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Parker Qualifies for NCAA Meet in High Jump

May 29, 2009  Greensboro, N.C.  RSS
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Matt Parker qualified for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, by virtue of his fourth-place finish in the men's high jump on Friday.

Matt Parker qualified for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, by virtue of his fourth-place finish in the men's high jump on Friday.

Liberty senior Matt Parker placed fourth in the high jump, Friday afternoon at the NCAA Division I East Regional Track & Field Championships in Greensboro, N.C. He will make his first-ever trip to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, by virtue of his top-five finish at North Carolina A&T's Irwin Belk Track.

Parker (Rome, N.Y.), who becomes the Flames' first men's high jumper ever to qualify for the NCAA Division I national meet, was one of only five competitors to get over the bar at the third height. The Empire State native cleared 6-11.75 on his first try, breaking a tie with Florida State's Andrew Bachelor, who also topped out at that height. Parker will be joined in Fayetteville, Ark., by Big South conference rival Jacques Watson of Coastal Carolina. Watson was successful 7-1 to place third.

Parker's fourth-place effort earned five team points for the Flames, who are tied for 15th place with North Carolina and South Carolina at the end of day one. Georgia and Georgia Tech share the early lead in the men's team standings, with 20 points apiece.

In other action, Tim O'Donnell (R-Sr., Hurst, Texas) clocked a time of 52.03 seconds in the men's 400-meter hurdles prelims, placing third in his heat and 12th overall. The Big South champion's top-12 finish places him on the list of possible at-large selections to the NCAA national meet. O'Donnell will find out whether or not he makes the cut on Tuesday, when the field is officially announced.

Liberty had a pair of competitors in the men's javelin, the first men's event of the meet. Freshman Ryan Bell (New Wilmington, Pa.) reached 199-4 with his best toss, tying Lehigh's James Pachucki for 14th place. Elliot Galeone (R-So., White Hall, Md.) followed in 22nd place, after recording a top throw of 189-5.

Senior Andrea Beckles (Lynchburg, Va.), the lone Lady Flame to compete on Friday, ran her heat of the 100-meter dash in 11.82 seconds. She tied for the 18th-fastest clocking among the 36 entrants in her final collegiate race, sharing the honor of fastest Big South performer in the event with Coastal Carolina's Ikeiylah Brown. Four total Big South athletes ran in the women's 100-meter dash prelims.

The second and final day of the 2009 NCAA Division I East Regional Track & Field Championships will begin tomorrow morning at 11 a.m., with the women's javelin and men's hammer competitions. Both events involving Liberty athletes will start at 5 p.m. John Talbert (Newton, Kan.) will throw the discus at that time, while Anthony Bryant (R-Fr., Charlottesville, Va.) and Clarence Powell (So., Marianna, Fla.) begin the men's triple jump.

Meanwhile, Sam Chelanga (R-So., Nairobi, Kenya) will run the 5,000 meters at the Reebok Grand Prix tomorrow evening, competing against a star-studded field of international athletes. The race is scheduled to begin at 6:40 p.m. at Icahn Stadium in New York City. NBC will provide live coverage of the meet from 4:30-6 p.m.