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Swimming & Diving Announces Addition of 9 Student-Athletes

November 24, 2014  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Swimming & Diving Announces Addition of 9 Student-Athletes

Liberty swimming & diving head coach Jake Shellenberger has announced the addition of nine student-athletes to the Lady Flames' swimming & diving program. Shelby Black, Anna Dickinson, Alicia Finnigan, Ricki Lee Hodges, Dani Jordan, Elizabeth Magnusson, Ashley Mauzy, Siani Null and Morgan Weigner have all signed commitments to attend Liberty starting in the 2015-16 academic year.

"Assistant Coach Jessica Barnes has assembled another fantastic recruiting class, and the future of our program is in good hands with this stellar group of student-athletes," Shellenberger said. "They are versatile, provide our team with great depth, fill some holes in our lineup, and are national-level fast at the top end. While we are graduating a terrific senior class, with a great deal of hard work and development, Jessica and I feel the class of 2015 has the potential to score major points at the CCSA Championships in the years to come. While they are geographically diverse, hailing from five different states, we are excited to welcome four Virginia products as we look to expand our recruiting efforts within our home state, while also solidifying our program as the third best in the commonwealth."

Shellenberger added, "This class is physically talented, with the nine student-athletes averaging over 5-10, and features two women at 6-0 or better. If their work ethic, dedication, and commitment can match their talent levels, this class will improve tremendously at the conference and national level, and will help move us towards top 25 status. More importantly, they are all a great fit for Liberty and our unique culture, and Jessica and I believe they will flourish over the next four years at LU!"

Morgan Weigner
Forest, Va.
High School: Liberty Christian Academy (2014-15), East Penn (2011-14)
High School Coach: Karen Kappler at LCA, Tim O'Conner at East Penn
Club: Lynchburg YMCA, Emmaus Aquatic Club (EMAC) prior to this year
Club Coach: TJ Liston at Lynchburg, Jon Larson at EMAC
Intended Major: Nursing
Honors and Highlights:
PIAA District XI champion in 200 medley relay (2012) and 100 breaststroke (2013) 
National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association of America State Top 16 Award for 200 medley relay in 2012, 2013 and the 100 breaststroke in 2013 
Pennsylvania High School Swimming Coaches Association All-State award for the 200 medley relay 2012
Matt Kush memorial award 
Most Valuable Female Swimmer for Emmaus High School (2014) 
PIAA AAA State qualifier - 2012-2014
Middle Atlantic Zone Team and sectional qualifier.
Best Times: 100 Breaststroke SCY - 1:05.75; 200 Breaststroke SCY - 2:27.99; 200 IM SCY - 2:10.69 
Quote from Weigner: "The atmosphere at Liberty University is incomparable. I absolutely love the fact that I am able to attend a Christian university and still be able to compete in a Division I swimming program. I truly feel like this is where God has led me and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for me!"
Quote from Shellenberger: "We are thrilled to welcome Morgan to our program here at LU.  I coached with her former Emmaus club coach, Jon Larson, while we were both assistants at Penn State, and I know that he has prepared her well for the challenge of college swimming.  Morgan moved to Lynchburg from Pennsylvania this year, and is now working with TJ Liston at the local Lynchburg Y, and we are confident her success will continue in his program.  Morgan is a great fit for Liberty and will provide much-needed depth for our breaststroke and IM groups."

Siani Null
Wexford, Pa.
High School: Pine-Richland High School
High School Coach: Pete Barry
Club: Pine Richland Aquatics
Club Coach: Pete Barry
Intended Major: Journalism
Honors and Highlights:
Owns four high school team records
Holds one club team record
Regional academic All-American
Two-time state qualifier
Two-time second team all-state
Five-time Sectional team qualifier
National Honor Society member
Best Times: 50 Free SCY - 24.79; 100 Free SCY - 53.23; 200 Free SCY - 1:57.17
Quote from Null: "I chose Liberty because ever since my first visit in 10th grade I've felt something special about this school. I love the opportunities I will have here to grow on my walk with Christ and to reach my potential in swimming. I am so excited that I'm going to be a part of this school, this team, and their mission next year."
Quote from Shellenberger: Siani is one of three recruits in the class of 2015 from Pennsylvania, and Jessica and I are excited to continue to recruit well in our home state. Siani comes to Liberty from Pine Richland Aquatics, a very good distance program under Pete Barry, and we are excited to see how she transitions in our sprint group. Siani will provide depth to said sprint group, and has been a Liberty fan for the better part of her high school career!"

Ricki Lee Hodges
Harleysville, Pa.
High School: Souderton Area High School
High School Coach: Caitlin Warren
Club: Souderton Area Community Aquatic Club
Club Coach: Judy Hemmerle
Intended Major: Undecided
Honors and Highlights:
Four-year varsity swimmer
Four-year state qualifier
Placed 7th in 200 medley relay at 2013 PA State Championship meet
2011-2012 Souderton Swimming Rookie of the Year
2012-2013 Souderton Swimming Most Improved
2013-2014 Souderton Swimming MVP
Also recruited to play collegiate water polo
First Team all-state Water Polo goalie
Best Times:  50 Free SCY - 24.10; 100 Free SCY - 59.67; 100 Breaststroke SCY - 1:06.68
Quote from Hodges: "I always knew that Liberty was a good school but I did not realize how great it was until I went on my official visit. Everything from the spiritual elements to the educational opportunities is perfect for me. I instantly became close with the team and I fell in love with the beautiful campus. The coaches have created an incredible program and I cannot wait to start in the fall."   
Quote from Shellenberger: "We didn't let the times fool us when recruiting Ricki. She is a major talent who split time between water polo and swimming in high school, and has never devoted a full season to dedicated swim training. At 6-0 and a very good all-around athlete, Ricki's potential in our unique sprint program is limitless. She comes to us from Souderton High School and the Souderton Seahawks club program, the home of current Liberty senior sprinter Chloe Thomas. Souderton has been a power in Pennsylvania swimming circles for quite some time, and we are thrilled to have another Souderton student-athlete for four more years. Ricki is a great fit for our school and program, and we are thrilled to have her at LU!"

Alicia Finnigan
Sugar Land, Texas
High School: Logos Preparatory Academy
High School Coach: Bonnie Finnigan
Club: First Colony Swim Team
Club Coach: Pete Wright
Intended Major: Double major in kinesiology and business
Honors and Highlights:
Summer Junior Nationals qualifier
First Team all-state
Holder of various high school, club, state, pool, and meet records
National Merit Commended Scholar
Scholastic All-American
National Honor Society member
Best Times: 100 Fly SCY - 55.89; 200 Fly SCY - 2:02.20; 200 IM SCY - 2:06.34; 100 Fly LCM - 1:02.60; 200 Fly LCM - 2:16.97
Quote from Finnigan: "There are so many reasons Liberty stood out to me, and I could sum it up by praising the atmosphere, students, staff, and mission, but that doesn't quite do it justice. I've fallen in love with Liberty and everything it stands for, and not without understanding what I'm getting into—I'm going to be challenged daily in so many ways, but that's part of what won me over. Never before have I seen the amount of positive growth that I saw at Liberty, and I can't imagine turning that down."
Quote from Shellenberger:  "Alicia is the highest ranked recruit in our 2015 class, and comes to us from First Colony Swim Team, one of the best club programs in the country. Her coaches Allison Beebe and Pete Wright have done a tremendous job with her, and we are thrilled to welcome her to the mountain. Alicia will provide an immediate impact in the fly events, challenging for relay spots as a freshman. Alicia enters the conference with top-eight times in the 100 and 200 fly, and on the national level, she is close to Olympic Trials cuts in the 100 and 200 LCM fly. Most importantly Alicia is a tremendous fit for Liberty and our program!"

Shelby Black
Cumming, Ga.
High School: Forsyth Central High School
High School Coaches: Derek Shelton and Ashley Bell
Club: Swim Atlanta
Club Coach: Landon Harris
Intended Major: Biology
Honors and Highlights:
High school record holder in three events
NCSA Junior Nationals qualifier
High school MVP
National Honor Society 
Best Times: 50 Free SCY - 24.24; 100 Free SCY - 52.81; 200 Free SCY - 1:54.18; 100 Fly SCY - 57.87
Quote from Black: "I was drawn to Liberty from the beginning of my college search by Jake and Jessica's enthusiasm. After looking at a few other schools, I decided Liberty will give me the best opportunity to achieve my goals, both athletically and academically."
Quote from Shellenberger: "Shelby comes to Liberty from one of the best club programs in the country in Swim Atlanta and coach Landon Harris. She will provide an immediate impact in the sprint free and fly events, and at 5-10 and a tremendous athlete, we believe she will make great improvements in our power/sprint program. Not only will Shelby challenge for relay spots as a freshman, she has the ability to score top-eight in three events at the conference meet as well. Shelby is a fantastic fit for Liberty and our team, and her dedication, commitment, and work ethic will fit right in with our current culture."

Dani Jordan
Fort Myers, Fla.
High School: Estero High School
High School Coach: Eddwie Perez
Club: Swim Florida
Club Coach: Mac Kennedy
Intended Major: Nursing
Honors and Highlights: 
Sectional qualifier
2013 state runner-up
Four-time state qualifier
Four-time all-area team
Four-time all-conference member
Holder of two school records
Best Times: 200 Free SCY - 1:52.84; 500 Free SCY - 5:03.55; 200 Back SCY - 2:03.48
Quote from Jordan: "I'm blessed to be able to attend Liberty University next fall and be a part of such an amazing team. Being able to swim for a Division I program, being in a Christian atmosphere, and getting a great education are just some of the many reasons I fell in love with Liberty."
Quote from Shellenberger: "At 6-0, Dani has the physical tools to develop into an elite freestyler/backstroker, and coming from Swim Florida, we know that more importantly, she has the work ethic to develop those physical tools as well. Mac Kennedy has prepared Dani well for the rigors of Division I swimming, and we are sure that she will excel in our program. Dani is a tremendous fit for Liberty, and she is excited to continue her education and athletic career in our unique environment. We are excited to welcome her as our first Swim Florida recruit, but we're no stranger to the Swim Florida program. While an assistant at Penn State, I had the opportunity to coach Chris Sullivan, the son of current Swim Florida coach Daryl Sullivan, and developed a great relationship with the Sullivan and Swim Florida family."

Elizabeth Magnusson
Colonial Heights, Va.
High School: Colonial Heights High School
High School Coach: Shastan Kuschke
Club: Quest Swimming
Club Coaches: Dudley Duncan and John Smithson
Intended Major: Physical Therapy
Honors and Highlights:
Qualified for NCSA Junior Nationals Swim in 2013 and 2014
Set Virginia Swimming LLC state record for the 200 free relay in 2013
Broke Virginia Swimming LLC state record for the 400 Free Relay in 2013
National Honor Society member 2013, 2014
Best Times: 100 Free SCY - 51.40; 200 Free SCY - 1:50.97; 100 Fly SCY - 56.88; 200 Fly SCY - 2:04.64
Quote from Magnusson: "I knew after the very first day of my trip that Liberty was the place for me to be. I love the team, Jake and Jessica, and the whole atmosphere of the university. I'm so excited that I will be a part of this amazing program and university next year, and I can't wait to see what the future holds in store for me!"
Quote from Shellenberger: "Elizabeth comes to us from one of the best club programs in Virginia in Quest Swimming, and arguably one of the best club coaches in the country in Dudley Duncan. Elizabeth will contribute immediately in the middle distance freestyle and fly events, and is one of the highest ranked Virginia recruits in the class of 2015. Elizabeth will challenge for freestyle relay spots as a freshman, and scores top-eight in our conference with her high school best times. She is a great fit for our university and for our program, as her positive attitude will fit right in with our current team."

Ashley Mauzy
Lynchburg, Va.
High School: Brookville High School
High School Coach: Lee Lewis
Club: Lynchburg YMCA
Club Coaches: TJ Liston and Lee Lewis
Intended Major: Communication and Digital Arts
Honors and Highlights:
High school swim team captain, 2014-2015
VHSL State Champion in the 200 IM in 2014
2014 District swimmer of the year  
Claimed third place in Large Models at Latin Convention
Designer of two t-shirts, one for AP English Comp. and one for Latin Club
Best Times: 100 Back SCY - 58.53; 200 Back SCY - 2:05.48; 100 Fly SCY - 57.57; 200 Fly SCY - 2:06.73; 200 IM SCY - 2:08.13
Quote from Mauzy: "Liberty is in a growth phase, which I find incredibly exciting. New majors in the arts are appearing and overall, the university will prepare me for a successful life. I am also looking forward to training and competing with an NCAA team."
Quote from Shellenberger:  "Ashley is another Lynchburg YMCA product, and we are excited to have two local recruits in our 2015 class from TJ Liston's excellent program. Ashley will provide depth in the sprint and mid-distance fly and back events, and is versatile in the IM events as well. Having never strength trained before, we are excited for Ashley's development in our weight program and our work on the Power Towers."

Anna Dickinson
Virginia Beach, Va.
High School: Norfolk Academy
Club: Tide Swim Team
Club Coach: Josh Fulton
Intended Major: Biomedical Sciences
Honors and Highlights:
2013-2014 Scholastic All-American
Best Times: 100 Breaststroke SCY - 1:04.57; 200 Breaststroke SCY - 2:25.55; 200 IM SCY - 2:09.53
Quote from Dickinson: "I chose Liberty because I was inspired by the coaches and the swimmers. They were all so positive and I absolutely loved the atmosphere of the team. I am so excited and honored to become a part of the swimming family at Liberty."
Quote from Shellenberger: "Josh Fulton has developed national level athletes at TIDE in his time there, and was named the 2012-2013 Virginia Swimming Senior Coach of the Year for his efforts. We are excited to welcome Anna as our first-ever TIDE recruit, and we are excited for her career here at Liberty. Anna will provide an immediate impact in the breaststroke and IM events, and adds the backstroke events if needed as well. She will challenge for medley relay spots in breaststroke as a freshman, and is a potential top-eight conference scorer in three events.  Anna also works very hard in the classroom, and we have no doubt she will excel in our challenging Pre-Med program while swimming fast in the pool as well!"