Emma Bower (center, No. 14) was the Virginia Tech Invitational women's 5K champion on Saturday.
Liberty sophomore Emma Bower made a successful first attempt at the indoor 5K on Saturday, winning the event to headline the Flames' final day of competition at the Virginia Tech Invitational at Rector Field House.
Bower clocked a time of 17:52.55 to win by more than 45 seconds. Fellow sophomore Jamie Anderson, also contesting the 5K distance indoors for the first time, added a third-place finish in 18:45.29.
The Flames closed the two-day meet with a bang, taking third place in the men's 4 x 400 relay in 3:13.30. The fifth-fastest quartet in program history was bookended by newcomers, as Christian Lyon led off in 48.28 and Felix Lawrence anchored in 48.72. In between, seniors Jahquez Durham (47.87) and Brad Smalley (48.44) kept the Flames in contention with eventual champion Virginia Tech and runner-up North Carolina. Durham has now been a part of the five fastest indoor men's 4 x 400 groupings in Flames history.
Liberty's throws crew wrapped up an impressive opening weekend on Saturday. After placing three women's weight throwers among the top seven on Friday, the Flames boasted two of the top seven finishers in both shot put competitions.
Kyle Mitchell (58-11.5) and Jose Ballivian (57-1.5) came in fifth and seventh, respectively, in the men's shot put. Mitchell's indoor personal best moves him into fourth place all-time for the Flames.
Naomi Mojica (48-1.75) and Chelsea Igberaese (47-10) then went 6-7 in the women's shot put. Igberaese added two and a half feet to her previous indoor best and now sits fourth on Liberty's all-time ledger.
Liberty also got encouraging results from young high jumpers, including a fourth-place showing by sophomore Abby Thorpe (indoor personal-best 5-5.75) on the women's side and a seventh-place effort by freshman Quinten Clay (6-8.75) in the men's competition. Clay's collegiate debut was especially impressive, considering he was a basketball player in high school.
Women's Event Winners Emma Bower – 5K – 17:52.55
Other Women's Top 3 Finishers 3rd – Jamie Anderson – 5K – 18:45.29
Men's Top 3 Finishers 3rd – Christian Lyon, Jahquez Durham, Brad Smalley, Felix Lawrence – 4 x 400 – 3:13.30
Updates to Liberty's All-Time Women's Top 10 List Shot Put – No. 4 – Chelsea Igberaese – 47-10 High Jump – Tie for No. 8 – Abby Thorpe – 5-5.75
Updates to Liberty's All-Time Men's Top 10 List Shot Put – No. 4 – Kyle Mitchell – 58-11.5 4 x 400 - No. 5 – Lyon, Durham, Smalley, Lawrence – 3:13.30 High Jump – No. 10 – Quinten Clay – 6-8.75
Up Next The Flames and Lady Flames will begin their fourth season of competition at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex next weekend. The 15th Liberty Kickoff is set for Friday and Saturday.