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Liberty Track Teams Set to Compete at UVA, Duke

April 20, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The above photo is from the 2016 Virginia Challenge, where Delaney McDowell raced to a personal-best 800 time of 2:08.59.

The above photo is from the 2016 Virginia Challenge, where Delaney McDowell raced to a personal-best 800 time of 2:08.59.

Virginia Challenge Schedule

Virginia Challenge Video Streaming - Friday evening only

Virginia Challenge Live Results

Virginia Challenge Start Lists

Charlottesville Weather

Duke Invitational Schedule

Duke Invitational Video Streaming - Friday

Duke Invitational Video Streaming - Saturday

Duke Invitational Live Results

Duke Invitational Start Lists

Durham Weather

Liberty will divide its men's and women's outdoor track & field teams between two high-level meets this weekend. A majority of the Flames and Lady Flames will compete at the Virginia Challenge, while a smaller group, consisting mainly of throwers and distance runners, will travel to the Duke Invitational.

The Virginia Challenge will begin Friday at 11 a.m. at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville, Va., with the women's hammer. Saturday's events will get started at 9 a.m., when Alyssa Karle competes in section 3 of the women's steeplechase.

The women's hammer, women's long jump and unseeded men's pole vault will get things started at the Duke Invitational, Friday at noon at Morris Williams Stadium in Durham, N.C. Saturday's slate of events will not begin until 3:30 p.m., at which time six different events will get underway simultaneously.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live video streaming will be available from both the Virginia Challenge and Duke Invitational, courtesy of ACC Network Extra/ESPN3. Video streaming will only be available at the Virginia Challenge on Friday, beginning at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, both days of the Duke Invitational will be streamed, starting at 3 p.m. on Friday and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Live results will also be provided for both meets, courtesy of Flash Results, Inc. Their services include lap-by-lap splits and in-progress field event updates.

Weather Report
Friday's high temperature in Charlottesville is expected to reach the mid 80s, with the threat of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Saturday's temperature will barely reach 60, however, with rainfall expected throughout the day.

In Durham, both Friday and Saturday's high temperatures are forecasted to be in the 80s, with Friday approaching 90 degrees. Thunderstorms are a possibility on both days though.

About the Facilities
Liberty has been a regular competitor at Lannigan Field since Virginia's outdoor track & field facility was completely renovated in time for the 2012 season. This will mark the sixth straight year that the Flames have competed in at least one meet at Lannigan Field. Liberty will be competing at the facility for back-to-back weeks, as a group of Flames and Lady Flames will take part in the Virginia Grand Prix on April 29.

Duke's Morris Williams Stadium officially opened for the Duke Invitational, April 10-11, 2015, and Liberty christened the facility with a victory in the men's team competition. This weekend will mark the third straight year the Flames have sent athletes to compete in the Duke Invitational. Liberty owns meet records in the women's javelin (Yana Babbitt, 139-7, 2015) and men's discus (Fred Fulton, 170-11, 2015).

Looking Back at Last Year
Liberty also competed in the Virginia Challenge and Duke Invitational last season, achieving some impressive results, especially at 800 meters. The personal-best times for both Delaney McDowell (2:08.59, 2016 Virginia Challenge) and Bradley Prentice (1:51.16, 2016 Duke Invitational) date back to this corresponding weekend in 2016.

Darrel Jones also excelled at the 2016 Virginia Challenge, placing fifth in the invitational section of the men's triple jump with a wind-legal personal best of 50-11.

Charting the Competition
Liberty athletes will face some of their stiffest competition this season at the Virginia Challenge and Duke Invitational. Below is a summary of several of the Flames' highlighted events, organized chronologically.

Friday, Noon – Dasiana Larson – Duke Invitational Women's Hammer
Dasiana Larson tops the 2017 Big South women's hammer list at 195-6. Friday's competition will see her match up with the conference's No. 2 (Gardner-Webb's Natasha Akbarizadeh), No. 3 (Gardner-Webb's Petra Jakelijic) and No. 4 (High Point's Jamie Schnuck) hammer throwers, along with past Big South standouts Jocelyn Williams (Liberty) and Krista Chauvin (Gardner-Webb). The field also includes the Latvian national record holder (Laura Igaune, 226-2), the defending CAA champion (William & Mary's Leia Mistowski) and the defending Conference USA champion (Charlotte's Victoria Merriweather).

Friday, Noon – Kylie Polsgrove – Virginia Challenge Heptathlon
After scoring a personal-best 4,995 points during the Liberty Collegiate Invitational heptathlon, Kylie Polsgrove will look to become the fifth Lady Flame to join the 5,000-point club. Six of her competitors in Charlottesville boast personal-best scores above 5,000, topped by Florida Atlantic's Frida Thorsas at 5,484.

Friday, 1:45 p.m. – Zach Davis – Virginia Challenge Decathlon
Zach Davis' decathlon personal best of 7,171 makes him one of eight 7,000-point scorers among this weekend's field in Charlottesville. Leading the way is Middle Tennessee alum Atsu Nyamadi. The Ghana native boasts a personal best of 7,800, placed 10th at the 2016 NCAA meet and was the runner-up at the 2016 African Championships.

Friday, 4 p.m. – Darrel Jones – Virginia Challenge Men's Triple Jump Invitational
Darrel Jones will compete in the Virginia Challenge men's triple jump invitational section for the second year in a row, after his wind-legal personal best of 50-11 during last year's competition. This time around, all nine entrants boast personal bests of 50-3.25 or better. Headlining the field is Virginia freshman Jordan Scott, who reached 53-8.25 indoors and captured the ACC title.

Friday, 7 p.m. – Carson Waters – Virginia Challenge Men's Pole Vault Invitational
Carson Waters, who has been the top collegiate finisher in three of his five pole vault competitions this season, will look to improve upon his season best of 16-6. His opponents include a pair of 17-footers, Michigan State's Noah Gary (17-5.75) and Yale's Austin Laut (17-0). Laut was the 2017 IC4A indoor men's pole vault runner-up, while Waters placed second in the 2016 IC4A indoor men's pole vault competition.

Friday, 8:25 p.m. – Tanner Ealum – Virginia Challenge Women's 400
Freshman Tanner Ealum will face the challenge of running in lane 1 during the fastest seeded section of the women's 400, Friday evening in Charlottesville. Her competitors include the ninth-place finisher at the 2017 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships (Maryland's Micha Powell, 51.97 PR) and former Virginia standout Jordan Lavender (52.48 PR). The other seven competitors in Ealum's heat are all juniors or older.

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. – Jovaine Atkinson – Virginia Challenge Men's 110 Hurdles
Jovaine Atkinson has lowered the Liberty men's 110 hurdles record twice during his redshirt freshman season, including his 14.01 effort at last Saturday's Gamecock Invitational. The nation's No. 3-ranked freshman in the event, Atkinson will meet a trio of sub-14.00 hurdlers on Saturday. Among them is 2017 NCAA heptathlon champion Devon Williams of Georgia, who recently dropped his personal best to 13.83.

Saturday, 3:30 p.m. – Holly Arey – Duke Invitational Women's Discus
Holly Arey has enjoyed a strong junior season in the discus, pushing her personal best to 156-4 at the VertKlasse Meeting on April 1. On Saturday, Arey will face the defending conference champions of the Atlantic 10 (George Mason's Michelle Wallerstedt), CAA (Elon's Bryanna Hames) and Big South (High Point's Makenzi Holmes-DiGiovine).

Saturday, 7:10 p.m. – Ryan Davis – Virginia Challenge Men's 400 Hurdles
One week after clocking a season-best 400 hurdles time of 52.02 at the Gamecock Invitational, Ryan Davis will meet three of the nation's top 15 competitors in the event. They include Pitt's Desmond Palmer (No. 5, 49.85) and the North Carolina duo of Rilwan Alowonle (No. 10, 50.33) and Kenny Selmon (No. 15, 50.95). Selmon came in third in the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships 400 hurdles final.

Saturday, 7:35 p.m. – Anna Van Wyk – Duke Invitational Women's 1,500
After clocking a personal-best and Big South-leading 1,500 time of 4:30.05 at the FSU Relays on March 24, Anna Van Wyk will return to the event Saturday evening. Her competition is highlighted by former Princeton All-American Greta Feldman, who has posted a time of 4:16.11 this season. Van Wyk will also square off against defending Big South 1,500 champion Cozette Collin of High Point.

Saturday, 9:25 p.m. – Azaria Kirwa – Virginia Challenge Men's 5K
Azaria Kirwa has only run one race during the outdoor season, claiming the No. 3 spot on Liberty's all-time list with his 29:05.57 10K at the Raleigh Relays on March 24. Saturday evening, the sophomore will aim to improve upon his 5K personal best of 14:11.36 and join Sam Chelanga, Josh McDougal and Caleb Edmonds as the only sub-14:00 5K runners in Flames history. Kirwa will race against nine sub-14:00 competitors on Saturday, topped by Syracuse's Colin Bennie (13:38.81).

Big South's Best
Three weeks before the 2017 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships take place, Liberty ranks No. 1 in the conference in a number of events.

In men's events, Liberty's Big South leaders include Jovaine Atkinson (110 Hurdles), Ryan Davis (400 Hurdles), Zach Davis (High Jump), Jahquez Durham (200), Darrel Jones (Triple Jump), Denzel Pratt (Javelin), Stephen Racanelli (400), Carson Waters (Pole Vault) and the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay squads.

Lady Flames currently leading the conference include Tanner Ealum (400), Jessie Glynn (Pole Vault), Dasiana Larson (Shot Put and Hammer), Kylie Polsgrove (High Jump and Heptathlon), Brenna Smith (Javelin), Anna Van Wyk (1,500 and 5K) and the 4 x 400 relay team.

Lexington Ledger
The 2017 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will be contested May 25-27 at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track & Field Facility in Lexington, Ky.

At this stage of the 2017 outdoor season, the following Flames and Lady Flames are in contention for a berth in the meet, which will determine the qualifiers for the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Lock – Jovaine Atkinson (Men's 110 Hurdles), Ryan Davis (Men's 400 Hurdles), Darrel Jones (Men's Triple Jump), Azaria Kirwa (Men's 10K), Dasiana Larson (Women's Hammer), Denzel Pratt (Men's Javelin)

On the Bubble – Samuel Arter (Men's Javelin), Janae Jones (Women's Triple Jump), Kylie Polsgrove (Women's High Jump), Brenna Smith (Women's Javelin), Carson Waters (Men's Pole Vault), Mary Witmer (Women's 400 Hurdles)