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17 Flames Qualify for NCAA Preliminary Round Meet

May 16, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Denzel Pratt will throw the javelin at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round for the fourth time.

Denzel Pratt will throw the javelin at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round for the fourth time.

NCAA East Preliminary Round Men's Qualifiers

NCAA East Preliminary Round Women's Qualifiers

A group of 17 Liberty track & field athletes have qualified for next week's 2019 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet (May 23-25) in Jacksonville, Fla. The competition will take place at North Florida's Hodges Stadium, where Liberty swept the men's and women's team titles at last weekend's ASUN Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Nine men's athletes will compete in the Sunshine State, including Jose Ballivian (shot put, discus), Nick Doan (steeplechase), Anders Janes (pole vault), Felix Kandie (steeplechase), Azaria Kirwa (5K, 10K), Kyle Mitchell (shot put), Alejandro Perlaza Zapata (400), Denzel Pratt (javelin) and Michael Todd (800).

They will be joined in Jacksonville by eight Lady Flames, including Ty'Asia Dansbury (400, 4 x 400), Cortney Dowling (4 x 400), Tanner Ealum (800, 4 x 400), Chelsea Igberaese (discus), Taylen Langin (pole vault), Delaney McDowell (800, 4 x 400), Naomi Mojica (shot put) and Noel Palmer (10K).

This is the second-largest group Liberty has taken in the 10-year history of the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, following last season's program-record 27 qualifiers.

The meet will be held at Hodges Stadium for the fifth time, following the 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions. The three-day event, which will determine the qualifiers for the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, will begin May 23 at noon with the men's hammer and women's javelin. Liberty's first event will be the men's pole vault, featuring Janes, May 23 at 4:30 p.m.

The 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be contested June 5-8 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. It will mark Texas' first time hosting the event since 2004.

The top 12 finishers in each event at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will advance to Austin. Twelve qualifiers in each event will also move on to Austin from the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round meet, slated for next week in Sacramento, Calif.

The following is a breakdown of Liberty's NCAA postseason qualifiers by the numbers.

1: Denzel Pratt (men's javelin) is the only current Flame who competed at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in 2016, the last time the event took place in Jacksonville.

2: A pair of Liberty freshmen will compete in Jacksonville, including pole vaulters Anders Janes and Taylen Langin.

3: Three current Flames have competed at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships during their careers. Azaria Kirwa raced in the men's 5K in 2017, while Alejandro Perlaza Zapata (men's 400) and Denzel Pratt (men's javelin) each reached the NCAA national meet a year ago.

4: Denzel Pratt will throw the men's javelin at this meet for the fourth consecutive season. He is the second Liberty athlete to compete in the same NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round event four times, joining Mychelle Cumings in the women's shot put (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016).

5: Five seniors will be competing for Liberty in Jacksonville, including Azaria Kirwa, Delaney McDowell, Alejandro Perlaza Zapata, Denzel Pratt and Michael Todd.

5: Alejandro Perlaza Zapata is Liberty's highest NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round seed, as he enters at No. 5 in the men's 400 at 45.56.

6: Six of Liberty's 17 qualifiers will make their NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round debuts. The Flames' first-time qualifiers include Jose Ballivian, Nick Doan, Anders Janes, Felix Kandie, Taylen Langin and Kyle Mitchell.

7: Liberty's sophomore class will be well represented in Jacksonville, by the following seven athletes: Jose Ballivian, Ty'Asia Dansbury, Chelsea Igberaese, Felix Kandie, Kyle Mitchell, Naomi Mojica and Noel Palmer.

13: Azaria Kirwa and the Liberty women's 4 x 400 relay team will look to improve upon dreaded 13th-place finishes at this meet. Kirwa placed 13th in the men's 10K in both 2017 and 2018. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames took 13th place in the 4 x 400 relay a year ago. Ty'Asia Dansbury, Cortney Dowling and Tanner Ealum all return from that squad which missed the NCAA national meet by one spot and 0.67 seconds.

57: Michael Todd ranks No. 57 in the East Region with his season-best 800 time of 1:50.24. However, he was invited to be part of the 48-member field in Jacksonville after numerous runners ahead of him on the performance list scratched from the event.