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Liberty Men's Track Ranked No. 7 Nationally

January 30, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Josh McDougal has led the Flames to a Top 10 national ranking. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

Josh McDougal has led the Flames to a Top 10 national ranking. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

Off to a strong start to the season, the Liberty men's track & field team is listed No. 7 in the first regular-season U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I men's indoor track & field national rankings.

SEC schools hold down the top two spots in the rankings, compiled strictly from the NCAA descending order lists. Arkansas ranks first in the nation and is followed closely by Tennessee.

The Flames were listed just outside the Top 25 in the preseason poll, but have skyrocketed up the chart due to a number of standout early-season performances. Liberty's lofty ranking was made possible by a quartet of athletes who have already provisionally qualified for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, to be held March 14-15 in Fayetteville, Ark.

Josh McDougal (Sr., Peru, N.Y.) has achieved the automatic qualifying standard with his world-leading 5,000-meter time of 13:45.16. He also ranks No. 3 on the national performance list with a provisional mark of 7:57.90 in the 3,000 meters.

A pair of Liberty throwers have also met the provisional standards in their respective specialties. Clendon Henderson (Sr., Meadow, Texas) is listed No. 4 with his school-record 61-10.5 shot put, and classmate Jon Hart (Wyomissing, Pa.) is tied for 13th in the weight throw, at 65-2.

Junior Matt Parker (Rome, N.Y.) is the final Liberty athlete who has met the qualifying standard in his event. His 7-0.25 high jump is tied for 11th best in the nation.

Head coach Brant Tolsma's athletes will be divided between two meets this weekend. Hart, Henderson and Parker are bound for University Park, Pa., for Friday and Saturday's Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, hosted by Penn State. Some of Liberty's other athletes will travel across the Blue Ridge Mountains to Lexington, Va., on Saturday for the VMI Winter Relays.

USTFCCCA Division I men's indoor track & field rankings
Rank - School (Points) 
1 - Arkansas (117.21)
2 - Tennessee (109.12)
3 - Oklahoma (84.70)
4 - Boise State (80.46)
5 - Texas Tech (77.72)
6 - Nebraska (69.73) 
7 - Liberty (68.00)
8 - Baylor (64.56)
9 - Clemson (60.25)
10 - LSU (58.37)
11 - Florida (55.61)
12 - Arizona (53.81)
13 - BYU (52.42)
14 - Auburn (46.48)
15 - Idaho (42.95)
16 - South Carolina (36.93)
17 - Princeton (35.51)
18 - La Salle (35.14)
19 - Arizona State (34.66)
20 - Oral Roberts (34.10)
21 - Ohio State (33.71)
22 - Florida State (31.37)
23 - Washington (27.96)
24 - Michigan (27.38)
25 - Purdue (27.32)