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Liberty Quad, Tyson Invite Next for LU Track

February 11, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Sam Chelanga and Galen Rupp will square off Friday evening in the 5,000-meter run at the Tyson Invitational. It will be their first head-to-head race since the duo's memorable battle at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on Nov. 24. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

Sam Chelanga and Galen Rupp will square off Friday evening in the 5,000-meter run at the Tyson Invitational. It will be their first head-to-head race since the duo's memorable battle at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on Nov. 24. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

Liberty Quad Time Schedule

Liberty Quad Performance List

Tyson Invitational Time Schedule

Tyson Invitational Entries

Tyson Invitational Live Results

Liberty sophomore Sam Chelanga will appear on ESPN's Sunday afternoon coverage of the prestigious Tyson Invitational, and the Flames will hold their final home meet of the 2008-09 indoor season, the Liberty Quad, during an action-packed weekend for Liberty track & field.

Chelanga (Nairobi, Kenya) and a small group of Flames athletes will venture to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Tyson Invitational, Friday and Saturday. A portion of the two-day meet, including Chelanga's 5,000-meter race, will be taped and later aired on ESPN, Sunday at 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, a majority of the Liberty men's and women's competitors will participate in the Liberty Quad. The Flames and Lady Flames will square off against athletes from Elon, James Madison, Richmond and VMI, in addition to a handful of post-collegiate performers from the Real Deal Track Club, based in Norfolk, Va.

This weekend's competition will represent Liberty's last tune-up, prior to the New Balance Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, slated for Feb. 26-27 in Clemson, S.C.

A complete weekend preview follows.

Thursday – Liberty Quad
Four consecutive days of Liberty track & field will kick off Thursday at 12:15 p.m. at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, with the first four events of the Liberty Quad's heptathlon competition. Five Flames athletes will contest the 60-meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump on Thursday.

Daniel Newell (R-Sr., Roanoke, Va.) will attempt to keep his unbeaten season alive. Newell, listed No. 19 nationally in the heptathlon, has already won his specialty at both the Liberty Kickoff and Liberty Open this year. Newell's season-best score of 5,346 points is just 37 points shy of the Liberty and Big South records, owned by his former teammate, Brandon Hoskins.

Friday – Liberty Quad
The Liberty Quad will conclude Friday, with a full slate of events, beginning with the women's pentathlon 60-meter hurdles at 1 p.m. and concluding with the women's 4 x 400 relay, eight hours later.

Multi Events
Starting with the previously mentioned 60-meter hurdles and progressing on to the high jump, shot put, long jump and finally the 800-meter run, nine athletes will contest the women's pentathlon on Friday. The field boasts both the 2007 Big South pentathlon titlist, Marie Williams (R-Sr., Tampa, Fla.) and the 2008 Big South pentathlon champion, Krystle Matthews (So., Chesapeake, Va.). Lady Flames freshman Christina Mitchell (Monroe, Va.) will also make her much-anticipated debut in the event.

Newell and company will complete their last three heptathlon events (60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000-meter run), starting at 1:30 p.m. Geren Woodbridge (R-So., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) will also be chasing a mark, like Newell. His season-high point total of 4,763 is just 37 points shy of an IC4A qualifier.

Field Events
As usual, the men's weight throw is the first field event on the schedule, slated for a 3:30 p.m. start, Friday afternoon. A young crop of Liberty throwers is entered, including Elliot Galeone (R-So., White Hall, Md.), David Lhamonie (Fr., West Palm Beach, Fla.) and John Talbert (Fr., Newton, Kan.).

At 6:45 p.m., Kolby Shepherd (So., Dublin, Ga.) will look to continue his impressive season-long trend. The sophomore has increased his pole vault height in each of his first three meets of the year, including a 16-2.75 clearance which won last weekend's Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup.

Running Events
The gun will go off for the afternoon's initial running event, the prelims of the women's 60-meter hurdles, at 5 p.m.

One of the early running events to watch is the women's 60-meter dash. The prelims will begin at 5:40 p.m., followed by the final at 6:15. Andrea Beckles (Sr., Lynchburg, Va.) headlines a group of four Lady Flames participants in the event. They will all be chasing one of Real Deal Track Club's headline performers, Rachelle Boone-Smith. The silver medalist in the 200-meter dash at the 2005 World Championships, Boone-Smith could put the facility record of 7.31 seconds in jeopardy. She is also slated to run the 400-meter dash at 7 p.m. and the 200-meter dash at 7:50 p.m.

After the series of straightaway races conclude at 6:20 p.m., the men's milers will take the track. Jarvis Jelen (R-Sr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) will race at home for the first time this season, while Isaac Wendland (Fr., Charles City, Iowa), a four-time high school state mile champion in Iowa, will make his collegiate debut in the event. They will meet a talented trio of Richmond Spiders, boasting seed times of 4:15 or faster.

The women's mile will follow at 6:30, and also promises to be a competitive race. Richmond's Nicol Traynor, an all-region cross country performer, should contend with Liberty sophomore Katie Albright (Wake Forest, N.C.) for top honors.

At 6:40 p.m., Phil Leineweber (Sr., New Freedom, Pa.) will attempt to defend his facility record in the men's 400-meter dash, 48.84 seconds. He will receive a considerable challenge from Justin Byron and Ray Brown of Real Deal Track Club.

Earlier in the week, two-time Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt was scheduled to run the men's 800 meters at 7:15 p.m. He has withdrawn from the meet, but the race should still be an intriguing one. Richmond has three athletes entered at 1:55.40 or faster. Liberty freshmen Jordan Bright (Damascus, Ore.), Spencer Jackson (Surrey, British Columbia) and Will Reeves (Rustburg, Va.) lead a sizable group of Flames entrants in the four-lap race.

The evening's final event, the women's 4 x 400 relay at 9 p.m., also has the potential to be a compelling race. Liberty, Elon and James Madison are all entered with sub-4:00 clockings.

Friday – Tyson Invitational
Only two Liberty athletes will be in action on the opening day of the Tyson Invitational, at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

Matt Parker (Sr., Rome, N.Y.) has come within a tantalizing .01 second of the Liberty school 60-meter hurdles record at each of his last two meets. He will get another chance to eclipse Ken Howell's program standard at 3:45 p.m. Eastern. Parker will battle a deep field, which includes four of the top 25 hurdlers in the nation. If Parker does well enough, he could qualify for either the final or consolation final, to be contested at 3:40 and 3:45 p.m. Saturday, respectively.

Later that evening, at 9 p.m., Chelanga will face Oregon's Galen Rupp for the first time since their duel at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship. National cross country champion Rupp and national runner-up Chelanga will be part of an elite 5,000-meter field, which also features Ethiopians Bekana Daba and Markos Geneti.

Saturday – Tyson Invitational
A quartet of Flames and Lady Flames will celebrate Valentine's Day by competing on the second day of the Tyson Invitational.

Sophomore Clarence Powell (Marianna, Fla.) will be the first Liberty athlete to get started on Saturday, opening competition in the college section of the high jump at 11 a.m. Eastern. Powell, who just improved his own school triple jump record to 50-4.5 at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, will come back at 3:45 p.m. for the triple jump's championship section. Powell's triple jump competitors include defending NCAA national indoor champion Nkosinza Balumbu of Arkansas.

Fellow record-breaker Anthony Bryant (R-Fr., Charlottesville, Va.) will be part of the triple jump's college section, starting at noon. The newly-minted Big South high jump record holder at 7-1.5, Bryant will later join Parker in the championship section of the high jump, at 4:30 p.m. The nation's current No. 1 high jumper, Georgia Tech senior Jerome Miller, is included in the championship high jump field as well. He cleared 7-5 last weekend, winning the Virginia Tech Elite meet title.

Jaime Watson (Sr., Ravenna, Mich.), the lone Lady Flame scheduled to travel to the Land of Opportunity this weekend, will run the 800 meters at 2:05 p.m.

Sunday – Tyson Invitational (TV: ESPN, 5-7 p.m. Eastern)
Beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon, ESPN will televise two hours of the Tyson Invitational, taped from Friday evening. The men's 5,000-meter run, featuring Chelanga, is expected to kick off ESPN's coverage.