Liberty's Alejandro Perlaza Zapata wrapped up an impressive junior season by earning a bronze medal for host Colombia in the men's 4 x 400 relay, Thursday at the Central American and Caribbean Games. He also posted a fifth-place finish in the men's 400 final during the meet contested at Rafael Cotes Stadium.
Perlaza Zapata, who has competed in the 4 x 400 relay for Colombia at both the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2017 IAAF World Championships, was joined on Thursday by Diego Armando Palomeque, Rafith Rodriguez Lleneres and Yilmar Andres Herrera Madera. The quartet clocked a time of 3:04.35, finishing just behind champion Cuba (3:03.87) and runner-up Dominican Republic (3:03.92).
The previous evening, Perlaza Zapata placed fifth in a competitive men's 400 final in 45.72 seconds. The race was won by Rio Olympics men's 400 silver medalist Luguelin Santos of Dominican Republic in 44.59.
Perlaza Zapata's first season at Liberty saw him advance to the 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the men's 400. He also won eight conference titles, including the indoor IC4A 400, indoor Big South 200, 400 and 4 x 400 and outdoor 200, 400, 4 x 100 and 4 x 400.
Perlaza Zapata set four school records, including both the indoor (46.14) and outdoor (44.86) standards. He was also part of school record quartets in the indoor 4 x 400 (3:09.88) and outdoor sprint medley relay (3:20.65).
From an international perspective, Perlaza Zapata established the South American indoor 400 record (46.14) and broke the Colombian outdoor 400 standard (44.86). He was additionally the 2018 Colombian national champion for the 400.
Up Next With all of its athletes now finished competing in track & field for the year, Liberty will turn its attention to the 2018 cross country season. The Flames and Lady Flames will begin practicing on Aug. 20 in preparation for the Aug. 31 season-opening Virginia Tech Invitational in Blacksburg, Va.