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Liberty Track to Compete in 3 States This Weekend

April 10, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty track & field athletes will be in action in three different states this weekend. The senior duo of Delaney McDowell and Kylie Polsgrove will compete in the Tennessee Relays, Thursday and Friday in Knoxville, Tenn. A group largely consisting of women's distance runners will stay in Lynchburg for Saturday's WildCat Invitational at Randolph College. The remainder of the Flames and Lady Flames will venture to Columbia, S.C., for the Gamecock Invitational on Saturday.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Friday's events at the Tennessee Relays will be broadcasted on the SEC Network+.

Live results will be available throughout all three of this weekend's meets.

Periodic updates will also be posted to the Liberty Track & Field/Cross Country Twitter account, @Liberty_XCTF.

Weather Report
Thursday's weather forecast for the Tennessee Relays shows partly cloudy skies and a high temperature around 80. Friday will be more unsettled with a chance of thunderstorms and a high in the mid 70s.

Saturday in Lynchburg features an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms and a high temperature reaching the mid 70s.

Thunderstorms are also likely in Columbia on Saturday with the high approaching 85 degrees.

Scouting the Competition
Liberty will face some stiff competition at both the Tennessee Relays and Gamecock Invitational.

The Tennessee Relays' featured teams include Auburn, Duke, Indiana, NC State, Ohio State, Pitt, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and the host Vols.

Meanwhile, Clemson, Ohio State and host South Carolina will all be in action in Columbia.

The Flames and Lady Flames competing at the WildCat Invitational will face mostly NCAA Division III opposition.

Looking Back
Alejandro Perlaza Zapata made a successful outdoor collegiate debut in the men's 400 at last year's Gamecock Invitational, winning the event in 46.68 seconds on a soggy day in Columbia. He and Caleb Hart (men's javelin) are the only Flames among Liberty's seven event champions from the 2018 Gamecock Invitational who will be back to defend their titles on Saturday.

Liberty won 13 events at last year's WildCat Invitational, headlined by Alexis Wilson's sweep of the women's 100 and 200 titles. Other impressive marks included an 18-5 long jump by Nikayla Hoyte and a winning 400 time of 47.91 for Jahquez Durham.

It has been more than 20 years since Liberty has competed at the Tennessee Relays, formerly known as the Dogwood Relays and Sea Ray Relays. Kevin Coley was the men's long jump champion at the 1995 Sea Ray Relays, while Delethea Quarles was the Dogwood Relays heptathlon runner-up in 1988.

Record Breakers
Liberty has broken four school records this season, all by female athletes. The Lady Flames' record breakers include:

Chelsea Igberaese – Women's Discus – 179-6
Naomi Mojica – Women's Shot Put – 52-3.75
Noel Palmer – Women's 10K – 33:56.67
Ty'Asia Dansbury, Cortney Dowling, Tanner Ealum, Delaney McDowell – Women's Sprint Medley Relay – 3:51.67

Igberaese and Mojica will both look to improve upon their records at the Gamecock Invitational, while Palmer will step down in distance to the 1,500 at the WildCat Invitational.

Liberty will not be chasing fast relay times this weekend with McDowell focusing on the 800 at the Tennessee Relays.

High-Powered Heptathlete
Senior Kylie Polsgrove will get Liberty's week of competition started, as she will make her heptathlon season debut, Thursday and Friday at the Tennessee Relays. The 2017 and 2018 Big South heptathlon champion will be competing in her first multi event since winning the ECAC pentathlon title with a school-record 3,986 points on March 1.

Polsgrove ranks No. 3 all-time at Liberty in the heptathlon with a personal-best score of 5,184 from the 2017 Virginia Challenge. She trails only Danielle McNaney (5,504 in 2005) and Arlene Zelinskas (5,242 in 2007).

Among the Nation's Best
Six Liberty athletes rank among the nation's top 50 performers in their respective events, topped by senior Denzel Pratt's No. 16 listing in the men's javelin.

No. 16 – Denzel Pratt – Men's Javelin – 227-1
No. 18 – Chelsea Igberaese – Women's Discus – 179-6
No. 29 – Naomi Mojica – Women's Shot Put – 52-3.75
No. 36 – Noel Palmer – Women's 10K – 33:56.67
No. 39 – Azaria Kirwa – Men's 5K – 14:04.70
No. 45 – Kyle Mitchell – Men's Shot Put – 59-2.75

Atop the ASUN
About a month before the 2019 ASUN Outdoor Track & Field Championships (May 10-11), Liberty athletes rank No. 1 in the ASUN Conference in 14 different events.

Men's 100 – Elijah Pierson (10.64)
Men's 4 x 400 – Durham, Todd, Perlaza Zapata, Smalley (3:12.20)
Men's Pole Vault – Anders Janes (16-7.5)
Men's Shot Put – Kyle Mitchell (59-2.75)
Men's Discus – Jose Ballivian (173-10)
Men's Javelin – Denzel Pratt (227-1)
Women's 1,500 – Delaney McDowell (4:29.99)
Women's 10K – Noel Palmer (33:56.67)
Women's 400 Hurdles – Kylie Polsgrove (1:01.09)
Women's 4 x 400 – Ealum, Dansbury, McDowell, Dowling (3:38.67)
Women's Triple Jump – Adrianna Mitchell (40-4.25)
Women's Shot Put – Naomi Mojica (52-3.75)
Women's Discus – Chelsea Igberaese (179-6)
Women's Javelin – Paige Demetriades (125-3)

Punching Tickets to Jacksonville
The 2019 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will be contested at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., May 23-25. The East Region's top 48 performers in each individual event (other than the heptathlon and decathlon) and top 24 teams in each relay will compete at the meet, looking to qualify for the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

At this stage of the season, eight Liberty athletes appear to have punched their tickets to compete in Jacksonville, based upon previous seasons' qualifying requirements. They include the following athletes:

Jose Ballivian – Men's Shot Put
Anders Janes – Men's Pole Vault
Azaria Kirwa – Men's 5K
Kyle Mitchell – Men's Shot Put
Denzel Pratt – Men's Javelin

Chelsea Igberaese – Women's Discus
Naomi Mojica – Women's Shot Put
Noel Palmer – Women's 10K

Up Next
Liberty will again split its athletes between multiple meets next weekend. Some Flames and Lady Flames will compete in the Virginia Challenge, April 19-20 at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville, Va. Others will head to Morris Williams Track & Field Stadium in Durham, N.C., for the April 19-20 Duke Invitational.