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Highlander Invitational Next for BSC Champions

April 25, 2013  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Abigail Flower (foreground) set school records in the women's 100 and 200 dashes at the Big South meet, while Ansley Gebben (background) tied the program record in the women's 400 hurdles.

Abigail Flower (foreground) set school records in the women's 100 and 200 dashes at the Big South meet, while Ansley Gebben (background) tied the program record in the women's 400 hurdles.

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After sweeping the Big South Conference team titles, the Liberty men's and women's track & field squads will be back in action at the Highlander Invitational, Friday and Saturday at Radford's Cupp Stadium.

Liberty's third straight appearance at this meet will begin Friday at noon with the women's discus. Saturday's full schedule of events will get started with the men's discus and women's shot put at 9 a.m.

How to Follow the Action
Live results are expected to be available during both days of competition.

Weather Report
Both Friday and Saturday's forecasts call for a high temperature in the mid-60s in Radford. However, sunny skies are expected on Friday, while Saturday will see more cloud cover.

A Look Back at Last Year
Liberty's field performers starred at the 2012 Highlander Invitational, with eight of the Flames' 10 victories coming in field events. Melinda Bendik broke her school record with a winning women's hammer mark of 197-10. Meanwhile, Ryan Smith's shot put heave of 57-7.5 eclipsed the facility record.

Liberty's other event winners included Mia Aghaji (women's long jump and triple jump), Mychelle Cumings (women's shot put), Abigail Flower (women's 100 and 200), Christina Mitchell (women's javelin), David Scouten (men's discus) and Kyle Wheeler (men's long jump).

Flower, Mitchell and Wheeler will all attempt to defend their titles this weekend.

Big South's Best
Nine different Liberty athletes won events at last weekend's Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Cody Bingham (men's pole vault), Chris Johnson (men's triple jump) and Christina Mitchell (women's javelin) are slated to compete in their championship events at Radford. Meanwhile, the rest of the Flames' newly-crowned conference champions will either focus on other events or take the weekend off from competition completely.

Record Breakers
Four Liberty school records were either broken or tied at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Sophomore Abigail Flower established new program records in the women's 100 (11.57) and 200 (23.48) dashes, while redshirt senior Christina Mitchell pushed her own women's javelin record to 152-9. Redshirt freshman Ansley Gebben equaled Danielle McNaney's Liberty women's 400 hurdles standard of 60.57 seconds.

Flower, Mitchell and Gebben are all entered in their record-setting events at the Highlander Invitational.

Punching Tickets to Princeton
The Highlander Invitational will mark Liberty athletes' next-to-last opportunity to qualify for the IC4A and ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will be contested in Princeton, N.J., May 10-12. The final qualification opportunity will come on May 1, at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier.

It appears that Liberty will take a sizeable group of athletes to Princeton this year, as 20 Flames and 12 Lady Flames have met the IC4A/ECAC standards in at least one individual event.

Welcome Back
After not having sprinted in a meet since Feb. 2, junior ConRoy Smith returned to the track in impressive fashion at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He clocked a personal-best and IC4A-qualifying time of 10.62 seconds in the 100-meter dash prelims before placing eighth in the final. Smith also anchored Liberty's 4 x 100 relay team to a third-place finish.

Smith is scheduled to run the 100, 200 and 4 x 100 relay at the Highlander Invitational this weekend.

Auspicious Debut
Freshman Sadalia Ellis made a productive and memorable debut in a Liberty Flames uniform at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Also a point guard on the women's basketball team, Ellis successfully high jumped 5-4.25 on her first attempt, tying for second place and earning All-Big South honors.

Ellis does have a background in high jumping, as she cleared 5-7 as a senior at Cypress Falls High School a year ago and tied for third in the event at the 2012 Texas 5A State Championship.

Ellis is slated to high jump again Saturday afternoon at Radford.