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Watson Runs Record 500 in Liberty Open

January 30, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Jaime Watson's school-record 1:13.98 clocking in the women's 500-meter dash highlighted Saturday's events at the Liberty Open.

Jaime Watson's school-record 1:13.98 clocking in the women's 500-meter dash highlighted Saturday's events at the Liberty Open.

Liberty redshirt senior Jaime Watson shattered the Liberty and Tolsma Indoor Track Center records in the 500-meter dash, highlighting Saturday's action at the Liberty Open indoor track & field meet. The day featured three facility records, as well as two new ECAC qualifications and a new IC4A mark for the Flames.

Watson (Ravenna, Mich.), the reigning Big South Women's Track Athlete of the Week, blazed a time of 1:13.98 in the 500, winning the event by more than six seconds and eclipsing one of the oldest school records on the books at Liberty. Gina Turner owned the previous standard, clocking a hand-timed 1:14.1 on Feb. 22, 1992. The effort enabled Watson to qualify for the ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in her fifth different event, after previously meeting the 400, 800, 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 standards.

Other Tolsma Indoor Track Center records were set by Appalachian State's Patrick Morgan in the men's 1,000-meter run and former Liberty standout Matt Parker in the men's high jump. Morgan crossed the line in 2:27.77, while Parker equaled the facility high jump standard with a successful clearance at 7-0.5.

Women's Meet Recap
The Lady Flames' other new ECAC qualifier on Saturday was sophomore Olivia Charnuski (Elmira, Ontario). She clocked a personal-best 8.84 seconds in winning the 60-meter hurdles.

Charnuski also participated on Liberty's victorious 4 x 400 relay squad, along with Meghan Burggraf (Fr., Lynchburg, Va.), Kaitlyn Johnson (So., Florissant, Mo.) and Chenoa Freeman (Sr., Lincoln, Del.). Their official winning time was 4:01.77, putting the Lady Flames more than four seconds in front of runner-up Appalachian State.

The relay triumph was the third of the day for Freeman, who previously captured the 200 (25.69) and 400-meter dash (57.52) titles.

Burggraf also had a successful day, including a season-best 800-meter time of 2:18.89 which stood up for second place.

Other Lady Flames who earned runner-up honors included Jennifer Klugh (So., Centerburg, Ohio), Christina Mitchell (So., Monroe, Va.) and Marianne Wheeler (Jr., Wilson, Texas).

Klugh captured second place in the women's 1,000-meter run in 3:04.12 and was followed by teammate Hailey Neal (Jr., West Palm Beach, Fla.) in third place, with a 3:09.10.

Mitchell and Wheeler shared second in the women's high jump, as each Lady Flame got over the bar at 5-3.

Sophomore Alyssa Pegues (So., Warner Robins, Ga.) finished in the top four of three different events on Saturday. She triple jumped an indoor personal-best 38-1.5 for third place, ran 7.84 seconds in the 60-meter dash for third and clocked a 26.67 in the 200-meter dash for the fourth spot.

Finally, freshman Shelley Parker (Lynchburg, Va.) continued a strong start to her collegiate career. She tied for third place in the pole vault, after a successful clearance at 10-11.75.

Men's Meet Recap
Competing in his first home meet in a Liberty uniform, Ryan Smith (R-Fr., Winder, Ga.) won the shot put with an IC4A-qualifying 51-3.5 toss. He also took third in the weight throw, becoming the No. 6 performer in program history at 52-9.25.

Clarence Powell (Jr., Marianna, Fla.) competed in the high jump, long jump and triple jump at the same meet for the first time this season and fared well in all three disciplines. He won the triple jump at 46-11.5, ended up second in the long jump with a 22-7.75 and tied for second in the high jump at 6-10.75.

Freshman Kevin Reddington (Vancouver, Wash.) was right behind Powell, coming in second with a 46-7.25 leap. He also nabbed third place with his 22-7.25 long jump.

Completing a stellar performance by the Flames in the field events, Kolby Shepherd (Jr., Dublin, Ga.), Cody Fridgen (So., Sarasota, Fla.) and Justin Savini (Sr., Lincoln, Del.) swept the top three places in the men's pole vault. Shepherd won with a season-best 16-4.75 effort, while runner-up Fridgen and third-place Savini both sailed over 15-3.

Liberty's men's 500-meter runners did the pole vaulters one better, finishing 1-2-3-4 in the two-and-a-half lap event. Taylor Courtney (Fr., Manheim, Pa.) led the way in 1:07.19, followed by teammates Andre Washington (Fr., Unionville, Va.) in 1:07.78, Chris Johnson (So., Virginia Beach, Va.) in 1:08.01 and Chris Herbst (R-Jr., Baiting Hollow, N.Y.) in 1:08.77.

Courtney, Washington and Herbst were joined by junior Jacey Bailey (Tamarac, Fla.) in winning the 4 x 400 relay. The squad's winning time in a tight race with Appalachian State was 3:24.30.

Sophomores Jordan Bright (Damascus, Ore.) and Joel Terry (Union Springs, N.Y.) both notched third-place finishes in mid-distance events. Bright ran 1:59.55 in the 800, while Terry stopped the clock in 2:33.76 in the 1,000.

Drew Edwards (So., Anchorage, Alaska) also ran a good 1,000, closing out his best-ever heptathlon performance with a 2:40.04 clocking. Edwards finished fourth in the event with 4,535 points, becoming the No. 6 performer in Liberty history.

Liberty will travel to University Park, Pa., next weekend to compete in the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup for the third consecutive season. The rare team-scored competition is set to begin Friday at noon, with the women's pentathlon 60-meter hurdles. The two-day meet will be held at Penn State's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track Facility.

Meanwhile, Sam Chelanga (R-Jr., Nairobi, Kenya) is entered in the 5K at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games, to be contested next Saturday at the Reggie Lewis Center. His race, which is set for a 7:22 p.m. start, will feature an international field including 2007 world champion Bernard Lagat and 2009 Bowerman winner Galen Rupp. The meet will be taped and broadcast on ESPN2, Feb. 7 from 6-8 p.m.

Men's Heptathlon Final Scores
1) Kyle Steiner, Unattached – 5,154
2) Nic Chernikow, East Tennessee State – 4,692
3) Evan Brusich, Gardner-Webb – 4,660
4) Drew Edwards, Liberty – 4,535
5) Jordan Briggs, East Tennessee State – 4,351
6) Max Lee, East Tennessee State – 4,342
7) Tyler Grant, Washington & Lee – 4,020
8) Les Gilbert, East Tennessee State – 3,691