outdoor final. Her personal-best time of 2:07.31 came at the April 20 Virginia Challenge.

McDowell has also improved her personal bests in the 400 (56.68) and 1,500 (4:37.04) this season.

No Lady Flame has ever qualified for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 800, but Watson made it indoors in 2010.

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 2:08.61 was required to guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals, while 2:04.52 claimed the final time qualifier to Eugene.

Men's 10K
Event Schedule:
Semifinal - Thursday at 9 p.m.

Liberty Competitor: Azaria Kirwa (Jr., Eldoret, Kenya)

Entry Mark/Seed: 29:27.40/No. 19

Outlook: Last season, Kirwa finished the dreaded 13th in the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round men's 10K, one spot away from qualifying for Eugene. However, he came back two nights later and punched his Eugene ticket in the 5K.

This time around, Kirwa is only entered in the 10K. The junior has run just two races this outdoor season, headlined by his 29:27.40 10K effort at the Virginia Challenge on April 21. Kirwa also placed third in the Big South 5K final in 14:19.61 on May 11.

Kirwa will look to bookend a strong junior year, which began with a 25th-place finish and All-America honors at the 2017 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

The last Liberty men's 10K runner to reach the NCAA national meet was Sam Chelanga in 2011.

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 30:05.04.

Women's 10K
Event Schedule:
Semifinal - Thursday at 9:40 p.m.

Liberty Competitor: Noel Palmer (Fr., Forest, Va.)

Entry Mark/Seed: 34:47.26/No. 31

Outlook: Palmer's only 10K to date was a good one, as she clocked 34:47.26 at the Raleigh Relays on March 30. That effort just missed the Liberty freshman record of 34:38.75, set by Ednah Kurgat at the 2015 Raleigh Relays.

Palmer went on to break Kurgat's Liberty freshman 5K standard with her 16:28.13 clocking at the Virginia Challenge on April 21. Palmer also finished as the Big South indoor and outdoor 5K runner-up.

Palmer is the fourth-fastest freshman in Thursday's race, trailing only Louisville's Dorcas Wasike, Alabama's Mckenzie Yanek and Wake Forest's Samantha Halvorsen.

Carol Jefferson (2007) is the Lady Flames' only NCAA national qualifier in the women's 10K.

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 33:59.39.

Women's Discus
Event Schedule:
First Round - Friday at 1:15 p.m.

Liberty Competitors: Patria Vaimaona (Jr., Waimanalo, Hawaii) and Chelsea Igberaese (Fr., Dacula, Ga.)

Entry Marks/Seeds: Vaimaona - 168-7 (51.39m)/No. 31, Igberaese - 167-0 (50.90m)/No. 36

Outlook: Liberty will send multiple women's discus throwers to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the first time since 2013, thanks to talented newcomers Vaimaona and Igberaese. One of the Lady Flames' three Preliminary Round discus throwers in 2013, Mychelle Cumings advanced to the national meet.

Vaimaona is coming off a Big South first-place performance on May 9, where she set the Liberty and conference records at 168-7.

Igberaese placed third in the Big South final, one week after unleashing a personal-best throw of 167-0 at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier. That effort landed just one centimeter shy of Cumings' career best.

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 threw 174-6.

Women's Pole Vault
Event Schedule:
First Round - Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Liberty Competitor: Jessie Glynn (R-Sr., Lynchburg, Va.)

Entry Mark/Seed: 13-3.5 (4.05m)/No. 33

Outlook: Glynn, the only Lady Flame ever to pole vault at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, returns to the event for the first time since 2015.

Glynn punched her ticket to Tampa with a personal-best 13-3.5 clearance which won the FSU Relays title on March 23. Most recently, her clutch third-attempt clearance at 13-2.25 captured the Big South women's pole vault championship on May 11.

The last Lady Flame to reach the NCAA national meet in the women's pole vault was Andrea Wildrick, who came in second in 2002. The event has certainly evolved since then. Wildrick's national runner-up clearance was 13-5.25. Last season, five women made it over 13-5.25 at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet but failed to qualify for Eugene.

Road to Eugene: After opening at a height of 12-4.75, 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 13-5.25 clearance was necessary for Eugene qualification.

Men's 110 Hurdles
Event Schedule:
First Round - Friday at 12:30 p.m., Quarterfinals - Saturday at 1:35 p.m.

Liberty Competitor: Jovaine Atkinson (R-So., Spanish Town, Jamaica)

Entry Mark/Seed: 13.77/No. 17

Outlook: Atkinson's 2018 got off to a blazing start, headlined by his fourth-place men's 60 hurdles finish at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

The redshirt sophomore from Jamaica then lowered his 110 hurdles program record to 13.77 in his season opener at the Texas Relays (March 31).

However, Atkinson sustained an injury the following week at the Gamecock Invitational and has not raced since.

If healthy, Atkinson is certainly a contender to become Liberty's first-ever NCAA national qualifier in the men's 110 hurdles. Last season, Atkinson advanced from the first round to the quarterfinals at this meet but could not quite punch his Eugene ticket.

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 2017, a time of 14.01 moved on to the quarterfinals, while a 13.85 was required for Eugene qualification.

Women's Hammer
Event Schedule:
First Round - Saturday at 8:45 a.m.

Liberty Competitor: Dasiana Larson (Sr., Garner, Iowa)

Entry Mark/Seed: 206-6 (62.94m)/No. 10

Outlook: Larson enters her third NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round competition as the Lady Flames' highest seed (No. 10), thanks to her program-record 206-6 effort.

That mark, which earned Larson's first Big South women's hammer title, is superior to that of either of the Lady Flames' recent women's hammer All-Americans. Melinda Bendik, a 2012 All-American, posted a 202-7 personal best. Jocelyn Williams, who earned All-America honors in 2015, topped out at 200-10.

Last season, a throw of 193-0 made it to Eugene in a water-soaked competition. Larson has thrown the hammer past that mark 17 times as a senior, including on 12 of her last 19 throws to close out the regular season.

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 threw 193-0.

Men's Javelin
Event Schedule:
First Round - Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Liberty Competitors: Denzel Pratt (Jr., Eleuthera, Bahamas) and Samuel Arter (R-So., Hamilton, Va.)

Entry Marks/Seeds: Pratt - 222-8 (67.88m)/No. 17, Arter - 218-11 (66.74m)/No. 28

Outlook: Big South champion Pratt and runner-up Arter give Liberty multiple men's javelin throwers at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the fourth consecutive season. Pratt placed 17th in 2016 and 16th in 2017, while Arter took 19th place in his NCAA Preliminary Round debut a year ago.

Pratt, who has now captured back-to-back Big South men's javelin crowns, threw a season-best 222-8 to win this year's title. The junior's personal best, a Bahamian-record 232-0, dates to the 2017 Big South meet.

Arter, in his second year of throwing the javelin, reached a season best of 218-11 at the Virginia Grand Prix on April 28. The former baseball player's career best (220-1) also came at last year's Big South Championship.

Elliot Galeone (2011) was the Flames' most recent men's javelin thrower to punch his NCAA national ticket.

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 in a rain-soaked competition reached 212-2.

Women's 4 x 100 Relay
Event Schedule:
Quarterfinals - Saturday at 12:45 p.m.

Liberty Competitors: Alexis Wilson (Fr., Chattanooga, Tenn.), Ty'Asia Dansbury (Fr., Baltimore, Md.), Kimone Green (Sr., St. Elizabeth, Jamaica) and Cortney Dowling (So., Pierre, S.D.)

Entry Mark/Seed: 44.80/No. 21

Outlook: The women's 4 x 100 relay will mark Liberty's first-ever competition at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in one of the relay events.

The Lady Flames earned their spot in Tampa with a Big South-winning time of 44.80 which shattered the previous school record of 45.60 from 2016.

Freshmen (Wilson and Dansbury) run the first two legs, followed by senior Green and sophomore Dowling. Dansbury will be competing in her first of two events on her 20th birthday, as she will later be joined on the 4 x 400 relay squad by Green and Dowling.

The Lady Flames' 4 x 100 relay legs combined to win four individual event titles at the Big South Championship, including the 100 (Dansbury), 200 (Dansbury), 400 (Dowling) and 400 hurdles (Green).

Road to Eugene: The top three teams in each of Saturday's three heats will advance to Eugene, along with the next three fastest time qualifiers. Last season, the final time qualifier to Eugene clocked a time of 44.44.

Men's Triple Jump
Event Schedule:
First Round - Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Liberty Competitor: Darrel Jones (Sr., Monroe, N.Y.)

Entry Mark/Seed: 51-10.5 (15.81m)/No. 19

Outlook: Jones is back for his third NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round appearance in the men's triple jump.

The senior from New York closed out his regular season in a big way, finishing as the top collegiate performer in each of his last three competitions. These included the Virginia Challenge on April 20 (51-5), Virginia Grand Prix on April 28 (personal-best 51-10.5) and Big South meet on May 11 (wind-legal personal-best 51-10).

Last season, a triple jump of 51-3 was necessary for Eugene qualification. Jones has met or exceeded that mark five times in his last two meets.

Clarence Powell was the Flames' last men's triple jumper to qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, doing so in 2010. Jones has been flirting with Powell's Liberty and Big South records of 52-1.25 all year.

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 51-3.

Men's 4 x 400 Relay
Event Schedule:
Quarterfinals - Saturday at 3:55 p.m.

Liberty Competitors: Alejandro Perlaza Zapata (Jr., Cali, Colombia), Michael Todd (Jr., Anchorage, Alaska), Jeff Jacobs (R-Jr., Stillwell, Kan.) and Jahquez Durham (So., Orlando, Fla.)

Entry Mark/Seed: 3:08.19/No. 18

Outlook: Since moving Perlaza Zapata from the anchor leg to the leadoff leg, the men's 4 x 400 relay squad has taken off. They clocked a time of 3:09.00 at the April 28 Virginia Grand Prix and then improved to 3:08.19 while winning the Big South title on May 11.

Liberty's first-ever men's relay team to compete at this meet consists of three of the top four runners in the Big South men's 400 final (champion Perlaza Zapata, third-place Durham and fourth-place Jacobs) and the men's 800 runner-up (Todd).

The Flames will most likely need to break the school record of 3:07.28 from 1997 if they hope to reach Eugene.

Road to Eugene: The top three teams in each of Saturday's three heats will advance to Eugene, along with the next three fastest time qualifiers. Last season, the final time qualifier to Eugene ran 3:06.14.

Women's 4 x 400 Relay
Event Schedule:
Quarterfinals - Saturday at 4:15 p.m.

Liberty Competitors: Kimone Green (Sr., St. Elizabeth, Jamaica), Tanner Ealum (So., Anchorage, Alaska), Cortney Dowling (So., Pierre, S.D.) and Ty'Asia Dansbury (Fr., Baltimore, Md.)

Entry Mark/Seed: 3:36.75/No. 20

Outlook: The Lady Flames punctuated their Big South team title by lowering their 4 x 400 relay program record from 3:40.32 to 3:36.75 in the meet's final women's event.

As a result, Liberty will now get to compete in the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round's final women's event, the 4 x 400 relay, for the first time.

The Lady Flames' lineup features the Big South women's 400 hurdles champion (Green), the 800 champion (Ealum), the 400 champion (Dowling) and the 100/200 champion (Dansbury). Running her fourth race of the day, Dansbury split an impressive 53.54 seconds to close out the Big South 4 x 400 title.

Road to Eugene: The top three teams in each of Saturday's three heats will advance to Eugene, along with the next three fastest time qualifiers. Last season, the final time qualifier to Eugene ran 3:36.59.