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Liberty Men Finish 2nd, Women 3rd at FSU Relays

March 24, 2017  Tallahassee, Fla.  RSS
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Bradley Prentice (left) and Michael Todd (right) finished 1-2 in the men's 800 at the FSU Relays, helping the Flames place second in the final men's team standings.

Bradley Prentice (left) and Michael Todd (right) finished 1-2 in the men's 800 at the FSU Relays, helping the Flames place second in the final men's team standings.

Liberty showcased its overall team strength at the 38th FSU Relays, contested Friday at Mike Long Track. Competing against multiple nationally ranked teams, the Liberty men's squad placed second overall and the Lady Flames came in third.

Making its first FSU Relays appearance since 2005, the Liberty men's squad scored points in 14 out of 18 events, highlighted by a 1-2 finish by Bradley Prentice and Michael Todd in the 800. As a result, the Flames totaled 119.5 points to trail only host Florida State (177.5) in the final team standings. No. 24 Auburn (100.5) and No. 8 Alabama (97.5) placed third and fourth, respectively, among the six-team field.

On the women's side, the Lady Flames also scored in 14 different events, punctuated by their victory over the host Seminoles in the 4 x 400 relay. Liberty placed third of six women's squads with 107.25, following No. 10 Florida State (146.25) and No. 24 Auburn (134). No. 15 Alabama came in fifth with 95 points.

Men's Meet Recap
As in the 2016 Big South men's outdoor 800 final, Prentice edged teammate Todd for first place at the finish line, 1:51.72 to 1:51.73. The pair's 2017 outdoor season debuts in the event resulted in 18 big team points for the Flames.

Liberty was also impressive in the men's javelin competition, led by Denzel Pratt's runner-up finish at 213-3. Samuel Arter (fourth place, personal-best 210-2) and Zach Davis (sixth, season-best 198-6) made it three Flames who threw over 60 meters on the day.

Arter continued his amazing start to his collegiate track & field career, adding nine feet to his previous best. After just two meets, Arter ranks No. 8 in program history and has put himself in contention for a berth at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.

For the second straight week, Liberty's hurdlers performed well. Reigning Big South Men's Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week Ryan Davis clocked a season-best 400 hurdles time of 52.61 for second place. He was followed across the finish line by Blake Kohring (fifth place, 55.56) and Markus Ballengee (sixth, 58.42), who was making his debut in the event.

Jovaine Atkinson added a runner-up finish in the 110 hurdles, posting a time of 14.42. Ryan Davis came in fifth in 14.79, while Kohring took seventh in 15.44.

Competing in his home state, Carson Waters cleared a season-best 16-6 for second place in the pole vault. Ballengee and Ryan McCann each made it over 14-6.25 to grab the fifth and sixth positions. For McCann, the meet marked his debut in a Liberty uniform.

Ryan Davis, Stephen Racanelli, Greg Edwards and Jahquez Durham teamed up for third place in the men's 4 x 100 relay in a season-best 41.08 seconds.

Later on, Durham, Spencer Jamison, Todd and Racanelli clocked 3:12.55 to place fourth overall (third among collegiate teams) in the 4 x 400. All four Flames ran splits of 48.3 or faster, paced by Todd's 47.7 carry on the third leg.

Darrel Jones recorded two top-five finishes, including a third in the triple jump (49-10) and fifth in the long jump (22-9.75). Freshman Andre Wright chipped in a sixth-place showing in the long jump (22-5.75), while Zach Davis took eighth at 21-9.5.

Zach Davis was also fourth in the high jump, thanks to his 6-6.25 clearance. Ballengee made it over 6-4.25 to tie for fifth place in the event.

Luke Jelen's personal-best 1,500 time of 3:55.65 stood up for seventh place.

Jamison won his heat and finished eighth overall with a 400 time of 48.61, while Floridian James Zentmeyer crossed the line eighth in the 5K in 15:14.31.

Women's Meet Recap
Tanner Ealum, Delaney McDowell, Nicole Leonzo and Olivia Behymer edged Florida State by 0.56 seconds to win the women's 4 x 400 relay in a season-best time of 3:43.87. Ealum led off in 54.9 seconds, helping catapult the quartet into the No. 4 spot in program history.

Earlier, Ealum had finished fifth in the 400 at 55.35 seconds. The time ranks the Alaska native No. 7 on Liberty's all-time list and breaks Leonzo's program freshman record of 55.50 from 2016. Leonzo followed in sixth place (56.37) and Behymer was seventh (56.57) on Friday.

Anna Van Wyk also set a Liberty freshman record, thanks to her 4:30.05 clocking for the 1,500. She bettered Torree Scull's 4:32.19 effort from 2016 and moved into sixth place all-time at Liberty. Van Wyk's time was the fastest 1,500 clocking by a Lady Flame since 2012.

McDowell placed second overall but first among collegiate competitors in the women's 800, thanks to her time of 2:10.54.

Liberty scored more points in the pole vault (13.5) than in any other women's event. Reigning Big South Women's Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week Jessie Glynn finished as the runner-up (season-best 12-6.75), with Mariel Finger sharing third place (season-best 12-0.75).

Junior Dasiana Larson headlined a strong performance by the Liberty women's throwers in Tallahassee. She started her day with a fifth-place hammer finish, improving her personal best to 188-5. That mark will give Larson a good chance to return to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the second straight year. Teammates Catherine Oyarzun (seventh place, season-best 173-5) and Holly Arey (eighth place, season-best 160-5) added top-eight finishes.

Larson also added nearly a foot and a half to her shot put personal best, stretching the tape to 46-1.25 for fourth place in the event and No. 2 all-time for the Lady Flames. Arey came in eighth in the event at 40-0, to go along with her eighth place in the discus (142-7).

Brenna Smith took sixth place in the javelin at 143-11, recording a new personal best for the second straight meet to open her junior season. Nicole Bishop's 128-7 heave was good for seventh place.

Janae Jones' outdoor season debut in the triple jump measured 38-10.5 for third place. The redshirt senior also long jumped 16-10.5 to claim seventh in that event, just behind Dana Mercer in sixth (17-4.25).

Rounding out the women's field events, Erin Zappia high jumped a season-best 5-4.25, putting the Illinois native in a tie for fourth place.

Mary Witmer (1:01.50) and Kylie Polsgrove (1:03.02) came in third and sixth, respectively, in the 400 hurdles, with both Lady Flames running their fastest times of the young season.

Freshman Katie Dodson's 100 hurdles time of 14.74 earned an eighth-place finish.

Up Next
After being divided between three different meets this weekend, Liberty's full team will compete as one unit at the VertKlasse Meeting, next Friday and Saturday at Vert Stadium in High Point, N.C.