Track solid in invite

Despite a number of athletes taking the weekend off from competition, Liberty’s men’s and women’s track and field teams brought home 19 top-three finishes in the Highlander Invitational April 26
and 27.

Among the pack — Liberty runners Jessica Gass (left) and Caroline Parris (right) ran in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

“We were trying to kind of take a rest week after conference (championships) last weekend, and, yet, we still had a couple of good performances,” Head Coach Brant
Tolsma said.

On the men’s side of the meet, the Flames notched six top-three finishes, including three on the track.

Sophomore John Sherret took the second spot in the 800-meter run, finishing in 1:52.81.

In the 400-meter dash, senior Paul Arslain crossed the finish line third in a season-best 48.85 seconds. Tyler Weigandt came in behind Arslain for fourth place, running a 51.21-
second race.

The men’s 4×400-meter relay team also finished in second place. Roderick Spruel, Andre Washington, Tarell Williams and ConRoy Smith combined to run the relay in 41.87 seconds.

In the field, redshirt senior Ryan Smith followed his history-making Big South championship meet with a third-place finish in the discus throw and fourth place in the hammer throw. Smith threw the discus 147-10 and added a 195-4 toss in the hammer.

Sophomore Kyle Wheeler added a second-place finish for the Flames in the high jump, clearing 6-6. Freshman Patrick Donigan jumped 6-4 for third place.

The women added 13 top-three finishes to Liberty’s weekend haul.

On the track, three Lady Flames finished at the top. Amanda Wimbush took second place in the 800-meter run, crossing the finish line in 2:15.49. In the 400-meter dash, Freshman Corinn Bedell took the runner-up spot, clocking 57.8 seconds. Audrey Bamford (15.21 seconds) added a third-place finish for the Lady Flames in the 100-meter hurdles.

In the field, senior Shelley Parker vaulted her way to the third spot in the pole vault, clearing 11-9.

Sadalia Ellis and Kristen Willeford finished in second and third places, respectively, in the high jump. Although both cleared 5-4.25, Ellis only needed two tries to clear the bar while Willeford needed three.

Janae Jones and Melissa Rohwer each added top finishes for the Lady Flames in the horizontal jumps.

In the triple jump, Jones finished in second place with a 38-11 jump. Rohwer leaped to 37-8, finishing just behind Jones in the third position. In the long jump, Rohwer (18-3.25) took the fourth spot, while Jones (17-10) finished sixth.

The women also took the top spots in the discus and shot put.

Jocelyn Williams finished at the top of the discus throw with a 153-3 toss. Sophomore Jennifer Nicholson completed the 1-2 sweep of the event for the Lady Flames, throwing 152-1.

Junior Rachel Barnes’ performance in the shot put was also good for first place. Her 45-4.25 throw was a new personal best by more than two feet.

Nicholson added a third-place finish to her meet accolades with a 41-1.75 throw in the shot put.

“I feel very satisfied with my performances,” Nicholson said. “I finally am consistently throwing farther than what my high school (personal record) was. I am really pleased and excited about this season and where I’m going to progress from here.”

Williams also added to her weekend honors, claiming the runner-up spot in the hammer throw with a 174-10 toss.

“I was still recovering from (the) Big South (championship), so I was trying to stay consistent and hit some good marks,” Williams said. “Placing wasn’t a huge part of this meet … I was enjoying the lack of pressure and just having a relaxing meet.”

The track and field teams return home to finish their regular season Wednesday in the Liberty Twilight Qualifier. The meet will be held at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex and will begin at 1 p.m.

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