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2009 Big South Outdoor Track: Day 1 Blog

April 16, 2009  Radford, Va.  RSS
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Senior Ashley Osborne, who won two events at the 2009 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championship, will run the 10,000 meters tonight at 6 p.m.

Senior Ashley Osborne, who won two events at the 2009 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championship, will run the 10,000 meters tonight at 6 p.m.

From the press box at Radford's Cupp Stadium, LibertyFlames.com will provide live updates throughout the three days of the 2009 New Balance Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Please see below for other ways to follow all of the action.

Meet Schedule

Official Meet Website (Including hourly live result updates)

Live Video Streaming (Big South EDGE)

Heat Sheets

Official Big South blog (Big South SHOUT)

Radford weather

The most recent posts will be located just below this italicized message. You may need to refresh the page periodically to view the latest updates. Feel free to email pjcarmany@liberty.edu with any comments, questions or suggestions. Thanks!

Updated Men's Team Scores (Through Four Events - End Day One)
1) Liberty - 45
2) Coastal Carolina - 30
3) Radford - 16
4T) Gardner-Webb - 15
4T) High Point - 15
4T) Winthrop - 15
7) VMI - 14
8) Charleston Southern - 4
9) UNC Asheville - 2

Updated Women's Team Scores (Through Four Events - End Day One)
1) Coastal Carolina - 56
2) Radford - 27
3) Gardner-Webb - 21
4) Liberty - 18
5) VMI - 16
6) Charleston Southern - 12
7) Winthrop - 6

7:05 p.m. - The Liberty men's team will take a 15-point lead into day two, as the Flames racked up 45 points during Thursday's quartet of event finals. Coastal Carolina is second with 30 points.

Freshman John Talbert added five points to the Flames' total, after finishing fourth in the men's hammer with a personal-best heave of 181-0. He is now the No. 5 performer in program history, overtaking Ryan Utz's mark of 179-1 from the 1985 NCAA Division II Championships.

Gardner-Webb sophomore Christopher Hutschalik paced the field in the hammer, with a 192-7 toss. The top three throwers, which also included Coastal Carolina's Mark Manno and Radford's Matt Dobson, all eclipsed the NCAA regional qualifying mark.

That concludes the first of three days of action here at Cupp Stadium. We'll be back here tomorrow at 11 a.m. to resume the decathlon and heptathlon, as Daniel Newell and Marie Williams attempt to stay on top of their respective multi events.

Thanks for your interest in Liberty track & field. Watch for a complete recap of today's action on LibertyFlames.com later this evening and be sure to tune in again tomorrow for the second installment of the 2009 New Balance Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships blog.

6:58 p.m. - We're still waiting on men's hammer results, but I just found the score from the first game at the new Yankee Stadium. Cleveland Indians 10, New York Yankees 2.

Also, congratulations to the Liberty women's tennis team, which joins its male counterpart in the Big South Championship semifinal round after a victory over Gardner-Webb today.

6:53 p.m. - Bushman's official women's 10K time was 37:05.39, while Osborne checked in at 38:03.32. Melissa Martens finished 10th in 42:17.59 and Alicia Guridy was 11th in 42:26.25.

Bushman and Osborne have helped the Lady Flames move up to fourth place at the end of the first day, with 18 total points. Coastal Carolina leads by 29 points, with 56 tallies through the first four events.

Now, all we're waiting on is the men's hammer results. We're told that the first three finishers all went over the NCAA regional qualifying standard.

6:48 p.m. - Anthony Bryant becomes Liberty's first Big South men's long jump champion since Kevin Octave in 2005. with an IC4A-qualifying mark of 23-4.5. He has already qualified for the NCAA East Regional Championships in two other events--the high jump and triple jump. His fifth jump was his longest.

Matt Parker adds an eighth-place finish, with a 22-3.75 leap on his second attempt. Liberty remains in the men's lead, with only the hammer results left to tabulate.

Only 2.5 inches separated the top three long jumpers, all from Commonwealth universities.

Men's Long Jump All-Big South Performers
1) Anthony Bryant (Liberty) - 23-4.5 (IC4A qualifier)
2) Ademola Titcombe (VMI) - 23-2.75
3) Bryan Wallace (Radford) 23-2

6:40 p.m. - Granger retakes the advantage over Bushman with four laps to go, as the back-and-forth race continues between the two sophomores.

Granger extends her lead by a couple strides with 1200 remaining.

Granger really opens it up on the next lap, looking very fresh in front of the field.

Granger's winning time is 36:55. Bushman is second in 37:05, qualifying for the ECAC Championships and moving up a place from last year. Phillips of Winthrop is third, with Osborne taking fourth in 38:03.

I'll post full, official results shortly. Now, though, I'll move to the men's long jump, which was won by Liberty freshman Anthony Bryant.

6:32 p.m. - Granger opened up her lead to 10 meters over Bushman on the first lap of the fifth mile.

On lap 19, Bushman starts to reel Granger back in. Phillips of Winthrop now third and Osborne fourth.

At the five-mile mark, Bushman has taken her first lead of the race. Her split is 29:38. Granger is one second back.

6:26 p.m. - The pack dropped down to three on lap 14: tightly packed with Granger, Bushman and Moss. Osborne falling back but still in fourth.

At the four-mile mark, here's how it looks. Granger in the lead with Bushman glued to her shoulder in 23:38. A resurgent Osborne is back in third, in 23:43. Nine laps to go.

6:19 p.m. - Things are tightening up at three miles.

It's Moss of Winthrop in the lead at 17:41, followed by Osborne, Granger, Bushman and Phillips. All tight together. The group of five passes halfway in 18:26.

6:13 p.m. - At the two-mile mark, it's still the Winthrop duo leading in 11:40. Osborne right behind them in 11:41. Another tight pack at 4-5-6, with VMI's Hannah Granger, Liberty's Dacia Bushman and Coastal Carolina's Mia Wyszynski in that order. They're about 20-25 meters back.

6:07 p.m. - Liberty has four runners entered in the women's 10K - Dacia Bushman, Ashley Osborne, Alicia Guridy and Melissa Martens. Osborne was second in 2007, while Bushman took third place a year ago and is the top returnee from the 2008 race.

At the mile mark, two Winthrop runners-Carly Moss and Carey Phillips--come through in 5:47. Ashley Osborne seventh in 5:48. A very honest pace so far! Dacia Bushman is fifth, about 15 meters back. Alicia Guridy seventh and Melissa Martens eighth.

Liberty sits in great position after the first day of the decathlon, with Newell, Murray and Woodbrdige remaining 1-2-3, 100 points ahead of fourth place.

Decathlon Standings (Through Day One - 15 total competitors)
1) Daniel Newell (Liberty) - 3,916
2) Clarence Murray (Liberty) - 3,535
3) Geren Woodbridge (Liberty) - 3,362
9) Drew Edwards (Liberty) - 3.014


6 p.m. - In the first heat of the decathlon 400, Daniel Newell leads from start to finish, winning decisively in 49.15 seconds. He will carry a huge lead into Friday's action.

In the second heat, Gardner-Webb's Evan Brusich wins in 49.85. Drew Edwards takes second with a 50.70, while Geren Woodbridge edged teammate Clarence Murray at the line, 51.45 to 51.57.

I'll try to plug in day one decathlon results when I get the opportunity. For now though, it's on to the women's 10K.

5:45 p.m. - Cherry cruises to victory in 30:41. Edmonds makes a decisive burst in the final 150 meters to earn his second straight Big South 10K runner-up finish in 30:54. Beesley is a close third. I'll post official results as they become available.

Hopely moves up one place from 2008, crossing the line in 32:55 for seventh.

As the decathlon 400-meter dash is about to start, here are some official 10K times. Cherry won with a 30:41.82. Edmonds posted a 30:54.11, while Beesley followed in 30:55.72. Hopely crossed the line in 32:55.37.

5:40 p.m. - Anthony Bryant and Matt Parker made the finals of the men's long jump, which will begin shortly.

On the track, Cherry really put the pedal to the metal right before the four-mile split. At five miles, Cherry has split a 24:36. Winthrop's Trevor Beesley is second in 24:48, with Edmonds right on his tail.

Hopely has moved his way into seventh place.

5:35 p.m. - The lead pack is down to four, with Cherry maintaining his advantage and Edmonds in second. The four-mile split is 19:48 for Cherry and 19:50 for Edmonds. Mark Hopely is now ninth.

5:30 p.m. - Not much has changed up front. Cherry is first through three miles in 14:53. Edmonds third in 14:54. Hopely still eighth.

Here are the 5K splits. 15:29 for Cherry. 15:30 for Edmonds. The lead pack still consists of five runners (2 High Point, 2 Winthrop, 1 Liberty).

5:25 p.m. - At the 2-mile mark, Cherry is the leader in 9:55. Edmonds third in 9:56. Still five in the lead pack. Hopely all alone in eighth place in 10:10.

5:23 p.m. - I got kicked off the Radford network, so lost my lap-by-lap summary of the men's 10K. High Point's Jesse Cherry and Liberty's Josh Edmonds have traded the lead a couple times through the first mile, which was covered in 4:57. Mark Hopely went through the mile in 5:03, in eighth place.

Through six laps, five runners remain in the lead pack.

5:10 p.m. - The decathlon high jump is complete, and I didn't see either Murray or Newell clear any more bars. I'll try to provide a scoring update, prior to the 400-meter dash. That event, the decathletes' fifth and final discipline of the day, will be conducted between the men's and women's 10K finals.

I will plan to post mile-by-mile updates for both 10Ks. The men's 25-lap affair features a pair of Flames--Josh Edmonds and Mark Hopely. Edmonds was the runner-up in last year's Big South 10K at Winthrop and will be making his season debut in the event.

The favorite in this event has to be High Point's Jesse Cherry, who has clocked a conference-best 28:59.16, provisionally qualifying for the NCAA national meet.

4:55 p.m. - We only have one women's event remaining today, the 10K at 6 p.m. In the recently completed women's hammer, Radford won its second event of the day, courtesy of freshman Aimee Veatch's 180-8 toss. Meanwhile, Coastal Carolina piled up 19 points in the event, and maintains the overall lead with 51 tallies.

Liberty's best finisher was Shekina Sims, who just missed a season best with her 109-5. She ended up in 16th place.

Women's Hammer All-Big South Performers
1) Aimee Veatch (Radford) - 180-8
2) Brittany Connor (Coastal Carolina) - 160-10
3) Zakiyyah Stewart (Coastal Carolina) - 160-4

Across the way at the decathlon high jump, Clarence Murray is still going. He slithered over the bar at 6-5.5 and is now getting ready to attempt 6-6.75. Daniel Newell is trying 6-6.75 as well. So, another strong event for the Flames, who were already 1-2-3 before the decathlon high jump started.

4:50 p.m. - Daniel Newell had the best shot put among the 15 decathletes, 43-11.25. His lead is now stretched to 244 points, and he is followed in second and third place by teammates Clarence Murray and Geren Woodbridge, respectively. They're now high jumping at 6-4.25. Here are the standings, through three decathlon disciplines.

Decathlon Standings (Through Three Events - 15 Total Competitors)
1) Daniel Newell (Liberty) - 2,259
2) Clarence Murray (Liberty) - 2,015
3) Geren Woodbridge (Liberty) - 1,994
7) Drew Edwards (Liberty) - 1,782


4:40 p.m. - The heptathlon shot put results finally found their way to Cupp Stadium, and Marie Williams had the third-best throw, 33-3. Charleston Southern freshman Patria Norman led the way, at 37-3.25.

Heading into the second day, Williams leads Norman by 197 points atop the standings. Krystle Matthews is sixth, just 24 points out of fourth place. Meanwhile, Jennifer Healey sits in eighth place.

Heptathlon Standings (Through Day One - 11 total competitors)
1) Marie Williams (Liberty) - 3,069
2) Patria Norman (Charleston Southern) - 2,872
3) Victoria Argus (Gardner-Webb) - 2,775
6) Krystle Matthews (Liberty) - 2,684
8) Jennifer Healey (Liberty) - 2,460

We also have obtained decathlon standings through the shot put, and will post those shortly.

4:35 p.m. - The women's long jump results are in, and Liberty picked up its first five points of the meet, courtesy of two freshmen. Alyssa Pegues jumped 17-10.75 for fifth place, while Melanie Sims' 17-3.25 left her in eighth place. Krystle Matthews also posted a 17-3.25, but Sims had a superior second-best effort.

Radford senior Shemelia Brandon added to her impressive collection of Big South hardware, repeating as conference long jump champion. Her winning distance, 18-9, was the same as that of Coastal Carolina's Arielle Miller, but Brandon's second-best leap was longer.

Women's Long Jump All-Big South Performers
1) Shemelia Brandon (Radford) - 18-9
2) Arielle Miller (Coastal Carolina) - 18-9
3) Patria Norman (Charleston Southern) - 18-2.25

Clarence Murray just cleared 6-2 in the decathlon high jump, as that event continues.

Meanwhile, Anthony Bryant is on the long jump runway. He stretches the measuring tape out to 23-0, a very nice effort.

4:20 p.m. - Marie Williams dominates the first section of the heptathlon 200, posting a solid 25.35 time, despite a stiff, 3.3 m/s headwind. She should take a nice lead into day two. Krystle Matthews takes third place in 26.92.

Healey came on strong during the latter stages of heat two, finishing fourth in 27.42 seconds. Again, the athletes ran into a significant headwind (-1.9 m/s).

The decathletes are now attempting 5-10.5 in the high jump, as men's long jump warm-ups continue.

We're about an hour away from the start of the men's 10K. The 25-lap event will start at 5:15.

First up for the heptathletes tomorrow will be the long jump, scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

4:05 p.m. - The women's long jump is finished, and the men's long jumpers are now beginning to congregate at the event site. Anthony Bryant is one of the first to arrive.

Meanwhile, they're using leaf blowers to push the sand off the track, in preparation for the heptathlon 200-meter dash. The athletes will be divided into two heats, with Marie Williams and Krystle Matthews in the first heat and Jennifer Healey in the second.

3:50 p.m. - Krystle Matthews is now taking her final three long jump attempts, before she prepares for the heptathlon 200-meter dash.

No word on any of the results from the throwing area (decathlon shot put, heptathlon shot put and women's hammer) so far.

The final two field events on today's slate are the men's long jump and men's hammer, both set to start at 4:30 p.m.

3:40 p.m. - I guess no one has brought the decathlon shot put results back from the throwing area yet. So, we may get those results along with the heptathlon shot put marks, in a little while. Speaking of the heptathlon shot put, it sounds like they have just completed the event. We are now scheduled to complete day one of the heptathlon at 4:10 p.m., with the 200-meter dash.

In other action, the high jump bar has been raised to 5-4.5 in the decathlon. Also, action continues in the finals of the women's long jump.

Finally, congratulations to the Liberty men's tennis team, which advanced to tomorrow's semifinals of the Big South Championship earlier today, with a victory over Gardner-Webb. The tournament is being contested at Winthrop, in Rock Hill, S.C.

3:25 p.m. - The women's long jump finals are set, and all three Liberty entrants (Alyssa Pegues, Melanie Sims and Krystle Matthews) are among the nine finalists. So, the Lady Flames have a chance to get on the scoreboard with some nice points in this event. I'm not sure if Matthews will come back over from the heptathlon shot put to take her final three jumps or not. No sign of her yet.

In other action, the decathlon high jump has started across the way. I'll try to keep an eye on Liberty's quartet of participants. It appears that the bar is set at 4-11.75 at the moment.

3 p.m. - Marie Williams' 5-3.75 clearance bolstered her heptathlon lead to 125 points. Meanwhile, Krystle Matthews got over a season-high 5-0.25, tying for third place among the 11 heptathletes for that event. Here's a look at the most up-to-date heptathlon standings.

Heptathlon Standings (Through Two Events - 11 total competitors)
1) Marie Williams (Liberty) - 1,676
2) Patria Norman (Charleston Southern) - 1,551
3) Channel Futrell (Charleston Southern) - 1,522
5) Krystle Matthews (Liberty) - 1,452
7) Jennifer Healey (Liberty) - 1,284

Alyssa Pegues just long jumped 17-10.75, which puts her into the top three by my count.

The next update should contain the decathlon standings, entering the high jump.

Also, it's finally getting warm enough to take my jacket off in the open-air press box, high atop Cupp Stadium.

2:50 p.m. - The first women's final of the day, the javelin, is now complete. Coastal Carolina placed two athletes in the top three, paced by event titlist Deborah Mattern. So, the Chanticleers take the early lead in the team scoring, with 19 points.

Liberty's top finisher was Kristen Dalton, who threw a 104-10 for 11th place.

Women's Javelin All-Big South Performers
1) Deborah Mattern (Coastal Carolina) - 139-5
2) Sarah Wyszyski (Gardner-Webb) - 123-9
3) Caitlin Lupo (Coastal Carolina) - 122-5

The second flight of the women's long jump is underway, and Krystle Matthews is getting her attempts in before the heptathlon shot put begins around 3:10. Her last effort was 17-1.5.

The decathletes have finished shot putting and are starting to warm up for their fourth event, the high jump.

2:30 p.m. - Williams' first try at 5-5 was her best, but she was unable to clear the bar. So, the heptathlon high jump is now complete and they will shuttle the 11 competitors to the shot put area. Krystle Matthews is now in a little bit of a predicament. She is awaiting the start of her flight in the long jump, while her fellow heptathletes travel to the shot put.

2:25 p.m. - Marie Williams is the only heptathlete still high jumping. She just made a comfortable, first-attempt clearance at 5-3.75. She will now attempt 5-5, which would equal her career best. The redshirt senior already clocked a personal-best 14.44 in the 100 hurdles earlier today.

1:45 p.m. - The Liberty decathletes made a nice climb up the overall standings, after finishing 1-2-3 in the long jump. Daniel Newell increased his overall lead to 161 points, after posting the longest jump of the competition, 21-7.25. Clarence Murray is now second overall, as his 20-8 long jump was the second-best effort. Finally, Geren Woodbridge is only four points out of third place, after recording the third-longest leap, 20-2.5.

Decathlon Standings (Through Two Events)
1) Daniel Newell (Liberty) - 1,568
2) Clarence Murray (Liberty) - 1,407
3) Evan Brusich (Gardner-Webb) - 1,371
4) Geren Woodbridge (Liberty) - 1,367
9) Drew Edwards (Liberty) - 1,242

The bar has been raised to 4-8.75 for the heptathlon high jump. Krystle Matthews just jogged across the field to check in for the long jump, and is now returning to the high jump apron. There are two flights of the women's long jump, and all three Lady Flames are in the second flight. I'll try to watch for a couple long jump updates when things get rolling.

Also scheduled for a 2 p.m. start is the women's hammer. Liberty's entrants include Shekina Sims, Cassie Laminack and Bree Knauff. I would expect to see women's javelin results shortly and will share them when they become available.

1:35 p.m. - The decathlon long jump is complete, and the athletes are being shuttled to the competition area for their third event, the shot put. Results will follow shortly.

Now that the long jump runway has been vacated, the women's long jumpers are now marking their steps for their event. It's scheduled to start at 2 p.m. The Lady Flames have a talented trio of entrants, led by freshman Alyssa Pegues, the event's top seed. She will be joined by classmate Melanie Sims and Krystle Matthews, who will take a break from the heptathlon to get a few jumps in.

1:20 p.m. - Marie Williams' 100 hurdles time of 14.44 was also a facility record, I just realized. She has not yet entered the heptathlon high jump competition, as the bar is set at only 4-5 at the moment.

The decathlon long jump is still progressing as well, with the athletes into the final round of attempts. Geren Woodbridge just jumped, stretching the tape to 20-2.5.

12:45 p.m. - As promised, here's how the heptathlon looks after the first event. Marie Williams, the 2007 Big South heptathlon champion, owns a 38-point cushion over Gardner-Webb senior Victoria Argus.

Heptathlon Standings (Through One Event - 11 Total Competitors)
1) Marie Williams (Liberty) - 917
2) Victoria Argus (Gardner-Webb) - 879
3) Channel Futrell (Charleston Southern) - 867
6) Krystle Matthews (Liberty) - 797
7) Jennifer Healey (Liberty) - 696

Williams, Matthews and Healey are now measuring their steps at the high jump apron, located outside the first turn of the track. The high jump is another strong event for Williams, who will hope to build upon her lead.

The decathlon long jump has just begun. I'll post any updates I receive, as the competition progresses.

The women's javelin is now underway as well, at the throwing facility.

Before I leave for a quick lunch, here's one more Ryan Bell javelin fact. Unofficially, he now ranks No. 22 nationally and No. 4 among freshmen. Not bad, for the native of New Wilmington, Pa.!

12:35 p.m. - Kayla Morgan of Gardner-Webb won the first heat of the heptathlon 100-meter hurdles, in 14.97 seconds.

The second heat saw Marie Williams fly down the track for a personal-best and ECAC-qualifying time of 14.44 seconds, aided by a +1.6 m/s tailwind. She won the heat comfortably. Jennifer Healey placed fourth in 16.15.

In the final heat, Krystle Matthews came in second with a 15.34 clocking. Gardner-Webb's Victoria Argus paced the field in 14.72 seconds, but Marie Williams' performance holds up as the best of the event.

Next up in the heptathlon will be the high jump, set to begin in approximately 30 minutes. Updated heptathlon scores will be posted shortly.

For now, here's what the decathlon looks like, as the Liberty decathlon quartet warms up for the long jump, directly in front of the press box, paralleling the track straightaway.

Decathlon Standings (Through One Event - 15 Total Competitors)
1) Daniel Newell (Liberty) - 852
2) Evan Brusich (Gardner-Webb) - 769
3) Steve Harmon (Coastal Carolina) - 767
5) Clarence Murray (Liberty) - 755
7) Geren Woodbridge (Liberty) - 746
9) Drew Edwards (Liberty) - 713


Freshman Ryan Bell made a bit of history in today's opening event, becoming Liberty's first Big South champion since 2001, breaking Shad Bolen's school record from 1989 and also taking down the Cupp Stadium record while he was at it.

Elliot Galeone also earned All-Big South honors with a third-place finish, while John Talbert scored three points for the Flames. The freshman's 183-11 toss was good for sixth place. Geren Woodbridge finished just out of the scoring, placing ninth with his personal-best 175-5 mark.

Liberty totaled 19 team points in the men's javelin, giving the Flames a nine-point lead over Coastal Carolina through the first event.

Men's Javelin All-Big South Performers
1) Ryan Bell (Liberty) - 217-10 (Liberty record, facility record)
2) Jared Baird (Winthrop) - 204-7
3) Elliot Galeone (Liberty) - 200-2

12:15 p.m. - After the 15 decathletes circled up for prayer, Clarence Murray got a slow start out of the blocks before making up considerable ground with his long strides. He finished second in the heat, being pushed by a +2.6 m/s tailwind to a solid time of 11.49. Coastal Carolina's Steve Harmon took the opening section in 11.43 seconds.

In heat two, Daniel Newell led from start to finish in a dominating performance. He took the heat by .38 seconds, clocking an 11.04 with a +0.9 m/s tailwind. Geren Woodbridge was fourth in 11.53 seconds and Drew Edwards placed fifth in 11.69.

I'll post updated decathlon scores when they become available. The second decathlon event will be the long jump, starting around 12:40.

The next event on the track, scheduled for 12:20, will be the heptathlon 100-meter hurdles. The 11 competitors have been divided into three heats. The Lady Flames' Jennifer Healey and Marie Williams are in heat two and Krystle Matthews is in heat three.

Ryan Bell won the men's javelin with a Liberty and facility record throw of 217-10, while Elliot Galeone was third in 200-2. I'll post official results once I receive them.

Now warming up at the throwing area are the women's javelin competitors. The Lady Flames' top entrant is diminutive senior Kristen Dalton. That event will start at 12:30.

11:40 a.m. - We have just been informed that result updates will be provided hourly on Radford's official meet website, beginning at 12:30 p.m. I've added the link to the official meet website at the top of this page and will add a live stats link to the Liberty schedule/results page.

We will have two heats of the decathlon 100-meter dash 20 minutes from now. Clarence Murray will compete in the first section, with Drew Edwards, Daniel Newell and Geren Woodbridge listed in section two.  

11:15 a.m. - Liberty got off to a good start in the opening flight of the men's javelin. I just chatted with Geren Woodbridge, and he threw a personal best of more than 53 meters (173-10), while John Talbert's best mark was over 56 meters (183-8).

Woodbridge did not stick around after his first three attempts, as he is now just 45 minutes away from the first of five decathlon events on the day, the 100-meter dash. Judging by the flags, the athletes should have a light tailwind.

10:20 a.m. - The meet is now officially underway, as the first flight of the men's javelin is currently taking place at the remote throwing facility. Liberty has a full complement of four throwers entered, as the Flames attempt to win this event at the Big South meet for the first time since Clint Gore's triumph in 2001.

The Flames' best hopes lie with their two throwers in the second flight, freshman Ryan Bell and redshirt sophomore Elliot Galeone. Bell already ranks as the second-longest javelin thrower in program history, and Galeone has also hurled the spear more than 200 feet this season. Their chief competitor figures to be Winthrop sophomore Jared Baird, who has qualified for the NCAA Division I East Regional Championships, like Bell.

Entered in the javelin's opening flight for the Flames are redshirt sophomore Geren Woodbridge and freshman John Talbert. Woodbridge will use the event as a warm-up of sorts, before he starts the decathlon competition at noon. Meanwhile, Talbert, a nationally-ranked discus thrower, will be throwing the javelin for the first time in his collegiate career.

I will provide any javelin updates I receive, but this might be my last post until we get ready for the decathlon's opening discipline at noon.

9:50 a.m. – Welcome to sunny Radford, Virginia! The weather has been dreary for much of the spring here in Virginia, but beautiful weather is forecast for the next three days of the 2009 New Balance Big South Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

I'll do my best to keep you updated on the meet's progress, as the Liberty men's team seeks its third consecutive Big South outdoor team title and the Lady Flames aim to return to the top of the awards podium for the first time since 2007.

Unfortunately, updates from the throwing events will be few and far between. The throwing area is located between a quarter and half mile from the track, and is not visible, even from the elevated press box. In fact, the distance between the throwing facility and track played a role in costing the Liberty men's team the 2003 Big South championship, the last time the event was held at Radford.

Eight event finals are scheduled for today, beginning shortly with the men's javelin. Also on tap are the women's javelin, men's and women's hammer, men's and women's long jump and men's and women's 10,000-meter run.

Finally, the decathlon and heptathlon, two traditionally strong events for Liberty, will both get underway in a couple hours.

I won't be the only blogger working up here in the press box this weekend. Brad Salois, a 2007 Liberty graduate, will be writing a blog for VMI's athletics website as well.

Finally, I must make note of the significance of today's date. Two years ago, on April 16, 2007, the tragic shootings took place just up the road from here, on Virginia Tech's campus. The thoughts and prayers of the Liberty University community are with everyone who was impacted by those horrific events. The Virginia Tech softball team is scheduled to play a doubleheader at Liberty this afternoon, on what will certainly be an emotional day for many of the Hokies' players and coaches.