Ryan Smith won his fourth straight Big South indoor men's shot put title on Thursday.
Liberty athletes won five individual events on Thursday, propelling both the Flames and Lady Flames into the lead after one day of the 2013 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. The meet is being contested at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C. On the men's side, Caleb Edmonds (3K), Cody Bingham (pole vault) and Ryan Smith (shot put) took home top honors in their respective events. They helped the 15-time defending conference champion Flames post 67.5 points on the day, putting Liberty 34 tallies ahead of second-place High Point. Meanwhile, Lady Flame sophomores Jacy Christiansen (3K) and Mychelle Cumings (shot put) won their events on Thursday, contributing to Liberty's 68-point haul. The three-time defending Big South champion Lady Flames sit 14 points in front of Coastal Carolina entering the meet's final day.
Men's Day One Recap Traditionally a strong event for Liberty at this meet, the men's pole vault saw the Flames rack up 23.5 points on Thursday. Leading the way was the duo of Bingham and Cody Fridgen, who each cleared 15-5 and earned first and second place, respectively. A redshirt freshman, Bingham becomes the Flames' 11th men's pole vault titlist in the meet's 16-year history. Meanwhile, Fridgen is now a five-time All-Big South pole vaulter. Liberty also got pole vault points from the freshman pairing of Ken Ritchey and Alexandru Barker. Both cleared 14-5.25, with Ritchey sharing fifth place and Barker coming in seventh. Smith became the first men's thrower in meet history to win four straight shot put crowns, doing so in dominating fashion. His season-best winning toss of 59-0.25 landed about five feet past his nearest competitor, giving the Flames seven straight conference championships in the event. Smith is now a seven-time Big South shot put champion for his career, including the indoor and outdoor competitions. Teammate Jacob DeValve added a third-place shot put finish, thanks to a 50-10.25 heave. It was DeValve's first career All-Big South notation in a throwing event. Edmonds won the first Big South individual event title of his collegiate career, claiming the 3K crown in a time of 8:20.14. It was the 12th time in 16 years that a Liberty runner has been victorious in the men's 3K final at this meet. Freshman teammate Sam Hibbs crossed the line in 8:35.34 for seventh place in the 3K. Edmonds later teamed up with Jarred Cornfield, Tyler Weigandt and Josh MacDonald for a third-place showing in the distance medley relay. The quartet's time was 10:13.09. The Flames' final day one points came in the long jump, as three Liberty long jumpers placed among the eight scorers. Aaron Johnson led the way, jumping 22-11.75 for fourth place. Tarell Williams was next in fifth place, sailing out to 22-11.25. Kevin Reddington added an eighth-place showing, leaping 22-2.5. After four of the seven heptathlon disciplines, Tevan McIntire leads the way for Liberty's multi-event competitors. He sits in fourth place with 2,688 points entering Friday's events. Liberty picked up three new IC4A qualifications during the running event preliminaries. Maxwell Asante and Williams recorded matching 60-meter dash times of 6.98, each hitting the IC4A standard and qualifying for Friday's final in the process. Five Flames sprinters have now qualified for the IC4A meet in the 60 this season. In the 400, defending conference champion Leonard Robbins dipped under the IC4A line for the first time this season with his 49.45 clocking. He will be one of three Flames in the final, along with Andre Washington (49.66) and Paul Arslain (50.23).
Women's Meet Recap The distance tandem of Christiansen and Khristina Kanagy helped get the Lady Flames' day off to a great start, crossing the finish line nearly simultaneously in the women's 3K final, in first and second place, respectively. Christiansen's first Big South title and the fifth straight victory for the Lady Flames in this event came in an ECAC-qualifying time of 10:00.65. Meanwhile, Kanagy's 10:00.82 effort set a new personal best and also punched her ECAC ticket. Senior Betel Yosef followed in a personal-best time of 10:14.04 for fifth place in the 3K, making it a 22-point event for the Lady Flames. Liberty also collected 19 points in the pentathlon, with Christina Mitchell finishing second, Audrey Bamford placing third and Riley Brandon coming in fourth. Mitchell's ninth career All-Big South honor came as a result of her 3,426 points. Bamford placed third in the pentathlon for the second straight year, thanks to a personal-best score of 3,386. The sophomore now ranks No. 6 in program history. Fellow sophomore Brandon boosted her personal-best pentathlon score by 240 points on Thursday, finishing at 3,332 for fourth place. She moved up to No. 9 on the Lady Flames' all-time list as a result. Cumings won the women's shot put title for the second year in a row, with a new school-record toss of 51-4.25. The throw eclipsed her previous mark of 51-3, set in 2012. Cumings won the event by more than 5 ½ feet over Renee Reives of VMI. Teammate and classmate Jennifer Nicholson complemented Cumings' victory with a sixth-place finish and a throw of 41-8. Senior Shelley Parker was one of three women's pole vaulters to successfully clear 11-9 on Thursday. However, Parker was awarded third place after requiring three attempts to get over 11-9. She is now a five-time all-conference pole vaulter during her career. Melissa Rohwer came in fifth and Janae Jones was seventh in a long jump competition where the No. 2 through 7 finishers were separated by just 4.75 inches. Rohwer's top mark of the day was 17-8, while Jones ended up at 17-4.75. Freshman Brittney Webley provided the biggest highlight of the women's running event preliminaries for the Lady Flames. She qualified for Friday's 60 hurdles final with an ECAC-qualifying time of 8.75 seconds. Webley is now the fifth-fastest women's 60 hurdler in program history.
The 2013 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships will resume Friday at 10 a.m., with the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles and the women's weight throw.