Kylie Polsgrove wrapped up a heptathlon personal-best score of 5,184 points, Saturday at the Virginia Challenge.
Cool, damp conditions on Saturday at Lannigan Field could not extinguish the Flames, as Liberty's Kylie Polsgrove (5,184 points in the heptathlon) and Azaria Kirwa (14:00.29 in the men's 5K) each recorded outstanding performances on the final day of the Virginia Challenge.
Polsgrove's score was the highest by a Big South heptathlete in 10 years. Meanwhile, Kirwa punched his ticket to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in a second event, following his qualification in the 10K earlier this season.
Women's Day Two Recap Two weeks ago, Polsgrove came tantalizingly close to joining heptathlon's 5,000-point club with her score of 4,995 at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational. On Saturday, the sophomore blasted through the 5,000-point barrier with plenty of room to spare, placing fifth in the competition.
Polsgrove's final score of 5,184 points ranks No. 3 in both Liberty and Big South Conference history, trailing only Danielle McNaney (5,504 in 2005) and Arlene Zelinskas (5,242 in 2007). Polsgrove's point total was the best by a Big South heptathlete since Zelinskas' 5,242-point effort at the 2007 ECAC meet.
After setting or tying a personal best in all four of her events on Friday, Polsgrove opened Saturday's competition with a personal-best 18-4.5 leap in the long jump. Her first-ever 18-foot effort ranks No. 4 all-time among Liberty heptathletes.
Polsgrove then closed things out with a season-best javelin heave of 105-5 and a 2:26.71 clocking in the 800.
In Saturday morning's very first event, Alyssa Karle placed 11th in her heat of the women's steeplechase with a personal-best 11:03.83 clocking. The Californian cut two seconds off of her previous best, which had earned runner-up honors at the 2016 Big South meet.
Nicole Leonzo sped to a 200-meter season-best time of 24.94 seconds for 17th place.
Competing in the women's high jump invitational section, Erin Zappia came in eighth with a 5-5 clearance.
Dana Mercer's 17-7.5 long jump was good for a 14th-place showing in the open section of the event.
Men's Day Two Recap Competing in his first 5K since winning the IC4A indoor title on March 4, Kirwa finished 10th in 14:00.29. The sophomore improved his personal best by 11 seconds to climb into fifth place in program history and ninth place on the Big South's all-time list.
Kirwa's impressive effort kicked off a strong evening for the Liberty men's distance crew. In the next section of the men's 5K, freshman Stanley Langat came in fifth in a personal-best 14:12.06. A new personal best by 21 seconds, Langat's time ranks him No. 8 on Liberty's all-time 5K list.
Finally, sophomore James Zentmeyer lopped 1:13 off of his 10K personal best with his 30:49.35 clocking. The Florida native blazed a 65.37-second final lap to secure 21st place in the race and secure his sub-31:00 time.
Senior Zach Davis (season-best 6,898) and freshman Markus Ballengee (personal-best 6,840) now rank 1-2 on the 2017 Big South decathlon list after placing seventh and eighth, respectively, at the Virginia Challenge.
After failing to clear his opening pole vault height at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational, Davis posted his best-ever decathlon pole vault clearance (14-5.25) during an event moved indoors due to the wet weather.
Ballengee's score was 1,166 points better than his decathlon debut at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational two weeks earlier. He opened his Saturday with a strong 14.90 clocking in the 110 hurdles and later ended it with a personal-best 1,500 time of 4:45.14, the third fastest of the competition.
Program record holder Jovaine Atkinson placed a close third in the men's 110 hurdles in 14.21 seconds Saturday afternoon. Fellow redshirt freshman Samson Moore dropped his personal best to 14.74 for 11th place.
Freshmen Brad Smalley (fourth place, season-best 22-9.75) and Andre Wright (fifth place, personal-best 22-9) each recorded top-five finishes in the open section of the men's long jump.
Up Next Liberty will divide its athletes between two different meets for the second consecutive weekend. Some Flames and Lady Flames will compete in the Penn Relays, Thursday through Saturday at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa. Liberty will also send a group of competitors back to Lannigan Field for Saturday's Virginia Grand Prix.