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Lady Flames Run Well in Penn Relays DMR

April 22, 2010  Philadelphia, Pa.  RSS
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Chenoa Freeman recorded a stellar 55.08 split during the 400-meter leg of Thursday's distance medley relay.

Chenoa Freeman recorded a stellar 55.08 split during the 400-meter leg of Thursday's distance medley relay.

Watch a replay of Liberty's distance medley relay performance (Courtesy of Flotrack.org)

The Lady Flames' distance medley relay quartet of Jennifer Klugh, Chenoa Freeman, Jaime Watson and Rebekah Ricksecker made a run at both the school record and a victory in the event's college section, highlighting Thursday's action at the 116th Penn Relays at Franklin Field.

Liberty ended up placing fifth in its 17-member heat of the distance medley relay, clocking the second-fastest time in program history, 11:32.55. Klugh led off with a 3:34.51 split on the 1,200-meter leg, before a trio of seniors took the baton for the Lady Flames.

Freeman posted the heat's third-fastest 400-meter split (55.08) and Watson notched the fastest 800-meter time of the race (2:07.94), putting the Lady Flames neck-and-neck with Texas and Virginia for the lead. Ricksecker then closed the relay with a 4:55.03 effort on the 1,600-meter leg, claiming fifth place as Harvard came from behind to win the competitive section.

The relay team's performance set the tone for two other Lady Flames, who competed under the Franklin Field lights during Thursday evening's distance program. Hailey Neal, the Big South steeplechase champion, clocked a personal-best 10:58.31 to place ninth in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase college section. The redshirt sophomore joins 2008 graduate Piper Newby as the only sub-11:00 women's steeplechasers in program history.

Ashley Osborne, just five days removed from winning both the 5K and 10K titles at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, then took the track in the championship section of the women's 5K. Osborne posted a season-best time of 17:22.15, pulling down 31st place in the sizable field.

Liberty's first event on the track Thursday afternoon was the women's 4 x 100 relay, consisting of Melanie Sims, Chenoa Freeman, Olivia Charnuski and Alyssa Pegues. Running along with defending NCAA 4 x 100 national champion Texas A&M in the opening heat, the Lady Flames finished fifth in the section with a 47.25 clocking. Liberty's effort placed 42nd out of 94 teams overall and marked the fifth time this season the Lady Flames have dipped under the ECAC 4 x 100 qualifying standard.

In the field events, Melinda Bendik kept busy, throwing both the hammer and discus on Thursday. She saved her best hammer throw, 173-10, for last, claiming fourth place in the college section. Conversely, Bendik's first discus attempt was her longest of the competition. Her 128-6 toss earned 21st place.

Freshman Shelley Parker cleared the opening height of 11-0.25 on her first attempt, in the college section of the women's pole vault. However, she could not get over 11-6.25 and ended up in a tie for 22nd place.

A pair of field events will get Liberty's day started at 10 a.m., Friday at the Penn Relays. Anthony Bryant and Clarence Powell will compete in the men's high jump, while the trio of Cody Fridgen, Justin Savini and Geren Woodbridge will participate in the men's pole vault.