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Flame Throwers Excel at Gamecock Invitational

April 13, 2019  Columbia, S.C.  RSS
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Jose Ballivian was the Gamecock Invitational men's discus champion.

Jose Ballivian was the Gamecock Invitational men's discus champion.

Liberty's throwers produced five of the team's seven event victories, Saturday at the Gamecock Invitational at Sheila & Morris Cregger Track. Meanwhile, All-American Alejandro Perlaza Zapata clocked an impressive 45.79 in the first 400 of his senior outdoor season.

The Flames' throwing victories came courtesy of four sophomores (Jose Ballivian – men's discus – 171-6; Paige Demetriades – women's javelin – 134-1; Chelsea Igberaese – women's discus – 177-3; Naomi Mojica – women's shot put – 49-11.75) and one senior (Denzel Pratt – men's javelin – 215-6). Pratt won his event by nearly 40 feet, while Demetriades did not pull out her victory until the sixth and final round.

Igberaese continued her outstanding outdoor campaign, picking up her third discus victory of the year and posting two other top-five finishes. The Georgia native threw the hammer a season-best 181-7 for second place and took fifth in the women's shot put (42-5.5).

Perlaza Zapata's 45.79 clocking trailed only the world-leading 44.53 dropped by South Carolina's Quincy Hall in the men's 400 on Saturday. The Olympian became the Flames' 10th qualifier to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet this season and should rank among the NCAA's top 10 400-meter runners when all of this weekend's meets are complete.

Liberty posted 1-2 finishes in three different events in Columbia, including the women's triple jump (Adrianna Mitchell – 40-9 and Makenzy Mizera – 40-4), men's 1,500 (Nick Doan – 3:54.43 and Felix Kandie – 3:54.87) and men's discus (Ballivian and Kyle Mitchell – 158-5).

Mizera fared well in both women's horizontal jumps, also including a season-best 19-0.5 effort for seventh place in the long jump. The 19-0.5 effort marked the longest outdoor jump by a Lady Flame since 2006.

The Flames boasted the runner-up in both pole vault competitions, thanks to Taylen Langin (12-9.5) and Anders Janes (16-6.75).

Cortney Dowling (outdoor personal-best 54.05) and Ty'Asia Dansbury (personal-best 54.17) were the second and third fastest collegiate finishers in a loaded women's 400 field. Dowling now ranks No. 2 in program history, while Dansbury sits at No. 4. Dansbury's day also included a season-best 23.88 effort at 200 meters.

In the men's 200, first-year Flame Elijah Pierson slashed his personal best from 21.72 to 21.25, marking the fastest time in the ASUN Conference this season.

Women's Event Winners
Paige Demetriades – Javelin – 134-1 (Won on final throw)
Chelsea Igberaese – Discus – 177-3
Adrianna Mitchell – Triple Jump – 40-9
Naomi Mojica – Shot Put – 49-11.75

Men's Event Winners
Jose Ballivian – Discus – 171-6
Nick Doan – 1,500 – 3:54.43
Denzel Pratt – Javelin – 215-6 (Won by 39 feet, 8 inches)

Other Women's Top 3 Finishers
2nd – Chelsea Igberaese – Hammer – 181-7
2nd – Taylen Langin – Pole Vault – 12-9.5
2nd – Makenzy Mizera – Triple Jump – 40-4

Other Men's Top 3 Finishers
2nd – Anders Janes – Pole Vault – 16-6.75
2nd – Felix Kandie – 1,500 – 3:54.87
2nd – Benjamin Klemmeck – 5K – 15:00.33
2nd – Kyle Mitchell – Discus – 158-5
2nd – Alejandro Perlaza Zapata – 400 – 45.79
3rd – Jose Ballivian – Shot Put – 57-7
3rd – Paul Squires – 5K – 15:27.74

New Men's NCAA East Preliminary Round Qualifiers
Alejandro Perlaza Zapata – 400 – 45.79

Updates to Liberty's All-Time Women's Top 10 List
400 – No. 2 – Cortney Dowling – 54.05
400 – No. 4 – Ty'Asia Dansbury – 54.17
Triple Jump – No. 4 – Adrianna Mitchell – 40-9
Triple Jump – No. 6 – Makenzy Mizera – 40-4
Long Jump – No. 7 – Makenzy Mizera – 19-0.5 (longest outdoor mark by a Lady Flame since 2006)

Up Next
Liberty's athletes will be split between meets at two different ACC venues next weekend. Some Flames and Lady Flames will remain in the Commonwealth for the Virginia Challenge, Friday and Saturday at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville, Va.

Other Liberty athletes will venture to Morris Williams Stadium in Durham, N.C., for the Duke Invitational, also slated for Friday and Saturday.