(L-R): Jovaine Atkinson, Jahquez Durham, Christian Lyon, Coach Andrew "Pete" McFadden and Travis Henderson celebrate USA Team's silver medal in the men's 4 x 100 relay.
Liberty track & field athletes earned 11 medals for USA Team at the inaugural FISU America Games, Saturday through Monday at the Brazilian Paralympic Training Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The medals included one gold, six silvers and four bronze.
Under the direction of Liberty coaches Brant Tolsma, Andrew "Pete" McFadden, Clendon Henderson and Shawn Venable, USA Team captured a total of 23 track & field medals against opponents from Canada, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay, Honduras, Mexico and Uruguay.
Sprinter Christian Lyon, who will begin his Liberty track & field career in 2019, following two years at Barton Community College, was the Flames' most decorated athlete in Sao Paulo. He sprinted to gold in the men's 100-meter dash and helped USA Team take silver in the men's 4 x 100 relay and bronze in the men's 4 x 400.
Gold Medal (1) Lyon's gold medal in the men's 100 highlighted a successful Saturday, which saw Liberty athletes take home six total medals. He sped to a wind-aided time of 10.37 seconds, edging Mexico's Arturo Bernardo Sepulveda Furber (10.44) for top honors.
Silver Medals (6) Liberty seniors Dasiana Larson, Darrel Jones, Brenna Smith and Travis Henderson had a hand in four of the Flames' six silver medal-winning performances.
Larson just missed a gold medal, as her top women's hammer throw of 195-9 landed just one inch shy of champion Daniela Aylen Gomez from Argentina.
Jones triple jumped an impressive 51-5 into a headwind, losing to only reigning Brazilian national champion Alexsandro do Nascimento de Melo.
Smith wrapped up her collegiate career with a women's javelin silver medal, thanks to a 143-7 effort.
Henderson led off for an all-Liberty men's 4 x 100 quartet, which also included Lyon, Jahquez Durham and Jovaine Atkinson. Their final time was 41.63 seconds, good for the silver medal.
One day earlier, Atkinson had garnered the men's 110 hurdles silver medal. The All-American was nipped at the finish line by Mexico's Salvador Garcia, 14.00 to 14.01.
The lone Liberty freshman to win a medal in Brazil, Noel Palmer took second place in the women's 5K at 17:40.64.
Bronze Medals (4) Senior Alyssa Karle took home a bronze medal with her women's steeplechase time of 11:39.88.
Despite suffering an injury in the first event (100-meter dash), Markus Ballengee finished with a decathlon bronze medal. His top performance was a personal-best 144-7 discus heave.
USA Team concluded the three days of competition with bronze medals in both 4 x 400 relays. Cortney Dowling led off for the women's squad, which posted a time of 3:49.98.
Flames Lyon, Michael Todd and Durham ran the first three legs of a competitive men's 4 x 400. USA Team ended up a close third in 3:11.47, just behind Brazil (3:10.89) and Mexico (3:11.22).
Up Next Ballengee will head to Knoxville, Tenn., for the 25th Thorpe Cup, Friday and Saturday at Tom Black Track. After competing for USA Team in Brazil, the sophomore will represent Team USA in its annual head-to-head multi-event competition against Germany.
The rest of Liberty's USA Team delegation will remain in Brazil to assist with a community "mini Olympics," paint and visit with children at Baptist Children's Home.
Meanwhile, junior Alejandro Perlaza Zapata is expected to represent host Colombia at the Central American & Caribbean Games, which begin Sunday in Barranquilla.