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Liberty Wins 14 Saturday Events

January 30, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Fred Fulton qualified for the IC4A meet in both the weight throw (pictured) and shot put on Saturday.

Fred Fulton qualified for the IC4A meet in both the weight throw (pictured) and shot put on Saturday.

Liberty won 14 events on a busy day of action at the second annual Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, Saturday at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center. Eight of the Flames' victories came in meet-record fashion, while the host team picked up seven IC4A qualifiers and a pair of ECAC marks on the day.

Women's Meet Recap
Dana Mercer posted arguably the most impressive mark of the day by a Lady Flame, winning the women's long jump with a personal-best, meet-record and ECAC-qualifying leap of 18-11.25. The redshirt junior, who also took the women's long jump title at the inaugural Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, climbed to No. 7 on Liberty's all-time list with the longest indoor mark by a Lady Flame since 2007.

Mercer's day also included a third-place finish in the Division I final of the women's 60 dash, thanks to a season-best 7.86 clocking.

The Lady Flames' other ECAC qualification came in the 1,000-meter run, which saw freshman Delaney McDowell win in 2:56.68, a time which ranks her fifth in program history. Classmate Torree Scull came in third in 3:02.26.

Appropriately in a meet named for a sprinter, the Lady Flames excelled in the sprints. Corinn Bedell led a Liberty 1-2-3-4 sweep in the 400, repeating as meet champion in 58.03 seconds. Teammates Olivia Behymer (indoor personal-best 58.41) and Nicole Leonzo (59.03) also dipped under Bedell's meet record from 2014, while Ansley Gebben placed fourth in 59.58.

Senior Bedell and three freshmen (Leonzo, Maggie McDermott and Bailey Reeves) teamed up to win the women's 4 x 400 relay in a meet-record 4:03.42 clocking.

Erin Edmond notched her second straight 200 victory to open her Lady Flames career, crossing the finish line in a meet-record 25.46 seconds. Leonzo's season-best 25.71 clocking earned runner-up honors.

Junior Mary Witmer successfully stepped up to the 500-meter distance on Saturday, winning in a personal-best and meet-record time of 1:17.96. The Pennsylvania native now ranks No. 8 on Liberty's all-time women's 500 chart.

Redshirt senior Mychelle Cumings successfully defended her Darius Dixon women's shot put title in dominating fashion, winning by more than five feet. Her top mark (48-10.75) was exactly the same was her winning throw at the season-opening Liberty Kickoff.

Behind Cumings, Liberty sophomores Dasiana Larson (personal-best 43-7) and Holly Arey (41-4.25) placed second and third, respectively. Larson slid into seventh place in program history in the process.

Sophomore Erin Zappia captured the women's high jump title for the second consecutive season, clearing 5-5.

Jasmin Sutton just missed victory in the women's 800 with her 2:21.23 effort. The redshirt junior was edged by Southern Wesleyan's Brandi Jackson by two-thousandths of a second.

Junior Kat Bouton posted a personal-best 3K time of 10:46.83 for third place overall and first among collegiate entrants. The race was won by her cousin, Liberty assistant coach Rebekah Ricksecker, in 10:38.55.

Oasis Hernandez (triple jump, 38-4.25) and Terrill Zentmeyer (mile, 5:23.99) added third-place finishes in their respective events for the Lady Flames.

Men's Meet Recap
Six of the Flames' seven IC4A marks came in the field events, including a pair by redshirt senior Fred Fulton, who won the men's shot put at 53-2.25 and placed second in the weight throw with a 58-1.75 mark.

Teammate and classmate David Scouten won the men's weight throw competition and also punched his IC4A ticket by throwing the exact same distance (58-1.75) as Fulton. Scouten was awarded first place because his second-best throw (58-0.5) was superior to Fulton's (56-2).

Junior Zach Davis added 107 points to his heptathlon best, qualifying for the IC4A meet with his score of 5,161. However, he was edged out of first place by 12 points by former NCAA Division III national champion Richard Roethel.

Davis recorded a 60 hurdles personal best (9.07) and an indoor pole vault best (14-1.25) on Saturday and moved into fifth place on Liberty's all-time heptathlon list.

Behind him, Zach Gilroy came in third with a score of 4,650. The junior paced all of the heptathletes in each of the last two events, pole vaulting 14-5.25 and racing to a time of 2:51.72 in the 1,000.

Redshirt sophomore Lewis Williams added an amazing 494 points to his previous heptathlon best, placing fourth with a final score of 4,589. On day two of the competition, Williams established personal-best marks in the 60 hurdles (9.37) and 1,000 (3:00.61) and recorded his best-ever indoor pole vault clearance of 14-1.25.

Sophomore Carson Waters made a dramatic third-attempt clearance at 16-2.75 in the men's pole vault competition. In the process, the Sunshine State native placed first, set a meet record, qualified for the IC4A meet, joined the 16-foot club and moved into a tie for fifth place in program history.

Teammate Ken Ritchey was the pole vault runner-up at 15-3, while defending champion Alex Geniesse tied for third place at 14-9 on Saturday.

Wrapping up the field events, Darius Dixon's former roommate, Aklesso Agama, came in second in both the long jump (22-5.75) and triple jump (48-2.75). The junior's triple jump mark was an IC4A qualifier.

The Flames' lone IC4A mark on the track fittingly came in Darius Dixon's specialty event, the 400 dash. Junior Stephen Racanelli won the men's 400 crown at this meet for the second straight year, breaking his own meet record with an IC4A-qualifying 49.23 effort. Freshman teammate Michael Todd was third in 50.25 seconds.

Racanelli (7.01) and Ryan Davis (7.07) swept the top two positions in the Division I 60 dash final. Davis also ran a personal-best 60 hurdles time of 8.34 for second place in that event, claiming the No. 10 spot in program history.

The first two legs of Liberty's record-breaking 4 x 800 relay quartet from Friday night, Andrew Crowell (2:31.57) and Bradley Prentice (2:32.77) finished 1-2 in the 1,000 final on Saturday.

Just as he did at the Liberty Kickoff, sophomore Cameron Francis picked up a narrow win in the men's mile. His time of 4:23.47 set a meet record and edged Liberty graduate assistant Zach Barker (4:23.78).

Liberty also picked up third-place finishes in the 200 (Greg Edwards – 22.93), 500 (Andrew Garrett – 1:06.96) and 800 (Luke Jelen – 2:01.08) on the day. Garrett was the first collegiate finisher in his event.

For the ninth consecutive season, Liberty will travel to University Park, Pa., for the team-scored Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup. The two-day meet will be contested Friday and Saturday at Penn State's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.