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Flames, Lady Flames Both Place 3rd at FSU Relays

March 22, 2019  Tallahassee, Fla.  RSS
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Naomi Mojica won the women's shot put with a new school-record mark of 52-3.75. (Photo by R. Taylor Jones)

Naomi Mojica won the women's shot put with a new school-record mark of 52-3.75. (Photo by R. Taylor Jones)

Competing against numerous nationally-ranked opponents, the Liberty men's and women's track & field teams each placed third at the 40th FSU Relays on a sun-drenched Friday at Mike Long Track.

The men's squad totaled 101.5 points, trailing only No. 4 Florida (124.5) and host No. 11 Florida State (120) among the field of eight teams. It marked Liberty's third straight lofty men's placement at the FSU Relays, following runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2018. Senior Denzel Pratt provided the Flames' top individual performance of the day, winning the men's javelin with an NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round-qualifying mark of 225-8.

Meanwhile, the Lady Flames matched the 2017 squad for Liberty's best-ever women's showing at this meet, finishing with 100 points for third place out of eight entrants. No. 6 Florida State (155) and No. 10 Florida (106) took the top two spots, while the Lady Flames finished in front of No. 12 Alabama, No. 18 Virginia Tech and No. 25 Georgia Tech.

Naomi Mojica headlined the Lady Flames' best event of the day, the women's shot put. The sophomore won the competition with a 52-3.75 heave which broke her own school record and punched her NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round ticket. The reigning ASUN Women's Field Athlete of the Week produced the four longest throws of the competition (52-3.75, 52-2.75, 51-8.25 and 51-1.5).

Classmate Chelsea Igberaese added a fourth-place finish, making it a 15-point event for the Lady Flames. Igberaese added more than four feet to her previous personal best with her 49-9.75 effort which ranks No. 3 all-time at Liberty.

On the men's side, Kyle Mitchell also earned a trip to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in the shot put (57-4.75), while Jose Ballivian (discus, 171-3) and Sam Mastro (hammer, 167-5) added third-place finishes in their respective events.

Through the first two weeks of the outdoor season, the Liberty throws crew has now recorded nine first-place finishes and qualified four athletes to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.

Competing in her hometown of Tallahassee, Adrianna Mitchell finished as the women's triple jump runner-up. Her 40-4.25 leap ranks No. 5 all-time for the Lady Flames.

Mitchell was one of four Floridians to enjoy a successful Friday for the Flames, also including Jonny Saintil (third place in men's triple jump, 46-5.25), Abby Thorpe (tie for third in women's high jump, 5-6.5) and Jahquez Durham (fourth in men's 4 x 400 relay, 3:12.20).

Durham was followed on the 4 x 400 by Michael Todd, Alejandro Perlaza Zapata and Brad Smalley. Competing for the first time since his sixth-place finish in the men's 400 at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, Perlaza Zapata split an impressive 45.86 seconds for his leg.

Both of the Lady Flames' relay squads produced top 10 times in program history, including the 4 x 100 grouping of Alexis Wilson, Ty'Asia Dansbury, Alexis Rolan and Cortney Dowling (fourth place, 45.99) and the 4 x 400 quartet of Rolan, Dansbury, Delaney McDowell and Dowling (fifth place, 3:43.63). Dowling highlighted the 4 x 400 performance with a 53.67-second anchor leg carry.

McDowell, who clocked 55.84 seconds for her leg of the 4 x 400, was just two hours removed from winning her heat of the women's 1,500 in 4:29.99. That performance sliced more than seven seconds from her previous personal best and ranks No. 7 in program history.

Running the rarely contested men's 2K steeplechase, Felix Kandie placed second overall and first among collegiate entrants. His time of 5:40.83 in his steeplechase debut ranks No. 1 in the NCAA and No. 2 in the world for 2019. It was also superior to the previous facility record of 5:53.75.

Other Flames to finish second on Friday included Kylie Polsgrove in the women's 400 hurdles (personal-best 1:01.09), Anders Janes in the men's pole vault (15-7) and Michael Todd in a tightly contested men's 800 (1:50.45). For Todd, it was his second runner-up showing in the FSU Relays 800 in the last three years.

Women's Team Standings
1) No. 6 Florida State – 155
2) No. 10 Florida – 106
3) Liberty – 100
4) Auburn – 82
5) No. 12 Alabama – 80
6) No. 25 Georgia Tech – 77
7) Pitt – 54
8) No. 18 Virginia Tech – 32

Men's Team Standings
1) No. 4 Florida – 124.5
2) No. 11 Florida State – 120
3) Liberty – 101.5
4) Auburn – 95
5) Pitt – 67
6) Georgia Tech – 65
7) No. 3 Alabama – 29
8) Virginia Tech – 17

Women's Event Winners
Naomi Mojica – Shot Put – 52-3.75

Men's Event Winners
Denzel Pratt – Javelin – 225-8

Other Women's Top 3 Finishers
2nd – Adrianna Mitchell – Triple Jump – 40-4.25
2nd – Kylie Polsgrove – 400 Hurdles – 1:01.09
3rd – Rachel Milnes – Pole Vault – 11-5.75
Tie for 3rd – Abby Thorpe – High Jump – 5-6.5

Other Men's Top 3 Finishers
2nd – Anders Janes – Pole Vault – 15-7
2nd – Felix Kandie – 2K Steeplechase – 5:40.83 (1st collegiate)
2nd – Michael Todd – 800 – 1:50.45
3rd – Jose Ballivian – Discus – 171-3
3rd – Augostine Lisoreng – 5K – 15:11.94
3rd – Sam Mastro – Hammer – 167-5
3rd – Jonny Saintil – Triple Jump – 46-5.25

Women's Record Breakers
School Record – Shot Put – Naomi Mojica – 52-3.75
Old Record: 52-3.25 by Mojica at the 2018 Big South Championship

New Women's NCAA East Preliminary Round Qualifiers
Naomi Mojica – Shot Put – 52-3.75

New Men's NCAA East Preliminary Round Qualifiers
Kyle Mitchell – Shot Put – 57-4.75
Denzel Pratt – Javelin – 225-8

Updates to Liberty's All-Time Women's Top 10 List
Shot Put – No. 1 – Naomi Mojica – 52-3.75
Shot Put – No. 3 – Chelsea Igberaese – 49-9.75 (personal best by more than four feet)
Triple Jump – No. 5 – Adrianna Mitchell – 40-4.25
1,500 – No. 7 – Delaney McDowell – 4:29.99
400 Hurdles – No. 7 – Kylie Polsgrove – 1:01.09
4 x 400 – No. 7 – Alexis Rolan, Ty'Asia Dansbury, Delaney McDowell, Cortney Dowling – 3:43.63
4 x 100 – No. 8 – Alexis Wilson, Ty'Asia Dansbury, Alexis Rolan, Cortney Dowling – 45.99
High Jump – No. 8 – Abby Thorpe – 5-6.5
Hammer – No. 8 – Marvalyn Vernon – 171-8

Updates to Liberty's All-Time Men's Top 10 List
Shot Put – No. 6 – Kyle Mitchell – 57-4.75
Discus – No. 6 – Jose Ballivian – 171-3

Up Next
Liberty will split its team between two different meets next weekend. Some Flames and Lady Flames will head to Austin, Texas for the 92nd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. The meet will run from Thursday through Saturday at Mike A. Myers Stadium, site of the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Other Liberty competitors will take part in the Raleigh Relays, next Friday and Saturday at the Paul Derr Track & Field Facility in Raleigh, N.C.