Azaria Kirwa won the men's 5K at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, Friday evening.
Liberty's Azaria Kirwa paced a 1-2-3 Flames sweep of the men's 5K, while Liberty also won the men's shuttle hurdles relay on the opening day of the third annual Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, Friday at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex.
Kirwa's winning 5K time of 14:29.50 sliced 26 seconds off of the sophomore's personal best. It also set new facility and meet records, while punching his ticket to the IC4A meet.
Kirwa now ranks No. 1 on the Big South Conference men's 5K chart for 2016-17, and only 17 NCAA Division I runners in the nation had run faster than 14:29.50 this season, entering the weekend.
Freshman Stanley Langat followed in second place, clocking 14:39.00 for an IC4A qualifier of his own. His time was also superior to the previous facility and meet records.
Competing in his first race since Sept. 1, sophomore James Zentmeyer crossed the line in third place with his 5K time of 15:06.99.
For the first time in program, meet or facility history, Liberty contested an indoor men's shuttle hurdles relay. The quartet of Jovaine Atkinson, Markus Ballengee, Samson Moore and Ryan Davis was victorious in 32.88 seconds, edging the runner-up team from Hampton (33.00). The Flames' first three legs were freshmen, before redshirt junior and defending Big South men's 60-meter hurdles champion Davis closed out the win.
Dasiana Larson placed third in the women's weight throw for the second straight meet to open her junior season. The Iowa native's 57-10.5 heave in round three added nearly two feet to her personal best. She now ranks No. 2 in program history and No. 2 in the Big South for the season.
Senior teammate Catherine Oyarzun followed in eighth place, thanks to a personal-best mark of 52-2 on her sixth and final attempt.
Redshirt junior Jessie Proehl was the lone Lady Flame to compete in the 5K, finishing seventh in 18:54.99.
Up Next The Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational will resume Saturday at 9:30 a.m. with the men's weight throw. Running events will commence at 11 a.m. with the women's 60 hurdles prelims.
At 10:30 a.m., the facility's grand opening ceremony will take place, featuring comments from Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty Director of Athletics Ian McCaw and Liberty Track & Field Head Coach Brant Tolsma, a prayer by program founder and former Liberty Track & Field Head Coach Jake Matthes and a ribbon cutting.
A Darius Dixon recognition will take place at 1:25 p.m., leading into the start of his signature event, the men's 400-meter dash, at 1:30. Dixon, a promising freshman sprinter from Western Branch High School in Chesapeake, Va., opened his Liberty track & field career by competing in the 200 and 400-meter dash events at the Liberty Kickoff on Dec. 5, 2013. Two days later, he was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 18.