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Davis, Kirwa, Schultz, Men's 4 x 400 Star on IC4A Day 2

March 4, 2017  Boston, Mass.  RSS
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Azaria Kirwa raced to the IC4A 5K title on Saturday in Boston.

Azaria Kirwa raced to the IC4A 5K title on Saturday in Boston.

Liberty's Zach Davis (heptathlon) and Azaria Kirwa (5K) both captured IC4A titles on Saturday, while Colin Schultz (men's 1,000) and the men's 4 x 400 relay quartet broke school records. As a result, the Flames sit second in the IC4A standings, matching the Lady Flames' placement in the ECAC standings through two days of the 2017 IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Boston University Track & Tennis Center.

Liberty has totaled 26 points through five men's IC4A events, putting the Flames second behind Albany (44 points) among the 24 teams which have scored points thus far.

The Lady Flames got top-three ECAC finishes from Jessie Glynn (tie for second in pole vault), Dana Mercer (third in long jump) and Erin Zappia (third in high jump) on Saturday, contributing to the team total of 26 points through six events. Liberty trails only Albany (32 points) entering the final day of competition.

IC4A Day Two Recap
Davis, who entered Saturday's trio of heptathlon disciplines in the lead, stayed in front throughout the day to join Brandon Hoskins (2008) as Liberty's only IC4A heptathlon champions in meet history. Davis' personal-best score of 5,259 won the competition by 105 points and ranks No. 3 in program history. The senior's best day two event was the pole vault, where he equaled his personal-best clearance at 14-7.25.

Liberty nearly swept the top two places in the heptathlon standings, but freshman Markus Ballengee finished just two points behind Northeastern's Nick Fofana with his personal-best score of 5,152. The freshman smashed his previous best by 209 points, climbing into sixth place on Liberty's all-time list.

Ballengee posted the best 60 hurdles clocking among the 15 heptathletes at 8.44. He then proceeded to add six inches to his pole vault personal best, clearing 14-7.25, and lower his 1,000 personal best by more than five seconds, to 2:47.59.

Kirwa slashed 18 seconds off of his previous 5K best to win the event in 14:11.36. The sophomore became Liberty's third IC4A indoor men's 5K champion all-time, along with Josh McDougal (2007) and Evans Kigen (2010). Kirwa now ranks No. 5 all-time at Liberty for the indoor 5K.

Schultz was the day's fastest qualifier in the men's 1,000 prelims with his school and Big South-record 2:23.99 clocking. The mark improves upon the 2:24.74 effort of Isaac Wendland at the 2011 IC4A meet.

Jahquez Durham, Michael Todd, Jeff Jacobs and Stephen Racanelli advanced to the men's 4 x 400 final with their record-breaking time of 3:13.18. Todd (47.5) and Racanelli (47.5) both posted impressive splits to take down the standard of 3:13.42 that Carlton McDuffie, Dennis Johnson, Cedric Pollard and Hosein Burch set at the 1996 IC4A Championship. Durham, Todd, Jacobs and Racanelli now rank as the third-fastest quartet in Big South history.

Luke Jelen, Ryan Davis, Bradley Prentice and Cameron Francis became Liberty's third-fastest men's distance medley relay grouping all-time with their finals-qualifying time of 9:57.32.

Redshirt freshman Jovaine Atkinson also moved on to Sunday's final of the men's 60 hurdles, after posting times of 8.12 (prelims) and 8.07 (semifinals) on Saturday.

Liberty nearly had additional finalists, but fell just shy of qualification in the 60 and 400.

Ryan Davis' 7.00 clocking in the men's 60 semifinals left him just 0.008 out of the final.

Jacobs (season-best 48.94), Racanelli (season-best 48.95) and Durham (49.00) all came within 0.15 seconds of the men's 400 final.

ECAC Day Two Recap
The Lady Flames scored points in all four of Saturday's ECAC field event finals, topped by Glynn's tie for the runner-up position in the pole vault. The Lynchburg native vaulted an indoor personal-best 12-5.5, tying her with Monmouth's Casey Sturts in the final standings and moving her into a tie for third place in program history. Teammate Mariel Finger made it over 11-9.75, tying for the 13th position.

Mercer might have experienced a bit of déjà vu on Saturday, as she recorded her very same placement (third) and long jump distance (18-8.5) from last weekend's Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Big South women's high jump champion Erin Zappia cleared 5-6 for third place in the ECAC final.

Junior Dasiana Larson threw the weight 57-7.75, placing sixth in the event.

The Lady Flames' 4 x 400 quartet of Nicole Leonzo, Mary Witmer, Olivia Behymer and Tanner Ealum clocked the day's No. 1 qualifying time of 3:42.79. Ealum's blazing 53.9-second anchor leg split helped Liberty come within 0.15 seconds of the school record.

Earlier in the afternoon, Ealum (55.81) and Leonzo (season-best 56.32) each qualified for Sunday's final of the women's 400.

Delaney McDowell ran 2:10.75 in the women's 800 prelims but just missed the final by 0.08 seconds.

Up Next
The IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships will conclude with a full day of action on Sunday. The first events will be the IC4A triple jump and ECAC shot put, both of which are slated to begin at 9:30 a.m.