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Liberty Twilight Qualifier Lives Up to Name

April 30, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Ashley Osborne won the evening's final race, the 5K, in an ECAC-qualifying time, 17:21.79.

Ashley Osborne won the evening's final race, the 5K, in an ECAC-qualifying time, 17:21.79.

The 2009 Liberty Twilight Qualifier was exactly that for a trio of Lady Flames, Thursday evening at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex. Olivia Charnuski, Chenoa Freeman and Ashley Osborne all recorded ECAC-qualifying marks, while Osborne was one of Liberty's five event winners at the team's final home meet of the season.

Women's Meet Recap
Osborne (R-Jr., Bristol, Va.) capped off the meet in fine fashion, in the women's 5,000-meter final. Competing under the lights, Osborne recorded her sought-after ECAC qualifier with a 17:21.79 clocking for first place. She was towed along by redshirting teammate Rebekah Ricksecker for approximately two miles before breaking into the lead over the closing laps. Osborne's time was a season best by 19 seconds. Ricksecker held on for second in 17:39.08, while Dacia Bushman's (So., Castalia, Iowa) 18:00.84 placed her third.

Battling a very competitive 100-meter hurdles field, Charnuski (Fr., Elmira, Ontario) broke through for a personal-best time of 14.30 seconds. She finished third in the race, while chopping 0.26 seconds off her season best.

Freeman (Jr., Lincoln, Del.) crossed the line seventh in the women's 200-meter dash, but her 24.75 effort came in under the ECAC standard. Teammate Andrea Beckles (Sr., Lynchburg, Va.) also posted a strong performance in the 200, recording a time of 24.31 for third place.

Charnuski, Alyssa Pegues (Fr., Warner Robins, Ga.), Freeman and Beckles teamed up for their fifth 4 x 100 relay victory of the season. The quartet ran 46.45 seconds, leaving the Lady Flames a comfortable 1.52 seconds in front of Roanoke, the nation's top-ranked relay squad at the NCAA Division III level.

Pegues was one of two Lady Flames to finish second in field events on Thursday. She boosted her personal best in the triple jump to 38-11.75 to claim runner-up honors. Meanwhile, Kristen Dalton (Sr., Wanchese, N.C.) closed out her Liberty athletic career with a runner-up showing in the javelin. Dalton, who helped both Liberty's volleyball and women's track & field squads claim Big South championships during her three years with the Lady Flames, stretched the measuring tape to 116-11 with her best throw.

Two other Liberty women's field event standouts included Laura Haugland (Fr., Park Rapids, Minn.) in the high jump and Rachel Houseknecht (R-Fr., Hughesville, Pa.) in the pole vault. Haugland nabbed third place with a 4-11 clearance. Meanwhile Houseknecht added 5.5 inches to her career-best pole vault height. She placed fourth on Thursday and is now tied for fourth in program history, after sailing over 11-5.75.

Liberty dominated the 3,000-meter steeplechase, led by former Lady Flame Rachel Valliere's victorious 12:08.85 clocking in her event debut. She was trailed in second place by another steeplechase newcomer, Rod'Esther Castor (So., Hamilton, N.J.), in 12:23.19 and Charis Haldeman (Fr., Manheim, Pa.), who claimed third place at 12:28.56.

Two athletes were double winners on the women's side, including sprinter Barbara Pierre of St. Augustine's. She set the day's only facility record, winning the 100-meter dash in 11.57 seconds, before later taking the 200-meter dash title with a 23.66.

Virginia Tech standout Brittany Pryor threw the shot put 46-2.75 and tossed the hammer 184-3 to prevail in both events.

Men's Meet Recap
All three of the Liberty men's team's event titles were captured in field events. Leading the way was John Talbert (Newton, Kan.). Not only did he win the discus by more than 21 feet at 180-0, but Talbert also garnered runner-up honors in the hammer with a 178-1 heave.

Elliot Galeone (R-So., White Hall, Md.) took the javelin with a 192-9 effort, pacing a pair of Flames in the event's top three. Ryan Bell (Fr., New Wilmington, Pa.) backed up Galeone's performance with a 177-3 throw for third place. Galeone also added a third-place finish of his own, courtesy of a 152-4 mark in the discus.

Anthony Bryant (R-Fr., Charlottesville, Va.) reached past the 50-foot mark for the second straight meet in the triple jump. His 50-1.75 leap was plenty long enough to win the event on Thursday.

Fellow freshman Cody Fridgen (Sarasota, Fla.) pole vaulted a career-high 15-3 to secure second place in the competition.

A pair of Liberty mid-distance and distance standouts finished second in their respective events. Jarvis Jelen (R-Sr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) hit the finish line in the second position after covering 1,500 meters in 3:53.61. Later, teammate Josh Edmonds (Jr., Cooperstown, N.Y.) shaved his 5K personal best down to 14:29.83, earning the runner-up spot.

Liberty seniors Matt Parker (Rome, N.Y.) and Phil Leineweber (New Freedom, Pa.) both recorded solid fourth-place finishes in their final home meets. Parker sped to a season-best 14.41 time in the 110-meter hurdles final, while Leineweber notched a 400-meter dash time of 48.13.

Evans Kigen, who is redshirting this season for the Flames, won both of his events at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier. His 3,000-meter steeplechase time was 9:23.13, while he also prevailed in the 5,000-meter run with a 14:26.01.

The men's 200-meter dash final saw Ramon Gittens of St. Augustine's cruise to victory in an impressive time of 20.56 seconds. Gittens' effort ties him with Jeremy Wariner as the ninth-fastest performer in the world this season.

Sam Chelanga (R-So., Nairobi, Kenya) will be Liberty's next athlete to compete, as the new NCAA 10K record holder will contest the 5K at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in Stanford, Calif., Saturday night. Chelanga's race, which will pit him against seven Olympians, is scheduled for an 11:52 p.m. start (Eastern Standard Time).

Meanwhile, many of Chelanga's teammates will begin to prepare for the Women's ECAC and Men's IC4A Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The meet will be contested in Princeton, N.J., from May 15-17. The Liberty men's squad is seeking its third consecutive IC4A crown.