Scores & Schedule Close keyboard_arrow_down

Team News

Atkinson, McDowell, Pratt Shine at Gamecock Invitational

April 15, 2017  Columbia, S.C.  RSS
|   Share
Jovaine Atkinson ran a Liberty-record 110 hurdles time of 14.01 seconds at the Gamecock Invitational on Saturday.

Jovaine Atkinson ran a Liberty-record 110 hurdles time of 14.01 seconds at the Gamecock Invitational on Saturday.

Liberty redshirt freshman Jovaine Atkinson broke his own program record in the men's 110 hurdles, while sophomore teammates Delaney McDowell (women's 800) and Denzel Pratt (men's javelin) won their respective events during the Gamecock Invitational, Saturday at the brand-new Sheila & Morris Cregger Track.

Atkinson's record-breaking time of 14.01 punches his ticket to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, set for May 25-27 in Lexington, Ky. Senior Ryan Davis will join Atkinson in Lexington, thanks to his season-best 400 hurdles time of 52.02 on Saturday.

Men's Meet Recap
Atkinson, who improved upon his Liberty-record 110 hurdles time of 14.12 from the April 1 VertKlasse Meeting, placed sixth in the event, including second among collegiate performers. The Jamaica native, who climbed to No. 5 on the Big South's all-time list, will be the Flames' first NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round representative in the men's 110 hurdles in the meet's eight-year history.

Fellow freshmen Samson Moore (19th place, season-best 14.82) and Markus Ballengee (20th, 14.84) joined Atkinson inside the top 20 of the final 110 hurdles standings.

Davis sliced more than a half second off of his season best in the 400 hurdles to place third overall and second among collegians. His 52.02 effort will enable him to compete at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the third consecutive season.

Moore (15th place, season-best 54.73), Blake Kohring (18th season-best 55.30) and Michael Fairfax (20th, 55.52) were additional top 20 finishers for the Flames.

Pratt collected his second men's javelin title in as many weeks and his third of the season, thanks to a facility-record heave of 203-6 on his 21st birthday. Two of Pratt's closest competitors were freshman teammates, as Samuel Arter took second place at 199-9 and Alexander Hoffsmith followed in fifth with a mark of 181-10.

Sophomore Michael Todd finished fourth in the 800 with a time of 1:50.48, the fastest clocking by a Flame since 2010. The Alaska native now ranks No. 3 in program history and No.8 in Big South Conference annals. Classmate Bradley Prentice added a seventh-place finish at 1:53.03.

Even though Carson Waters missed all three attempts at his opening pole vault height of 16-4.75, Liberty still placed four vaulters in the top five. Reilly Stroot recorded a new personal best for the second consecutive week, making it over 15-1 for second place. Meanwhile, Zach Davis recovered from a no-height during the Liberty Collegiate Invitational decathlon to set a personal best (15-1) for the third position on Saturday.

Five Liberty vaulters have now cleared 15 feet in 2017 (including the indoor and outdoor seasons), as Stroot and Davis joined Waters, Ryan McCann and Hudson Hall in that group.

McCann and Luke Moffett shared fourth place at 14-3.25 on Saturday, with Moffett's clearance establishing a new season best.

Freshman Andre Wright made a successful return to his home state, triple jumping a season-best 47-10.5 for fifth place. Darrel Jones, Aklesso Agama and Wright now rank 1-2-3 on the 2017 Big South men's triple jump list for the Flames.

Anthony Colangelo sailed over a season-best 6-6 to finish eighth in the men's high jump, while Jacob Burke claimed ninth place at 6-4.

Rounding out the field events, Ballengee's best of his three events on the day was the discus. The Commonwealth native finished 11th with a 126-7 effort that added 14 feet to his previous best.

The Flames posted top-10 finishes in both men's relays. The 4 x 400 grouping of Stephen Racanelli, Jahquez Durham, Greg Edwards and Michael Todd won its heat and placed eighth overall in 3:15.65. Durham and Todd both posted sub-48.00 splits.

Earlier in the day, Ryan Davis, Racanelli, Edwards and Durham teamed up for 10th place in the 4 x 100 relay, crossing the finish line in 41.30 seconds.

Racanelli's busy day also included a season-best and Big South-leading 400 time of 48.12 seconds, which was good for 14th place.

Gusty tailwinds helped a trio of Flames to sub-11.00 times in the 100 dash, including Edwards (tie for 23rd place, season-best 10.85), Durham (tie for 27th, season-best 10.90) and Brad Smalley (31st, 10.96).

Women's Meet Recap
McDowell was the Lady Flames' lone event champion during the one-day meet, edging Georgia's Amber Tanner with her time of 2:11.64.

McDowell also played a role in one of Liberty's three runner-up performances on Saturday, running the second leg of the Lady Flames' 4 x 400 relay. Tanner Ealum, McDowell, Nicole Leonzo and Olivia Behymer raced to a season-best 3:42.25, trailing only Georgia among the 10 participating teams. Ealum and Leonzo both dipped below 55 seconds on their legs of the relay.

Redshirt senior Janae Jones was the top collegiate finisher and took second place overall in the women's triple jump. She posted four 40-foot jumps, including a pair of season-best 40-9.75 marks that will put her on the bubble for an NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round berth.

Like Jones, junior Brenna Smith claimed the runner-up spot overall and was the best collegiate performer in her event, the women's javelin. Smith reached a personal-best 144-11, leapfrogging current student assistant Yana Babbitt for second place in Liberty history and eighth place on the Big South all-time list. Nicole Bishop chipped in a fourth-place finish with a mark of 134-7.

Saturday's first women's event, the hammer, saw Dasiana Larson (third place, 186-0) and Catherine Oyarzun (fifth, 170-6) sandwich former teammate Jocelyn Williams (fourth, 177-4) in the final standings.

Holly Arey's 142-5 discus throw was good for fourth place, while Oyarzun came in 13th with her 128-7 heave.

Redshirt senior Dana Mercer performed well in both of her events, long jumping a season-best 18-6 for fourth place and clocking 12.08 to share 21st place in the 100 dash.

Audrey Rabe tied for fifth place in the women's pole vault with her 11-1.75 clearance.

In the meet's final field event, Kylie Polsgrove added more than a foot to her outdoor shot put best, stretching the tape to 33-0.75 for 20th place.

Polsgrove had earlier been one of two Lady Flames to place among the top 20 100 hurdlers. Freshman Katie Dodson tied for 17th place with her 14.56 effort, while Polsgrove clocked 14.70 for the 20th position.

Liberty runners finished third in each of the other two races involving hurdles, including Mary Witmer in the 400 hurdles (season-best 1:00.08) and Gabriella Delbo in her steeplechase debut (12:11.42). Witmer's time, which narrowly missed her own program record of 59.92, will put her in contention for a spot at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.

Ealum (55.03) and Behymer (55.52) warmed up for their impressive 4 x 400 relay showing by placing 10th and 13th, respectively, in the women's 400.

Up Next
Liberty's athletes will be divided between the Virginia Challenge and Duke Invitational next weekend.

The Virginia Challenge will take place at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville, Va., Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, the Duke Invitational is also scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Morris Williams Track & Field Stadium in Durham, N.C.