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Liberty Track to Compete in Austin, Raleigh

March 25, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Sisters Abigail (L) and Kate Flower will team up during the women's 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 relays at the Texas Relays this weekend.

Sisters Abigail (L) and Kate Flower will team up during the women's 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 relays at the Texas Relays this weekend.

Texas Relays Headquarters

Texas Relays Schedule (Times listed are Central)

Texas Relays Live Results

Texas Relays Video Streaming (Longhorn Network)

Austin Weather

Raleigh Relays Homepage

Raleigh Relays Schedule/Meet Information

Raleigh Relays Live Results

Raleigh Relays Video Streaming (Flotrack's FloPro)

Raleigh Weather

The Liberty men's and women's track & field teams will face their stiffest competition of the young 2015 outdoor season this weekend as the Flames and Lady Flames divide their squads between the 88th Nike Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays (Austin, Texas) and the Raleigh Relays (Raleigh, N.C.)

The Texas Relays will be contested Thursday through Saturday at Mike A. Myers Stadium. Meanwhile, the Raleigh Relays are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Paul Derr Track.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
The Longhorn Network plans to air 12 hours of live coverage of the Texas Relays, including programs on Thursday (7-10 p.m. Eastern), Friday (10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 8-10 p.m. Eastern) and Saturday (2-6 p.m. Eastern). Live results will also be available throughout the Texas Relays.

Subscribers to Flotrack's FloPro will be able to watch live video streaming coverage throughout both days of the Raleigh Relays. Live results will be provided by Flash Results, Inc.

Weather Report
After a high temperature near 70 degrees on Thursday in Austin, the highs are expected to approach 80 on Friday and Saturday, under sunny skies.

Cooler conditions are forecasted in Raleigh, with high temperatures in the low 50s. Friday could bring occasional rain showers, while Saturday's forecast calls for partly cloudy conditions.

Who is Going Where?
A group of 20 athletes will compete in the Texas Relays, including throwers (Yana Babbitt, Mychelle Cumings, Steve Feister, Fred Fulton, Daniel Klase and Jennifer Smith), sprinters/hurdlers (Olivia Davis, Ryan Davis, Abigail Flower, Kate Flower, Ansley Gebben, Dana Mercer, Stephen Racanelli and Mary Witmer), mid-distance runners (Andrew Crowell, Trevor Hope, Jacob Onifer and John Sherret) and horizontal jumpers (Aklesso Agama and Janae Jones).

The remainder of Liberty's competitors will head to the Raleigh Relays, headlined by the team's top distance runners, vertical jumpers and multi-event athletes.

Relay Records in Jeopardy?
Liberty will compete in six relay races at the Texas Relays, including the men's 4 x 400, 4 x 800 and distance medley and the women's 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 400.

Last year, the Lady Flames' quartet of Oasis Hernandez, Abigail Flower, Ansley Gebben and Meghan Burggraf clocked a program-record sprint medley relay time of 3:53.34 at the Texas Relays. Several Liberty relay records could be in jeopardy again this year in Austin, headlined by the men's 4 x 800 and women's 4 x 200.

Andrew Crowell, Jacob Onifer, Trevor Hope and John Sherret teamed up for an indoor 4 x 800 time of 7:31.01 while finishing third in the IC4A final on March 8. On Thursday at 6:50 p.m. Eastern, the same quartet will take aim at the Liberty men's outdoor 4 x 800 record of 7:31.60, set by Christian Nichols, Travis Campbell, Dan Rabe and Chris Lyons at the 2004 IC4A meet.

The squad of Andrea Beckles, Charlene Hibbert, Chenoa Freeman and Jaime Watson has held the Liberty women's 4 x 200 relay record of 1:37.99 since 2008. On Saturday at 1 p.m. Eastern, the Lady Flames' Abigail Flower, Dana Mercer, Olivia Davis and Kate Flower could challenge that mark. The same four runners could also have a shot at the Liberty 4 x 100 relay mark of 45.90, Friday morning at 10:35 a.m. Eastern.

Bring Your "A" Game
Four Liberty throwers will have the opportunity to compete against some of the nation's top athletes, after being seeded in the "A" section of their respective events at the Texas Relays. Steve Feister and Daniel Klase are both entered in Friday's "A" section of the men's javelin. On Saturday afternoon, Fred Fulton will compete in the "A" section of the men's shot put while Mychelle Cumings throws in the "A" section of the women's shot put.

Feister (No. 14, 221-11) and Klase (No. 26, 213-8) are both ranked among the nation's top 30 men's javelin throwers in 2015. On Friday, they will face four throwers boasting personal bests of 240 feet or longer, including Texas A&M freshman Ioannis Kyriazis, who ranks No. 3 nationally at 245-10. Texas A&M graduate Sam Humphreys, now competing for Nike, is also entered. He was the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials champion and the 2013 NCAA Division I national champion in the event.

Fulton climbed to No. 16 in the nation with his 58-8 shot put mark at the Virginia Cup. This weekend, he will match up against the top three finishers in the men's shot put from the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. They include two-time defending national champion Ryan Crouser of Texas, 2014 runner-up Stephen Mozia of Cornell and 2014 third-place finisher Nick Vena of Georgia.

Cumings has thrown the shot put 49-6.5 this season, putting her in a tie for 17th place on the national list. Saturday's entrants include Missouri's duo of Kearsten Peoples (2014 NCAA outdoor third-place finisher) and Jill Rushin (2015 NCAA indoor fifth-place finisher) and Rice's Claire Uke (2015 NCAA indoor eighth-place finisher), who owns a personal best of 58-10.75.

Go the Distance
Liberty women's distance runners have traditionally fared well in the 10K at the Raleigh Relays. Five of the top nine runners in program history have recorded their career-best 10K time in Raleigh. Additionally, Liberty record holder Ashley Osborne made her first big breakthrough in the event with a 35:35.65 clocking at the 2010 Raleigh Relays.

On Friday at 9:40 p.m., freshman Ednah Kurgat will make her 10K debut at Raleigh, on the heels of an impressive indoor season. Kurgat won the Big South 3K title and clocked a Liberty and Big South 5K record time of 16:28.29.

Kurgat will face some strong competition on Friday, including defending Big South champion Letitia Saayman of Coastal Carolina. She will also meet a trio of talented runners from Michigan, including Alexis Wiersma of Michigan State (16:18 5K PR), Jordann McDermitt of Eastern Michigan (16:27 5K PR) and Amy Cymerman of Grand Valley State (16:34 5K PR). Also entered in the field is high school senior Alana Hadley, who already has a 2:38 marathon to her credit.

Big South's Best
Liberty athletes top the Big South Conference performance list in a number of events through the early stages of the 2015 outdoor season.

On the men's side, the Flames' conference leaders include John Sherret (800, 1:52.52), Ryan Davis (400 hurdles, 52.91), Ken Ritchey (pole vault, 16-0.75), Aklesso Agama (long jump, 24-0.25; triple jump, 49-10.5), Fred Fulton (shot put, 58-8; discus, 167-10) and Steve Feister (javelin, 221-11).

Lady Flames currently ranked No. 1 in the Big South include Abigail Flower (100, 11.92; 200, 23.96), Olivia Behymer (400, 56.35), Kat Bouton (steeplechase, 12:01.96), Dana Mercer (long jump, 18-9.25) and Mychelle Cumings (shot put, 49-6.5; discus, 163-9).