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2010 Big South Outdoor Track: Day 3 Blog

April 17, 2010  Charleston, S.C.  RSS
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Jaime Watson will attempt to become the first runner ever to win both the 400 and 800-meter events at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Jaime Watson will attempt to become the first runner ever to win both the 400 and 800-meter events at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

From the press box overlooking Charleston Southern's Bagwell-Settle Track, will provide live blog updates from the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the third straight year. Please see below for other ways to follow all of the action, as Liberty aims to complete an unprecedented Big South "Double Triple."

Meet Schedule

Live Video Streaming (Big South Network)

Heat Sheets

North Charleston Weather (Courtesy of

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 with any comments, questions or suggestions throughout the meet. Thanks, and Go Flames!

Men's Team Scores (Final)
1) Liberty - 194

2) Coastal Carolina - 117.5
3) Radford - 100 
4) VMI - 95.5 
5T) High Point - 88 
5T) Charleston Southern - 88 
7) Gardner-Webb - 55 
8) Winthrop - 50.5 
9) UNC Asheville - 28.5

Women's Team Scores (Final)
1) Liberty - 245.5

2) Coastal Carolina - 191
3) Charleston Southern - 90 
4) Winthrop - 73 
5) High Point - 69
6) Radford - 56.5
7) Gardner-Webb - 39 
8) UNC Asheville - 37
9) VMI - 16 

4:52 p.m. - Congratulations to all of Liberty's award winners! Men's AND Women's Coach of the Year Brant Tolsma, Men's Track Performer of the Year Evans Kigen, Men's Field Performer of the Year Clarence Powell, Women's Freshman of the Year Meghan Burggraf and Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year Rebekah Ricksecker. Also, Ricksecker and Josh Edmonds made the Big South All-Academic Team.

That wraps up my blog for another meet. Again, keep an eye on later today for a full recap of this historic day for the Liberty track & field and cross country programs. Go Flames!

4:30 p.m. - Liberty looks sharp out on the Charleston Southern football field, as votes are still being tallied. The men's athletes are attired in navy blue polos, with the women's athletes in red. The coaching staff is decked out in all white.

4:20 p.m. - The official final scores are now posted above, as we await the start of the awards ceremony, here in Charleston.

4:10 p.m. - This meet is in the books, after the women's 4 x 400 relay has come to an end. Liberty finishes third in the event, but the first-ever men's and women's Big South Conference "Double Triple" is complete! Stay tuned for final team standings and award winners on this blog, as well as a full meet recap on, later this afternoon.

1st leg - Aurielle Green leads off for the Lady Flames and hands off to fellow freshman Meghan Burggraf.

2nd leg - Burggraf moves Liberty into fifth place. Coastal Carolina and Winthrop way out front.

3rd leg - Melanie Sims passes High Point and UNC Asheville for third.

4th leg - Chenoa Freeman runs a strong anchor leg, but has too much real estate to make up to run down Coastal Carolina and Winthrop. Winthrop comes back to win, with Coastal second and Liberty a clear third. Liberty runs approximately 3:52, which would be an unofficial season best.

4 p.m. - Here's how the men's 4 x 400 relay unfolded. Herbst, Edwards, Washington and Courtney netted third place for the Flames. The time was 3:18.26.

Also, team scores are updated, entering both 4 x 400 relays.

1st leg - Chris Herbst hands off to Drew Edwards somewhere in the middle of the pack.

2nd leg - Drew Edwards got Liberty up to fourth. CSU dropped out of the race, since the Buccaneers only have two healthy legs.

3rd leg - Andre Washington holds off VMI's Felix Kitur for second. Radford has a large lead.

4th leg - Taylor Courtney can't quite run down VMI at the line. Radford wins going away.

3:50 p.m. - All that's left now are the men's and women's 4 x 400 relays. Who will run for Liberty in each relay is anybody's guess at this point. The Flames and Lady Flames have already clinched the Big South's first-ever "Double Triple." I'm still waiting on the official 5K results to update the team scores, but Liberty won both events.

3:45 p.m. - Liberty has put an exclamation point on its Big South women's team title! Ashley Osborne wins the 5K in approximately 17:51, followed closely by Jennifer Klugh. Rebekah Ricksecker was in third, but may have slipped to fifth or sixth on the last lap as fatigue finally caught up with her.

3:41 p.m. - 800 meters left, and it's all Osborne and Klugh. The Liberty duo is well ahead of the three-member chase pack, which includes Ricksecker, Phillips and Crotts. This is Ricksecker's third race of the day. Osborne's split is 15:07.

3:38 p.m. - Four laps to go in the women's 5K, and the lead pack is reshaped again. Osborne and Klugh took over the top two spots on the backstretch, and are followed by Phillips, Crotts and Ricksecker. Granger is sixth and looking tired. Osborne and Klugh have a 10-meter gap on third.

3:35 p.m. - With six laps remaining, the lead pack is down to eight. Granger surged to the lead on the backstretch, taking Osborne with her past Crotts. They've started to split away from the next group, which includes Klugh and Ricksecker. Split is 9:24.

3:33 p.m. - With eight laps left, 11 runners remain in contention. VMI's Hannah Granger has moved up to second behind Crotts, with Osborne third. All three Lady Flames are in the lead pack.

3:31 p.m. - Three laps in, Winthrop's Carey Phillips and Radford's Lori Crotts are in front, followed closely by Ashley Osborne and Jennifer Klugh.

3:30 p.m. - The team standings have been updated. Only the men's and women's 5K and men's and women's 4 x 400 remain to be entered. The women's 5K is now on the track, including Liberty's Ashley Osborne, Rebekah Ricksecker and Jennifer Klugh. I'll give an update in a moment.

3:27 p.m. - Clarence Powell triple jumps 48-0 for second place, giving him a first, second and third place finish this weekend. He is joined among the scorers by Anthony Bryant in sixth at 46-10.25 and Aaron Johnson in eighth at 45-9.25. Team scores are updated above, as are the women's team scores through the 200.

3:22 p.m. - Evans Kigen wins his second career Big South 5K title and his second event of this meet, in approximately 14:34. He wins by over 200 meters. Also, the scores above have been updated through the men's 200.

3:17 p.m. - With a mile to go, Evans Kigen is really putting on a show. His split is 9:57, and his lead is a little more than 100 meters over Cherry and two High Point teammates.

3:14 p.m. - With 8 laps to go, Kigen puts down the hammer, breaking away from High Point's Jesse Cherry decisively. By the time they come around again, Kigen's lead is seven seconds.

3:12 p.m. - Liberty only has Evans Kigen and Ryan Cox running the 5K. Kigen is part of a five-member lead pack. Nine laps to go. Sorry details are sketchy early on. I'm trying to help Coach Tolsma figure out where our men's and women's teams stand. Kigen crosses the mile in about 4:45.

3:03 p.m. - Chenoa Freeman took sixth in the 200 in 24.66, while Alyssa Pegues was eighth in 25.17. So, the duo totals four points to Coastal Carolina's 12. Liberty's lead over the Chanticleers is 35.5 points with two events left. By my mathematics, the Lady Flames have unofficially clinched the Big South team title!

Freeman's 24.66 was an ECAC qualifier.

Next on the track is the men's 5K. I'll have to see who is actually competing for Liberty, with the title pretty much sewn up for them as well. I hesitate to make that call, without seeing the triple jump results yet.

2:56 p.m. - Javon Young false starts in the 200, making this a wide-open event. It becomes a war of attrition, with two sprinters pulling up lame and only six finishing. Jacey Bailey is part of a blanket finish behind winner Dantwan Spreads of CSU. Bailey ends up a close fourth, in 21.57 seconds.

Also updated are the women's team standings, entering the 200-meter dash, now on the track. Chenoa Freeman and Alyssa Pegues will both line up for this event.

2:47 p.m. - Men's team standings are updated above, reflecting the flip flop between second and third place.

Next up on the track is the men's 200, including Liberty's Jacey Bailey.

2:42 p.m. - It sounds like Taylor Courtney actually finished in third in the men's 400 hurdles, just behind Olinger of Radford.

Good performance by the Lady Flames in the 400 hurdles final! Olivia Charnuski was second in 1:02.99, Melanie Sims third in 1:03.14, Christina Mitchell fifth in 1:05.38 and Mia Aghaji ninth in 1:07.78. It will be 18 points for Liberty, one for Coastal Carolina. The Lady Flames' lead will be 43.5 points over the Chanticleers, with three events left--200, 5K and 4 x 400 relay.

2:38 p.m. - The men's discus results are reflected above, including an event championship for Elliot Galeone. His facility record distance of 159-3 gave him a three-inch victory over Billy Pearce of Winthrop.

2:34 p.m. - Gardner-Webb's Paul Steinke claims a dominating win in the men's 400 hurdles in 52.17 seconds. Taylor Courtney edges Radford's Brett Olinger for second by two thousandths of a second in a personal-best 52.85. Chris Herbst is fifth at 53.99. Chris Johnson is eighth at 55.38. 13 team points for the Flames in this event.

Next up, at 2:40, is the women's 400 hurdles. Another event which will feature four Lady Flames--Mia Aghaji, Olivia Charnuski, Melanie Sims and Christina Mitchell. Coastal only has one finalist in this event, so the Lady Flames aim to bolster their advantage.

2:22 p.m. - The men's 800 results were approved, with Isaac Wendland maintaining his runner-up status. The standings above have been updated.

2:17 p.m. - Women's team scores are up to date. Another note on Meghan Burggraf's win. The freshman's career-best time of 2:12.78 set a new facility record, here at Bagwell-Settle Track.

It also looks like the men's discus has concluded, with Liberty's Elliot Galeone as one of the top thre finishers. We'll wait to see those official results.

2:10 p.m. - Women's team scores above now reflect the 100, but not yet the 800. Once the 800 is figured in, Liberty will have a 26.5-point lead on Coastal Carolina with four events left.

Sounds like the men's 800 results are still being disputed.

We now have a few minutes to catch our collective breath, before the men's 400 hurdles event gets underway at 2:30. Liberty will be represented by Chris Herbst, Taylor Courtney and Chris Johnson.

2:08 p.m. - A 1-2-3 finish for Liberty in the women's 800, but in a bit of an unexpected order. Meghan Burggraf takes the win at 2:12.78, followed by Rebekah Ricksecker in 2:13.40 and Jaime Watson in 2:14.20. Rod'Esther Castor is eighth in 2:18.99. Liberty outscores Coastal Carolina, 25-5.

1st lap - Jaime Watson and Radford's Britney Whittaker lead the pack, followed by Burggraf and Ricksecker. Split is about 1:02 for Watson.

2nd lap - Meghan Burggraf and Rebekah Ricksecker surge past Watson on the homestretch, but Watson hangs on for third, just a half hour after the close of the 400-meter dash. Coastal's Christian Johnson is fourth and Rod'Esther Castor gets up for eighth.

2:04 p.m. - Liberty can really open up a margin in this event, the women's 800 final. The Lady Flames will be represented by Jaime Watson, Rebekah Ricksecker, Meghan Burggraf and Rod'Esther Castor. Watson earlier won the 400 in this event and is a three-time Big South outdoor 800 champion. Ricksecker won the 1,500 earlier today.

2:02 p.m. - Isaac Wendland takes his second Big South runner-up finish at 800 meters this year, in 1:52.87. VMI's Felix Kitur wins at 1:49.62. There is a red flag. We'll see if any disqualifications result from the collision with 450 meters to go in the men's 800 final.

1st lap - Felix Kitur takes over from the gun, and a runner falls just before the bell. Wendland in second at 56. Already four seconds behind Kitur.

2nd lap - Kitur dominates from start to finish, while Wendland holds off a host of competitors in the dash for second place.

1:57 p.m. - Pegues ends up seventh in 12.25 seconds in the women's 100 final. Coastal Carolina scores 15 points to Liberty's two in the event.

Men's and women's team standings are updated above, not including the women's 100 yet. 

Next up on the track is the men's 800, featuring Big South indoor runner-up in this event, Isaac Wendland. However, this is VMI's Felix Kitur's race to lose.

1:49 p.m. - Still waiting for a chance to catch up the team standings above, but we'll move on to the women's 100. This race features four Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and Liberty sophomore Alyssa Pegues, who has already finished second in the triple jump and third in the 4 x 100 relay today.

1:48 p.m. - Spruel ends up sixth at 10.81 in the men's 100. Javon Young dominates at 10.23, but appears to have sustained an injury near the end of the race.

1:45 p.m. - Jacey Bailey false starts, leaving Spruel as Liberty's lone hope for points in this deep event.

1:43 p.m. - Jacey Bailey and Roderick Spruel are readying for the home fans' much-anticipated men's 100-meter dash final. Four CSU Buccaneers will be part of this race, featuring nationally-ranked sophomore Javon Young.

1:40 p.m. - Dominating performance by Jaime Watson in the 400 final! She led from start to finish, breaking the meet record and her own Liberty record at 53.61. Chenoa Freeman got out well and hung on for third place down the stretch, ending up at a season-best 55.00. 16 team points for Liberty, 13 for Coastal.

Also, men's team standings are updated above. Liberty's lead is 48.5 points with eight events left.

1:35 p.m. - I've been informed by VMI SID Brad Salois that Elliot Galeone had a 159-3 attempt in the discus recently. Nice effort by the Liberty redshirt junior!

1:32 p.m. - Next up is the women's 400 final, which could be another good event for Liberty. Seniors Jaime Watson and Chenoa Freeman lead the way. Coastal Carolina and Winthrop are also well represented, with three finalists each. Watson is attempting to become the first Big South athlete ever to win both the women's 400 and 800 events at the same meet. She'll only have 30 minutes to recover from this race, before the 800 final.

1:28 p.m. - Andre Washington closes well in the 400, getting fourth place at 48.42 seconds.

Also, the women's team standings are updated through the 100 hurdles. The Lady Flames have a 13.5-point lead with seven events left--the 400, 100, 800, 400 hurdles, 200, 5K and 4 x 400.

1:24 p.m. - We're about ready to start the men's 400 final, including Liberty freshman Andre Washington in lane 4.

1:19 p.m. - Very smooth race by Olivia Charnuski in the 100 hurdles, as the sophomore gets third place for the second straight year in 14.24. Krystle Matthews is sixth in 14.75. Coastal Carolina finishes 5-7-8. So, it was nine points for the Lady Flames and seven for the Chanticleers.

Also, men's standings are updated above, through the 110 hurdles.

Krystle Matthews has been one busy and successful competitor this weekend, winning the heptathlon, taking third in the javelin, sixth in the long jump and sixth in the 100 hurdles for 22 points.

1:13 p.m. - I don't think I've had a chance to mention today's final field event to get underway, the men's triple jump. It just got started across the way. Liberty boasts the top three seeds--Clarence Powell, Anthony Bryant and Chris Johnson.

1:10 p.m. - After a slow start, Chris Herbst comes back for third place, in 14.60. Russell Allen was sixth, finishing in a personal-best 14.95 clocking in the 110 hurdles.

Next up on the track, at 1:15, is the women's 100 hurdles. Krystle Matthews and Olivia Charnuski will line up side by side in a final which also includes three Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

1:02 p.m. - The women's team scores are now updated, and the Lady Flames surged back to the top, after that impressive 1-2-3-6 showing in the 1,500 final.

Next up on the track is the men's 110 hurdles final, including Liberty's Chris Herbst and Russell Allen. The hurdlers will be competing from right to left on your computer screen, to take advantage of the nice tailwind.

12:50 p.m. - Rebekah Ricksecker is the first-ever three-time Big South champion in the women's 1,500-meter run. I'll get the point totals updated above very shortly.

The men's point totals are updated, through the recently completed pole vault. Another good event for the Flames, as it was Cody Fridgen winning at 15-5.5, Geren Woodbridge second at 15-5.5 and Spencer McCorkel fourth at 13-11.75. 23 team points for Liberty in this event!

12:46 p.m. - Here's how I observed the women's 1,500 final. Another 1-2-3 finish for the Lady Flames, in the metric mile! Rebekah Ricksecker won her third Big South 1,500 crown in 4:38.93, followed by Hailey Neal in 4:39.04 and Jennifer Klugh in 4:39.80. Coastal Carolina takes fourth and fifth. I completely missed it with my attention to the front of the pack below, but Betel Yosef got up for sixth place in 4:50.51. Liberty outscores Coastal Carolina, 27-9, in this event.

1st lap - Coastal Carolina's Christian Johnson and Shelby Donahue take the early lead, followed by Rebekah Ricksecker, Jennifer Klugh and Hailey Neal in single file.

2nd lap - Still the same order with 800 left. Split is 2:13.

3rd lap - Seven runners still in the lead pack with 400 to go, including two Coastal and three Liberty. Split is 3:31.

Final lap - Ricksecker takes off at the bell, pulling Klugh and Neal with her. Neal almost gets caught by Donahue and Johnson with about 200 to go and then hits the accelerator. She sprints past Klugh and nearly edges Ricksecker for the win, but I think Liberty's redshirt senior picked up her third career Big South 1,500 title.

12:32 p.m. - The next event on the track, at 12:40, is the women's 1,500 final. Liberty hopes for big points in this event, from the trio of Rebekah Ricksecker, Jennifer Klugh and Hailey Neal. These three went 1-2-3 in the mile at the Big South indoor meet this year, giving the Lady Flames 24 team points.

Also, the men's scores above are current through the 1,500-meter final, which saw Coastal Carolina's Kyle Kling edge High Point's Josh Morgan for the win, 3:52.47 to 3:52.48.

12:27 p.m. - The women's standings above now include both the 4 x 100 and triple jump results.

Liberty got a 1-2 finish in the women's triple jump, with Mia Aghaji winning in 38-9 and Alyssa Pegues taking second at 38-2.75. Both marks are season bests. Aghaji is the Lady Flames' first Big South triple jump winner since Amy Sturgill in 1999.

12:20 p.m. - Women's team standings are updated, through the discus. Still waiting on the 4 x 100 results to become official.

Coastal Carolina outscored Liberty, 21-4, in the event, thanks to a 1-3-4 finish. The Lady Flames' Melinda Bendik ended up fifth at 140-7, nine inches out of fourth.

12:15 p.m. - Men's team standings are now up to date. The next event on the track, the men's 1,500, will be the only event today without a Liberty competitor.

The men's discus will start at 12:30, featuring Liberty's pre-meet favorite, redshirt junior Elliot Galeone.

In other field event news, I recently saw Liberty's Cody Fridgen get over a pole vault bar. I also see Geren Woodbridge still vaulting.

12:13 p.m. - Crazy women's 4 x 100 relay just now. Liberty had a terrible first handoff, but came back to finish third in a season-best 46.72. Coastal Carolina had the race in hand, but their anchor pulled her hamstring and went down in a heap after crossing the finish. Her injury allowed CSU to pass the Chanticleers for first place. Coastal ended up second. I'm not sure who their anchor was, but her injury could affect the way the rest of today's events play out.

I'm now going to try to get the team standings caught back up, starting with the men.

12:07 p.m. - Liberty's 4 x 100 relay quartet will include Melanie Sims, Chenoa Freeman, Olivia Charnuski and Alyssa Pegues, in that order.

12:03 p.m. - Charleston Southern is very impressive, as expected, winning the 4 x 100 relay in a meet and facility record time of 40.00. Liberty is edged by Radford for third place. The Flames end up fourth in 41.26.

Next on the track, at 12:10, is the women's 4 x 100 relay.

11:58 a.m. - The baton will pass from Spruel to Washington to Vassell to Bailey on Liberty's men's 4 x 100 relay quartet. Homestanding Charleston Southern enters as the heavy favorite in this event.

11:55 a.m. - It looks like the pole vault bar now stands at 14-11.5.

It also appears that Jacey Bailey, Roderick Spruel, Andre Washington and Oronde Vassell will comprise Liberty's men's 4 x 100 relay squad, although I'm not sure of their order.

11:47 a.m. - We're about eight minutes away from today's national anthem, which will be performed by members of the New Vision Vocal Ensemble.

11:40 a.m. - Melinda Bendik closes her series with her best mark of the day, 140-7. I'm not sure if that will move her up from fifth place though. At this point, it looks like Coastal Carolina could be in line for three of the top four spots in the women's discus, which would enable the Chanticleers to reclaim the lead in the team standings. Once the official results are entered, I'll pass them along.

11:35 a.m. - Now they just turned the pole vault performance board to read 14-1.75. The final round of women's discus throws is now underway.

11:33 a.m. - As the brief coaches meeting disperses at midfield, Bendik takes her next-to-last discus attempt and fouls. One throw left for the junior from Odessa, Texas.

13-11.75 is the new height at the pole vault. Unfortunately, I really can't see what's going on at all, behind the visiting bleachers.

It looks like the women's triple jump is still going on in that same region of the facility as well.

Some of the 4 x 100 relay quartets are beginning to warm up for their event. The men's race will go off at noon, with the women's relay to follow at 12:10.

11:25 a.m. - Looks like Melinda Bendik is starting the women's discus finals in fifth place. Her first of three finals throws reaches 133-3, no improvement.

As a tribute to Michael Prettyman, one of my frequent blog readers, I'll describe the lunch fare here at Bagwell-Settle Track. We had a fine Southern meal, with a BBQ sandwich and sweet tea!

11:12 a.m. - Bendik improves to 135-11 on her third throw. She and the other women's discus finalists will now warm up for their final three attempts.

The men's pole vault bar has been lifted to 13-5.75 now.

11:05 a.m. - Bendik fouls her second attempt, just after Coastal Carolina's Brittany Connor upped the ante with a 155-9 heave. Four more tries for Bendik to record a big mark.

10:55 a.m. - A 132-8 for Melinda Bendik on her first attempt in the discus. I saw two or three other throwers exceed that distance on their opening attempts. It looks like favorable wind conditions for the event, so hopefully Bendik can take advantage of it on her remaining throws.

Across the way at the pole vault, it appears that the men's pole vault bar will start out at 12-11.75.

10:35 a.m. - Looks like warmups are underway for Melinda Bendik's flight in the women's discus, and we're about to get started in the women's triple jump. I'll see what I'm able to gather from the performance boards, but I'm going to sneak out and see if I can get a quick bite to eat before this day really gets hectic.

10:05 a.m. - The Liberty men's pole vaulters are taking a couple warm-up laps around the track, before beginning preparations for their event, which is slated to start at 11. The Flames finished 1-2-3-4 at the Big South indoor meet. That will be a bit more difficult to accomplish today, with Kolby Shepherd redshirting, but this still should be one of Liberty's best events.

Another upcoming event is the women's triple jump, set to begin at 10:30. Liberty sophomores Mia Aghaji and Alyssa Pegues are seeded 1-2 in the event, which will be another key one in the team battle with Coastal Carolina.

As they did on Championship Sunday at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, it appears that many of the Liberty athletes are sporting neon yellow Liberty Flames t-shirts. I've seen Geren Woodbridge, Justin Savini and Melinda Bendik so attired thus far.

9:35 a.m. - Today's first event will be the women's discus, set for a 10 a.m. start. Liberty only has one competitor, Melinda Bendik, but she is projected to be among the top 3-4 finishers. She will not throw until the second flight, and I'll try to catch some of her marks on the performance board when she steps up to throw later this morning.

It will be interesting to see how Bendik fares against Coastal Carolina's Brittany Connor today. The two throwers tied with the second-best distance in the hammer on Thursday, but Bendik took runner-up honors with a better second throw. It will also represent the first of many head-to-head battles between the Lady Flames and Chanticleers today.

9:25 a.m. – Welcome back to North Charleston, South Carolina, for Championship Saturday at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The sun is shining yet again, and we're gearing up for an action-packed day here at Bagwell-Settle Track.

We have seen many unexpected results during the last two days, but the team standings are pretty much in line with most people's pre-meet expectations. The Liberty men's squad owns a sizable lead, while the Lady Flames and Coastal Carolina are engaged in a back-and-forth battle for the top spot.

The complexion of the team standings is sure to change many more times today, as 25 event finals will be contested during our six hours of activity. Compare that to 17 event finals in 18 hours during Thursday and Friday's action.

It will all get started in 30 minutes, with the women's discus final. I typed over 7,500 words in yesterday's blog and hope to have many more exciting things to convey to you today, as I document Liberty's chase for its first-ever Big South Conference "Double Triple." Stay tuned, and Go Flames!