(L-R): Liberty's seniors who won 2017 Big South outdoor event titles include Darrel Jones, Carson Waters, Brenna Smith and Dasiana Larson.
Two and a half weeks after sweeping the 2018 Big South men's and women's indoor track & field team championships, Liberty has been unanimously picked by the conference's head coaches to accomplish the same feat outdoors.
Head Coach Brant Tolsma's men's squad has captured 11 straight Big South outdoor championships and 22 team crowns in the meet's 24-year history. The Flames garnered all seven first-place votes and 49 total points to top the preseason poll.
Liberty returns four men's conference champions from a year ago, including Jovaine Atkinson (110 hurdles), Darrel Jones (triple jump), Denzel Pratt (javelin) and Carson Waters (pole vault). The Flames also bring back Jahquez Durham, Bradley Prentice and Michael Todd from their winning 4 x 400 relay quartet.
Campbell, the 2017 runner-up, was picked to finish second once again with 42 points. The Camels were followed by Charleston Southern (third place, 32 points) and 2018 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships host High Point (fourth, 31).
Winthrop (fifth, 18), Gardner-Webb (sixth, 17) and UNC Asheville (seventh, 7) round out the men's poll.
The Lady Flames, who have won three consecutive Big South outdoor titles and 16 overall championships at this meet, collected all eight first-place votes and 64 points.
Liberty's returning conference champions include Tanner Ealum (400), Dasiana Larson (shot put), Delaney McDowell (800), Kylie Polsgrove (heptathlon), Brenna Smith (javelin) and Anna Van Wyk (5K). Additionally, Ealum, McDowell and Olivia Behymer are back from the victorious 4 x 400 relay squad.
Last season's runner-up, Campbell was picked for second place with 53 points with High Point third (51) and Radford fourth (37).
Charleston Southern (fifth place, 34 points), Gardner-Webb (sixth, 22), Winthrop (seventh, 19) and UNC Asheville (eighth, 8) comprise the bottom half of the women's poll.
Liberty will open its 2018 outdoor season at this weekend's CSU Spring Break Invitational at Bagwell-Settle Track in Charleston, S.C., the site of the Flames and Lady Flames' 2017 Big South victories.
This year's Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships will take place at Vert Stadium in High Point, N.C., May 9-11. High Point last hosted the Big South meet in 2015, and Liberty captured both the men's and women's team titles.
2018 Big South Conference Men's Outdoor Track & Field Preseason Poll 1) Liberty (7 first-place votes) – 49 points 2) Campbell – 42 3) Charleston Southern – 32 4) High Point – 31 5) Winthrop – 18 6) Gardner-Webb – 17 7) UNC Asheville – 7
2018 Big South Conference Women's Outdoor Track & Field Preseason Poll 1) Liberty (8 first-place votes) – 64 points 2) Campbell – 53 3) High Point – 51 4) Radford – 37 5) Charleston Southern – 34 6) Gardner-Webb – 22 7) Winthrop – 19 8) UNC Asheville – 8
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