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6 Flames Named Big South Athletes of the Week

May 4, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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(Clockwise from top left) Tanner Ealum, Janae Jones, Mary Witmer, Olivia Behymer, Alexander Hoffsmith and Nicole Leonzo all won Big South weekly honors on Thursday.

(Clockwise from top left) Tanner Ealum, Janae Jones, Mary Witmer, Olivia Behymer, Alexander Hoffsmith and Nicole Leonzo all won Big South weekly honors on Thursday.

Thanks to their performances at the 123rd Penn Relays, six Liberty athletes have won Big South Conference weekly honors. Alexander Hoffsmith was named Big South Men's Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week, Janae Jones was tabbed Big South Women's Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week and the 4 x 400 quartet of Tanner Ealum, Mary Witmer, Nicole Leonzo and Olivia Behymer was named Big South Women's Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week.

One year after placing 10th in the high school boys' javelin at the Penn Relays, Hoffsmith came in third in the college section of the men's javelin, Saturday at Franklin Field. His personal-best mark of 213-7 in the opening round ranks No. 7 in program history and No. 2 in the Big South this season.

Hoffsmith's effort likely punched his ticket to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. He currently ranks No. 63 nationally in the men's javelin, including No. 12 among freshmen.

Jones earns her fourth Big South weekly honor of 2017 and the seventh of the redshirt senior's career. She won the women's triple jump college section, Friday at the Penn Relays, thanks to a personal-best leap of 41-9.75. Jones became Liberty's first Penn Relays event champion since Evans Kigen placed first in the men's 10K in 2008.

Jones now ranks No. 1 in the Big South this season and No. 4 all-time in conference history. She sits No. 54 on the 2017 NCAA Division I national list for the women's triple jump and has clinched the second NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round berth of her career.

One day after Jones' victory, Liberty won its second Penn Relays event in as many days. The quartet of Ealum, Witmer, Leonzo and Behymer took home the title in the women's 4 x 400 ECAC final with a program-record time of 3:40.32, outdistancing runner-up Villanova by three seconds.

Liberty's previous 4 x 400 school record of 3:41.00 had stood since Marie Williams, Tra' Screen, Charlene Hibbert and Chenoa Freeman posted the time at the 2007 ECAC meet. Ealum, Witmer, Leonzo and Behymer also became the third-fastest 4 x 400 grouping in Big South Conference history. The Lady Flames currently rank No. 26 in the East Region, with the top 24 squads advancing to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.

Liberty will attempt to defend its men's and women's team titles at the 2017 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The meet will be contested May 10-12 at Bagwell-Settle Track in Charleston, S.C.