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Parker's High Jump Among Top Liberty Performances at Lynchburg College Invite

March 24, 2007  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Matt Parker qualified for the NCAA regional meet with his personal-best high jump of 6-10.75 Saturday.

Matt Parker qualified for the NCAA regional meet with his personal-best high jump of 6-10.75 Saturday.

Liberty sophomore Matt Parker became the fourth member of the Flames men's track and field team to qualify for the NCAA regional meet, doing so in the high jump Saturday at Lynchburg College's newly renovated Shellenberger Field and Track. His winning effort was one of 22 event titles captured by the Liberty men's and women's squads at the event. 

Parker (Rome, N.Y.) cleared 6-10.75 on his third and final high jump attempt to set a new personal best in the discipline and join Jon Hart (Jr., Wyomissing, Pa.), Clendon Henderson (Jr., Meadow, Texas) and Tim O'Donnell (Jr., Hurst, Texas) as one of Liberty's regional qualifiers. Parker's winning effort, which makes him the No. 4 all-time high jumper at Liberty, was the best leap by a Flame since Mike O'Connell set the school record at 7-0 in 1993. His was also one of more than 20 personal bests achieved by the Flames and Lady Flames during the meet hosted by their crosstown rivals. 

Four other Liberty men won field event titles, including Hart in the shot put at 55-8.5, Henderson in the discus at 172-8, freshman Elliot Galeone (White Hall, Md.) in the javelin at 177-5 and Oronde Vassell (So., New York, N.Y.) in the long jump with a personal-best mark of 22-1.5. 

Henderson is now a regional qualifier in two events after placing third in the hammer with a personal-best toss of 185-6. He had previously qualified in the discus at the Coastal Carolina Invitational, on March 10.

O'Donnell swept the hurdle races with ease, covering the 110-meter hurdles in 14.35 and gliding through the 400-meter hurdles in 53.75. O'Donnell's time in the sprint hurdles boosted him to No. 2 on Liberty's all-time list. 

The Flames were also successful in the open 400 and 800-meter events. Phil Leineweber (So., New Freedom, Pa.) and Josh Gilreath (Jr., Reidsville, N.C.) finished first and second, respectively, in the 400. Leineweber's time was 47.85 and Gilreath's 47.94. Meanwhile, Travis Campbell (Sr., Candler, N.C.) broke the tape first in the 800, clocking a 1:54.76. 

Like their male counterparts, the Lady Flames enjoyed considerable success in the throwing events, which were held at Lynchburg's Aubrey Moon, Jr. Field. Senior Caitlyn Sutterfield (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) was a triple winner, finishing first in the shot (42-2.75), discus (132-8) and hammer (152-6) disciplines. Lacey Cunningham (Fr., Spring Hill, Kan.) made it a clean sweep in the throwing events, winning the javelin with a top heave of 124 feet even. 

Charlene Hibbert (Jr., Mississauga, Ontario) won both horizontal jumps, stretching out to 18-8 in the long jump and marking at 37-6.5 in the triple jump. Hibbert was just getting started, though, as she also excelled in the sprints on a warm, sunny Saturday. 

Hibbert teamed with Andrea Beckles (So., Lynchburg, Va.), Sheronica Henton (Fr., Raeford, N.C.) and Arlene Zelinskas (Sr., Dayton, Ohio) to win the 4 x 100 relay in 49.19 seconds. 

Hibbert, Beckles and Zelinskas then experienced a unique finish in the 200-meter dash, as all three Lady Flames crossed the line in exactly 25.00 seconds. The trio were listed as co-winners of the event on the official results. 

Beckles also ran to victory at 100 meters in a personal-best 12.15 seconds, while Zelinskas sparked a Lady Flame sweep of the hurdle disciplines with her 14.20 clocking in the 100-meter hurdles. Marie Williams (Jr., Tampa, Fla.) held off teammate Jennifer Ward (Jr., Martinsville, Va.) to win the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 1:05.06. 

Chenoa Freeman (Fr., Lincoln, Del.) won the 400 meters in a personal-best 56.65 seconds, and Piper Newby (Jr., Hayden Lake, Idaho) ran a personal-best 4:47.55 to win the 1,500, marking Liberty's final two event titlists of the day. 

Liberty will remain in Lynchburg this coming weekend, as the Flames host their first outdoor meet of the season, the Asics Collegiate Invitational and Multi. Action at the two-day event will begin with the decathlon and heptathlon, Friday at 1 p.m. at the Matthes-Hopkins Track & Field Complex.