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Seniors Star at Liberty Kickoff

December 4, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Senior Andrea Beckles claimed victory in the women's 60-meter dash, Thursday at the Liberty Kickoff.

Senior Andrea Beckles claimed victory in the women's 60-meter dash, Thursday at the Liberty Kickoff.

The Liberty men's and women's track & field teams enjoyed a solid start to the 2008-09 indoor season, Thursday evening at the Liberty Kickoff. The Flames and Lady Flames combined for five first-place finishes at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, all of which came from seniors.

Phil Leineweber (Sr., New Freedom, Pa.) opened his final season with a dominating first-place finish in the men's 800-meter run. His time of 1:58.48 put the senior more than 2.5 seconds ahead of the race runner-up. Leineweber later anchored the Flames' 4 x 400 squad to second place, in 3:23.47.

A pair of Lady Flame seniors was also victorious in running events. Like Leineweber, Jaime Watson (Ravenna, Mich.) posted a victory of more than 2.5 seconds in her event, the women's 400-meter dash. Her 56.01 clocking trimmed more than a second off her indoor personal best and moved Watson up to the No. 2 spot on Liberty's all-time list. It was the second consecutive year Watson has run a personal best to win the women's 400 at the season-opening Liberty Kickoff.

Andrea Beckles (Lynchburg, Va.) cruised to a win in the women's 60-meter dash, notching a time of 7.64. She also took third in the 200-meter dash, after stopping the clock in 25.86 seconds.

The Flames and Lady Flames were also quite successful in the multi events, which opened up Thursday's action, sweeping first place in the men's heptathlon and women's pentathlon.

For the second time in three years, senior Daniel Newell (Roanoke, Va.) captured the Liberty Kickoff heptathlon title. However, he needed to come from behind in the final two events—the pole vault and the 1,000-meter run—to edge classmate and teammate Matt Parker (Rome, N.Y.) by a 5,148-5,100 margin. Parker's score, coming in just his second time ever contesting a heptathlon, makes him the No. 3 performer in program history. Sophomore Geren Woodbridge (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) made it a 1-2-3 Liberty sweep, tallying a career-best 4,763 points.

The women's pentathlon also featured a tight, back-and-forth battle atop the standings, between a pair of Lady Flames. Senior Marie Williams (Tampa, Fla.) won the last event, the 800-meter run, in 2:30.21. Her effort enabled her to overtake Krystle Matthews (So., Chesapeake, Va.) for the meet championship. Williams' final score was 3,195, while Matthews tallied 3,087 points to claim runner-up honors.

Several other Liberty athletes excelled in multiple individual disciplines, including a pair of sophomores and a pair of freshmen. Sophomore Clarence Powell (Marianna, Fla.) nabbed a trio of runner-up placings, taking the second spot in the men's high jump (6-8.75), long jump (22-6.25) and triple jump (49-1.75).

Classmate Jacey Bailey (Tamarac, Fla.) opened his busy day with a bang in the men's 60-meter dash. He was edged at the finish line by .01 second, but recorded a personal-best 6.85 clocking for second. Bailey is now the second-fastest men's 60-meter dash runner in program history. The sophomore later came in fourth in the men's 200-meter dash in 22.68 seconds and led off for Liberty's second-place 4 x 400 relay unit.

Freshmen Olivia Charnuski (Elmira, Ontario) and Alyssa Pegues (Warner Robins, Ga.) both thrived during busy evenings. Charnuski clocked a 9.07 to take third in the women's 60-meter hurdles final, while nabbing fourth-place finishes in the 60 (7.95) and 200-meter (26.16) dashes.

Meanwhile, Pegues finished second behind teammate Beckles in the women's 60-meter dash final, in 7.76 seconds. She then performed well in both horizontal jumps, claiming runner-up honors with a 37-0.5 triple jump and finishing third with a 17-6 long jump.

A world record was set on Thursday, as Liberty Head Track & Field/Cross Country Coach Brant Tolsma wrapped up the two-day double heptathlon with a score of 8,573 points. Tolsma, who will turn 59 years old on Friday, established a new world age group (55-60 years old) standard with his performance.

The day's lone facility record was set by Anthony Bryant, competing unattached. He eclipsed his own triple jump standard, set at the 2007 Liberty Kickoff, stretching the tape to 50-4. Bryant was the only athlete to win two individual events on Thursday, also claiming the high jump title with a 6-10.75 clearance.

Liberty will take more than a month off competition before resuming the 2008-09 indoor track & field season at the Liberty Open meet. The annual two-day invitational at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center will begin on Jan. 23.

Final Men's Heptathlon Results
1) Daniel Newell, Liberty – 5,148
2) Matt Parker, Liberty – 5,100
3) Geren Woodbridge, Liberty – 4,763
4) Kevin Richards, Radford – 4,198
5) Jeremy Snyder, Unattached – 4,135
6) Drew Edwards, Liberty – 3,673

Final Women's Heptathlon Results
1) Marie Williams, Liberty – 3,195
2) Krystle Matthews, Liberty – 3,087
3) Crystal Webley, Winston-Salem State – 2,996
4) Jessica Nauta, James Madison – 2,874
5) Jennifer Healey, Liberty – 2,851
6) Devon Anderson-Farmer, Radford – 2,605
7) Persha Lane, Winston-Salem State – 2,382
8) Michelle Baird, Radford – 1,977
9) Malliron Hodge, Winston-Salem State – 1,848