Colin Schultz won the Raleigh Relays men's 1,500 title with a personal-best 3:44.78 clocking on Friday. (Photo by Taylor Jones)
Liberty redshirt senior Colin Schultz's victory in the men's 1,500 provided the Flames' biggest highlight of the Raleigh Relays' opening day, Friday at Paul Derr Track. A day dominated by distance running also featured freshman Noel Palmer's impressive 34:47.26 clocking for her 10K debut.
Men's Day One Recap Schultz, the reigning Big South Men's Track Athlete of the Week, made a compelling case to defend his award. His winning 1,500 time of 3:44.78 shaved 1.41 seconds from his previous personal best, ranking No. 3 on Liberty's all-time list and No. 6 on the Big South men's 1,500 chart.
Schultz was in third place after the pacesetter, 2017 USATF men's 1,500 national champion Robby Andrews, stepped aside. He then clocked a 57.91-second final lap, overtaking 2017 NCAA Division I men's 1,500 national runner-up Justine Kiprotich of Michigan State and Noah Kauppila of Princeton for the victory. Schultz's time should cement his status as a qualifier for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round.
Andrew Crowell also closed out his 1,500-meter race quickly, clocking 58.77 seconds for his last lap. As a result, he placed second in his heat in 3:58.89.
Louis Paone raced to a new steeplechase personal best of 9:23.34, the Big South Conference's top time of 2018.
Nick Doan (14:57.54) and Felix Kandie (14:58.74) both produced their first sub-15:00 5K times in a Liberty uniform, while Augostine Lisoreng (15:00.38) nearly joined them in doing so.
Jacob Burke was the Flames' top field event performer in Raleigh on Friday, high jumping 6-4.75 for 10th place.
Women's Day One Recap Palmer found the 25-lap race to her liking, as her 34:47.26 effort ranks No. 4 all-time for the Lady Flames and No. 7 in Big South history. She just missed Ednah Kurgat's Liberty freshman-record time of 34:38.75 from the 2015 Raleigh Relays and put herself in contention for a berth at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in May.
Alyssa Karle's 11:06.89 clocking marked the fastest women's steeplechase by a Big South athlete thus far this season.
Freshman Heidi Smith improved by nine seconds from her seasonal 1,500-meter debut, finishing Friday's race in 4:40.58. Teammate Anna Van Wyk clocked a season-best 4:40.89.
Kammi Kurtz has now clocked the two fastest 5K times of her life in the last eight days, as the Indiana native followed up her personal-best 17:39.26 effort from last Friday's FSU Relays with an 18:03.55 performance in Raleigh.
Moving to the shorter distances, Jaiden Mulder's 14.63 clocking into a headwind was good enough for 11th place of 50 women's 100-meter hurdlers.
Freshmen Alexis Wilson (12.14) and Nikayla Hoyte (12.18) placed 14th and 16th, respectively, in the women's 100 dash.
Up Next Liberty's first Saturday event at the Texas Relays will be Section B of the women's discus, featuring Chelsea Igberaese and Patria Vaimaona, at 11 a.m. Eastern.
Liberty's triple jumpers (Hannah Andrews, Josh Hammond, Jeremiah McCants, Miranda Moss and Alyssa Smalley) will get the Flames' Saturday at the Raleigh Relays started, as both the men's and women's triple jump competitions begin at noon.