Liberty Twilight Qualifier nets Flames pair of records

The Liberty University track and field team not only broke school records, but also qualified three more athletes to the IC4A championships as the Flames hosted its annual Liberty Twilight Qualifier Thursday.

Both Liberty records came from the women’s squad.  Sophomore Olivia Charnuski broke the Liberty woman’s 100-meter hurdles record with a time of 13.65 seconds – a record previously held for 21 years. Junior Melinda Bendik shattered the previous hammer school record with a winning toss of 181 feet, 6 inches.

“We had some huge bests today,” Coach Tolsma said. “Olivia Charnuski had a huge (personal record) in the hurdles.”

Junior Krystle Matthews also achieved a personal best time of 14.58 seconds and finished second in the 100-meter-hurdles. Senior Chenoa Freeman capped off the last home event of her career with a win in the 400-meter-dash.

The men’s team dominated many of the events and had three of its athletes qualify for the upcoming IC4A championship on May 14th. Sophomore Chris Johnson recorded a personal record of 48-1 1/4 in the men’s triple jump that also was good enough for an IC4A qualify. Junior Geren Woodbridge followed suit with personal best in javelin, throwing a 194-5.

Clarence Powell won the long jump event with a 24-7 1/4 on his final attempt.  Other first place finishers included junior Kolby Shepherd in the pole vault and junior Elliot Galeone in the javelin.

“Elliot Galeone threw just over 200 feet which was a huge accomplishment against the competition,” Rebekah Ricksecker said. “It’s good to see (that we are) showing dominance over the bigger schools.”

However, though many of the other events were competitive, the headline contest was the men’s 800-meter run. The stacked event featured the NCAA Division I indoor national champion Robby Andrews of UVA as well as other competitors from big schools.  Andrews won the event but the story for Liberty was sophomore Isaac Wendland who set a personal best and qualified for the IC4A championship with a time of 1:50.22. The new time is second only to Chuck Lyngaas’ 1:49.60 at the 1997 Liberty Twilight Qualifier.

It feels really good,” Wendland said. “I knew if I didn’t get a (personal record) here, the season would have been over for me.  I had to race like this was going to be my last race.”

Sophomore Aaron Johnson and freshman Kevin Reddington both recorded personal bests in the long jump competition while Ryan Smith achieved personal bests in both  shot-put and hammer throw.

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