Chelsea Igberaese (left) and Naomi Mojica (right) accounted for two of Liberty's six ASUN event victories on Friday.
Liberty won six events on the opening day of the 2019 ASUN Outdoor Track & Field Championships, including four in meet-record fashion. As a result, the Flames and Lady Flames both top the team standings after Friday's action at Hodges Stadium.
Seeking its 13th straight outdoor conference championship, the Liberty men's squad posted four victories on the day, opening up a 21-point advantage (83-62) over six-time defending ASUN outdoor champion Kennesaw State through six events. The Flames' victors included Felix Kandie in the steeplechase (meet-record 9:04.76), Azaria Kirwa in the 10K (meet-record 29:47.01), Kyle Mitchell in the shot put (meet-record 58-6.5) and Anders Janes in the pole vault (16-5.5).
On the women's side, the Lady Flames tallied 77 points during the day's six events, putting them 20 points clear of back-to-back ASUN champion Kennesaw State at this juncture. Both of Liberty's event titles came in field events, thanks to the sophomore duo of Naomi Mojica (meet-record 50-5.25) and Chelsea Igberaese (186-10).
Igberaese and Mojica helped to set the tone for the Lady Flames' successful day, posting a 1-2 finish in the women's hammer, the meet's first event to go final. Igberaese needed a personal-best 186-10 effort in round five to come from behind and top Mojica, who had added more than 17 feet to her previous best with an opening-round mark of 185-8.
Mojica later broke the meet record five times on her way to a women's shot put victory, ending up with a 50-5.25 effort on her final attempt. The Mexico native won the event by nearly two and a half feet, finishing off a day where she totaled 18 points by herself. Mojica completed a sweep of the 2019 ASUN indoor and outdoor women's shot put titles and is now four-for-four in winning conference shot put competitions during her career.
Mitchell and teammate Jose Ballivian (58-1) both took down the previous men's shot put meet record by more than two and a half feet during a 1-2 finish in the event. Ballivian was on the verge of matching Mojica's feat of sweeping the ASUN indoor and outdoor shot put championships for 2019. However, Mitchell pulled out the victory with a 58-6.5 effort in round six.
Around the same time Mitchell and Ballivian were battling it out, Janes edged two-time ASUN champion and top seed Brenton Rosa of Kennesaw State in a back-and-forth men's pole vault competition. Both athletes made it over 16-5.5, but Janes did so on his second attempt while Rosa needed three tries. Thus, Janes was awarded the victory while ASUN indoor champion Reilly Stroot added a third-place finish for the Flames at 16-1.75.
Kandie and Nick Doan (9:15.54) swept the top two spots in the men's steeplechase, both outdueling three-time defending champion Fynn Timm of the host North Florida Ospreys. Kandie's victory came in just the second 3K steeplechase of his career.
Kirwa closed out the Flames' night with a clinic in the men's 10K, pacing four Liberty runners within the six scoring positions. The senior's winning time of 29:47.01 shattered the meet record by nearly 30 seconds and outdistanced runner-up Noah Perkins of North Florida by 52.48 seconds. Kirwa has now captured titles at all three of his ASUN Championship appearances this year, also including the cross country crown and the indoor 5K championship.
Liberty's pairing of Jeremy Davis (3,482) and Kysheen Myrick (3,459) own the top two spots at the midway mark of the decathlon competition. Competing on a gimpy hamstring, Davis won the decathlon long jump (22-7.75) and high jumped a personal-best 6-0. He later came back to claim third place in the open men's long jump with a 22-6.25 leap.
Myrick paced the decathletes in the 100 (personal-best 11.28), shot put (outdoor personal-best 43-6.5) and high jump (6-1.25), with his shot put mark setting a meet record.
Seeking her third consecutive conference heptathlon title, Kylie Polsgrove's 3,104 points give the senior a 223-point lead through Friday's quartet of events. She tied for the competition's best high jump clearance (5-3.75) and raced to victory in the heptathlon 200 (25.33).
The Lady Flames placed second and third in both the pole vault and 10K. In the pole vault, it was indoor champion Taylen Langin (second, 12-2.5) and Rachel Milnes (12-2.5) doing the honors. Greer Wilson was the 10K runner-up in 37:22.78 after leading for much of the race, while freshman Emma Bower took third in 37:48.82 in her 10K debut.
Fiona Barnes was Liberty's final all-conference performer on the warm, sunny day, long jumping 18-8 for third place in the event.
Chelsea Stocki paced the Lady Flames in the women's steeplechase with a fifth-place showing in a Liberty freshman-record time of 11:21.29.
Liberty also enjoyed a successful evening of qualifying for Saturday's finals. Freshman Jada Thomas was the No. 1 qualifier in the women's 100 hurdles at 14.14. Meanwhile, all four Flames moved on to the men's 100 final, including Alejandro Perlaza Zapata (10.63), Elijah Pierson (10.74), Jonathan Doss (10.89) and Greg Edwards (11.03).
Women's Team Standings (Through 6 Events) 1) Liberty – 77 2) Kennesaw State – 57 3) Jacksonville – 41 4) North Florida – 11
Men's Team Standings (Through 6 Events) 1) Liberty – 83 2) Kennesaw State – 62 3) North Florida – 28 4) NJIT – 12 5) Lipscomb – 1
Women's ASUN Champions Chelsea Igberaese – Hammer – 186-10 Naomi Mojica – Shot Put – 50-5.25
Men's ASUN Champions Anders Janes – Pole Vault – 16-5.5 Felix Kandie – Steeplechase – 9:04.76 Azaria Kirwa – 10K – 29:47.01 Kyle Mitchell – Shot Put – 58-6.5
Other Women's Top 3 Finishers 2nd – Taylen Langin – Pole Vault – 12-2.5 2nd – Naomi Mojica – Hammer – 185-8 2nd – Greer Wilson – 10K – 37:22.78 3rd – Fiona Barnes – Long Jump – 18-8 3rd – Emma Bower – 10K – 37:48.82 3rd – Rachel Milnes – Pole Vault – 12-2.5
Other Men's Top 3 Finishers 2nd – Jose Ballivian – Shot Put – 58-1 2nd – Nick Doan – Steeplechase – 9:15.54 3rd – Jeremy Davis – Long Jump – 22-6.25 3rd – Reilly Stroot – Pole Vault – 16-1.75
Women's Record Breakers Meet Record – Shot Put – Naomi Mojica – 50-5.25 Old Record: 48-2.75 by Jacksonville's Samantha Turner in 2014
Freshman Record – Steeplechase – Chelsea Stocki – 11:21.29 Old Record: 11:27.17 by Mary Kate McElroy in 2018
Men's Record Breakers Meet Record – Steeplechase – Felix Kandie – 9:04.76 Old Record: 9:09.85 by ETSU's Adam Chase in 2013
Meet Record – 10K – Azaria Kirwa – 29:47.01 Old Record: 30:16.81 by USC Upstate's Gilbert Kemboi in 2012
Meet Record – Shot Put – Kyle Mitchell – 58-6.5 Old Record: 55-5 by Kennesaw State's Joshua McNair in 2010
Meet Record – Decathlon Shot Put – Kysheen Myrick – 43-6.5 Old Record: 40-9.75 by Kennesaw State's Joshua Mulder in 2017
Updates to Liberty's All-Time Women's Top 10 List Hammer – No. 4 – Chelsea Igberaese – 186-10 Hammer – No. 6 – Naomi Mojica – 185-8 Steeplechase – No. 6 – Chelsea Stocki – 11:21.29
Heptathlon Scores (Through 4 Events) 1) Kylie Polsgrove, Liberty – 3,104 2) Jessica Watkins, Kennesaw State – 2,881 3) Lauren Polimeno, Jacksonville – 2,846 4) Emily Myslinski, Jacksonville – 2,803 5) Jamie Gray, Liberty – 2,780 6) Esther Daramola, NJIT – 2,168
Decathlon Scores (Through 5 Events) 1) Jeremy Davis, Liberty – 3,482 2) Kysheen Myrick, Liberty – 3,459 3) Pritinder Singh, NJIT – 3,332 4) Connor Penrod, NJIT – 3,009 5) Caleb Rider, Liberty – 2,965
Up Next The 2019 ASUN Outdoor Track & Field Championships will conclude with a full day of competition on Saturday at Hodges Stadium. The meet will resume at 9 a.m. with the decathlon 110-meter hurdles.
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