Josh MacDonald established new personal-best times in the mile and 3K, Friday evening at the Hokie Invitational.
The Liberty trio of Meghan Burggraf (1,000), Jacy Christiansen (3K) and Josh MacDonald (3K) all posted IC4A/ECAC-qualifying performances on a successful Friday for the Flames at the Hokie Invitational. Liberty athletes also recorded four runner-up finishes on the day at Rector Field House, which will serve as the venue for the 2014 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships on Feb. 28 and March 1.
Women's Day One Recap Christiansen, the reigning Big South Women's Indoor Track Athlete of the Week, set the tone for the day right off the bat in the women's 3K. The junior placed third in a personal-best and ECAC-qualifying time of 9:45.98, crossing the line just 1.36 seconds off of Jennifer Klugh's 3K school-record 9:44.62 effort from the 2012 Hokie Invitational. In the process, Christiansen defeated Coastal Carolina's Letitia Saayman and Kyla Van Graan, the only two runners she lost to at the 2013 Big South Cross Country Championships. Christiansen has now qualified for the ECAC meet in two events, after doing so in the mile at the Liberty Open. Redshirt senior Burggraf also earned her second ECAC qualification in as many weeks, after clocking a personal-best time of 2:54.59 for eighth place in the 1,000-meter run. Burggraf, who had previously qualified in the 500-meter dash, now ranks second in program history for the women's 1,000 with the fastest performance by a Lady Flame since 1988. Jocelyn Williams continued her successful redshirt junior campaign in the women's weight throw, garnering runner-up honors with her 61-5.5 mark. Two Lady Flames finished among the day's top five women's triple jumpers, including freshman Oasis Hernandez (third place, 39-7) and sophomore Janae Jones (fifth place, 39-2.5). For Hernandez, the mark was a season best and moved her up to fourth on Liberty's all-time indoor list. The sophomore trio of Ansley Gebben (10th place, 40.93), Corinn Bedell (23rd place, 42.14) and Mary Echols (26th place, 42.72) significantly altered the Lady Flames' all-time top 10 for the 300-meter dash. Gebben now ranks third in program history, followed by Bedell in seventh and Echols in 10th. Racing for the first time since a horrific automobile accident seven weeks ago, junior Abigail Flower qualified for the women's 60-meter dash final with a time of 7.85 seconds. She then took eighth place in the final.
Men's Day One Recap MacDonald, a senior, carried the momentum from a successful cross country season into the first two races of his indoor track campaign. The Californian started his evening by improving his 3K personal-best time by more than four seconds, to 8:18.38. The clocking punched his IC4A ticket, placed fifth in the race and puts him at No. 6 in program history for the men's 3K. Less than three hours later, MacDonald established another personal best with his mile time of 4:20.31. He finished in fifth place, sandwiched between teammates Caleb Edmonds (second place, 4:16.55) and Jarred Cornfield (sixth place, 4:21.07). After entering Friday's men's weight throw competition with a personal best of 58-8, redshirt sophomore David Scouten reached 60-11.5 or longer on three of his six attempts. The longest of those throws stretched the tape to 61-2.75, enabling Scouten to finish as the runner-up. He is the fifth Liberty Flame ever to exceed the 60-foot plateau in the men's weight throw. Freshman Aklesso Agama was another second-place finisher for the Flames on Friday, thanks to a 47-11.75 triple jump. Fellow newcomer Stephen Racanelli sped to a time of 35.03 seconds in the 300-meter dash, coming in 11th in the event. He also claimed the No. 5 position on Liberty's all-time list for the rarely contested distance.
The Hokie Invitational will conclude on Saturday with approximately four hours of competition, beginning with the seeded section of the women's pole vault at 11 a.m.