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Flames Excel at Season-Opening CCU Invite

March 13, 2010  Conway, S.C.  RSS
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Sophomore Alyssa Pegues won the 100-meter dash and posted two ECAC qualifiers, Saturday at the season-opening Coastal Carolina Invitational.

Sophomore Alyssa Pegues won the 100-meter dash and posted two ECAC qualifiers, Saturday at the season-opening Coastal Carolina Invitational.

Four event victories, five IC4A qualifiers and two ECAC qualifiers highlighted Liberty's performance at the second and final day of the Coastal Carolina Invitational, Saturday in Conway, S.C.

Men's Meet Recap
Two of Liberty's three titles on the men's side came in the field events, and both first-place finishes were posted by freshmen. Ryan Smith (R-Fr., Winder, Ga.) dominated the men's shot put, as his top heave of 54-1.25 outdistanced the runner-up by more than four and a half feet. Smith notched his second IC4A qualification of the weekend, to go along with the hammer throw, and became the No. 5 all-time outdoor shot put performer in program history.

Meanwhile, Kevin Reddington (Vancouver, Wash.) took top honors in the long jump and met the IC4A standard with a 23-7.5 leap. Winston-Salem State's Paul Williams also jumped 23-7.5, but Reddington was awarded first place due to a longer second-best jump (23-2.75 to 23-2). Fellow newcomer Aaron Johnson (So., Virginia Beach, Va.) backed up Reddington's effort by taking fifth at 22-6.25.

Evans Kigen (R-Jr., Eldoret, Kenya) was the Flames' final event champion, as his 9:13.68 clocking in the 3,000-meter steeplechase left him six seconds in front of his nearest competitor. The time also earned him a spot in the IC4A meet.

Taylor Courtney (Fr., Manheim, Pa.) also posted an IC4A qualifier in an event involving barriers. He tied for the runner-up spot during his collegiate 400-meter hurdles debut, crossing the line in 53.62 seconds.

Liberty's other IC4A-worthy effort came in the 4 x 100 relay, when Kevin Fogg (Fr., Raleigh, N.C.), Chris Herbst (R-Jr., Baiting Hollow, N.Y.), Jacey Bailey (Jr., Tamarac, Fla.) and Roderick Spruel (Fr., Fredericksburg, Va.) teamed up for a third-place finish at 41.97.

The Flames were also successful in the 4 x 400 relay, the meet's final event as usual. Paul Arslain (Fr., Dover, Pa.), Jordan Bright (So., Damascus, Ore.), Reddington and Bailey collected a second-place finish with their 3:20.32 clocking.

Cody Fridgen (So., Sarasota, Fla.) highlighted Liberty's strong pole vault showing, getting over 15-7 on his third attempt to defeat teammate and reigning Big South indoor pole vault champion Kolby Shepherd, competing unattached. Geren Woodbridge (R-Jr., Allentown, Pa.) added fifth place in the event, after clearing 14-7.25.

Other top finishers included Drew Edwards (So., Anchorage, Alaska) and Elliot Galeone (R-Jr., White Hall, Md.). Edwards' 1:55.57 effort was good for fourth place in the 800, while Galeone claimed fifth in the discus at 154-5.

Women's Meet Recap
Alyssa Pegues (So., Warner Robins, Ga.) was the Lady Flames' top performer on Saturday, having a hand in both of her team's ECAC-qualifying efforts. Aided by a 1.7 m/s tailwind, Pegues won the 100-meter dash in a personal-best 11.95 seconds, becoming the fourth-fastest performer in program history.

Pegues was also part of Liberty's eighth-fastest all-time 4 x 100 relay quartet, along with Melanie Sims (So., Cleveland Heights, Ohio), Olivia Charnuski (So., Elmira, Ontario) and Chenoa Freeman (Sr., Lincoln, Del.). The squad ran a time of 47.22, taking third place overall.

Six other Lady Flames posted top five finishes on the day, highlighted by Hailey Neal's (Jr., West Palm Beach, Fla.) runner-up effort in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Her 11:09.86 clocking makes her the No. 2 performer in Liberty history, trailing only school record holder Piper Newby.

Melinda Bendik (Jr., Odessa, Texas) also became one of the Lady Flames' top five all-time performers with her 136-3 discus. She took third place in the event and claimed fifth place on the program's top performers list.

Shelley Parker (Fr., Lynchburg, Va.) pole vaulted 10-11.75 for fourth place in her event, while Charnuski ended up fourth in the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 14.58.

Meghan Burggraf (Fr., Lynchburg, Va.) crossed the line fifth in the 800, stopping the watch in 2:17.40. In the meet's other mid-distance race, the 1,500, Ashley Osborne (R-Sr., Bristol, Va.) placed fifth in 4:49.46, after redshirting the cross country and indoor track seasons.

Liberty will remain in Conway, S.C., to train during spring break and then compete at the Shamrock Invitational next weekend. The three-day meet, hosted by Coastal Carolina, will begin Thursday at noon, with the start of the decathlon.