Dasiana Larson set a new Liberty women's hammer record of 204-4 on Saturday. (Photo by Taylor Jones)
For the second straight Saturday, two Liberty track & field program records went down at the aptly named Virginia Grand Prix, thanks to senior Dasiana Larson (women's hammer – 204-4) and redshirt senior Colin Schultz (men's 800 – 1:48.96). The Flames' day at Lannigan Field also included four event victories and four new NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round qualifications.
Schultz led a 1-2 Liberty finish in the men's 800, with the Flames' other victors including Brenna Smith (women's javelin), Nick Doan (men's steeplechase) and Carson Waters (men's pole vault).
Schultz, men's 800 runner-up Bradley Prentice (1:49.37), Doan (9:03.77) and the men's 4 x 400 quartet of Alejandro Perlaza Zapata, Michael Todd, Jeff Jacobs and Jahquez Durham (3:09.00) all likely punched their NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round tickets on Saturday. If the 4 x 400 squad does indeed qualify for the meet in Tampa, they will become the Flames' first-ever relay team to advance to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.
Men's Meet Recap Schultz's first 800-meter race of the season was a memorable one, as he slashed his personal best from 1:51.16 all the way down to the record time of 1:48.96. The Las Vegas native now ranks No. 3 in Big South history after following up a 54.82-second opening lap with a 54.15-second second lap.
Prentice's 1:49.37 clocking was also superior to the previous program record (1:49.56). Like Schultz, the junior sped up on the second lap (54.90 split followed by 54.47) to knock a second off of his personal best and claim the No. 4 spot on the Big South's all-time list.
Todd, who had set the program record of 1:49.56 on the same track in 2017, clocked a season-best time of 1:51.68 for sixth place in Saturday's race.
Running just the second 3,000-meter steeplechase of his career, Doan won by seven seconds with his personal-best time of 9:03.77. The redshirt sophomore claimed the No. 7 position on the Flames' steeplechase top 10 chart in the process. Teammate Louis Paone followed in sixth place at 9:24.59.
Waters took home the men's pole vault title thanks to a lifetime-best 17-3 clearance. After joining the outdoor 17-foot club for the first time, the senior ranks No. 3 all-time, both at Liberty and in the Big South Conference. Ryan McCann vaulted 15-7.25 for sixth place, while Reilly Stroot came in seventh at 15-1.5.
Perlaza Zapata (unofficial 45.8 split), Todd (unofficial 48.2 split), Jacobs (official 47.88 split) and Durham (official 46.92 split) placed third with their 4 x 400 time of 3:09.00. The Flames' fastest 4 x 400 clocking in 21 years ranks No. 7 in program history and No. 6 all-time in the Big South.
One week after posting a personal-best 51-5 triple jump at the Virginia Challenge, Darrel Jones once again found the Lannigan Field runway to his liking. The reigning Big South Men's Field Athlete of the Week placed second overall (first among collegiate entrants) with a wind-aided personal-best of 51-10.5 that ranks the senior among the nation's top 20 performers this season. Jones' impressive series also featured wind-legal efforts of 51-5.75 and 51-7.75. Meanwhile, Jonny Saintil stretched out to a personal-best 48-8.25 for sixth place in the event and No. 9 all-time for the Flames.
Like Jones, Samuel Arter only lost to a post-collegiate athlete on Saturday. His season-best and Big South-leading mark of 218-11 placed second in the men's javelin.
The impressive 4 x 400 clocking punctuated a successful day for Liberty's men's sprinters. The 4 x 100 grouping of Travis Henderson, Perlaza Zapata, Greg Edwards and Durham came in second with a season-best time of 40.82, the Flames' fastest effort since 2012.
Individually, Henderson raced to new personal-best times in both the 100 (10.62, third place) and 200 (21.37, fifth place). Edwards also improved his 200 personal best to 21.50 for seventh place in the event.
Running in the tight lane one, Durham clocked 48.36 seconds for ninth place in the 400-meter dash.
Branson Rolle notched fourth-place finishes in both hurdle events, including the 110 (14.73) and 400-meter (53.20) versions. Freshman Isidro Johnson's personal-best 400 hurdles time of 55.72 placed eighth.
Rounding out the running events, Jack Tidball's 15:13.86 5K took sixth place overall.
William Partridge recorded a pair of top-five finishes, coming in third in the men's shot put (52-6.5) and fifth in the hammer (166-2).
One year after long jumping a personal-best 23-11.75 at the 2017 Virginia Grand Prix, Brad Smalley reached a season-best 23-0.75 for fifth place.
Women's Meet Recap Larson reached 204-4 on her sixth and final attempt in the women's hammer, coming in second overall and first among collegiate performers. The Iowa native eclipsed Melinda Bendik's program record of 202-7 from the 2012 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. Larson now ranks No. 3 all-time in the Big South and among the NCAA's top 25 for 2018.
Chelsea Igberaese also found her best effort of the day in round six, measuring 182-10 to improve upon her own Liberty freshman record. She ended up fifth in both the event and on Liberty's top 10 list. Senior teammate Holly Arey added a seventh-place finish (173-9).
Smith has now won three straight women's javelin competitions after taking Saturday morning's first event by more than 20 feet. The senior from New Jersey threw 157-7, one week after posting a school-record mark of 161-7 at Duke.
Savannah Pidkaminy placed fourth with a new javelin personal best of 124-5, defeating 2017 All-Big South performer CeAnna Soper of High Point. Kemi Moore came in sixth at 117-9.
Freshman Naomi Mojica heaved the shot put an outdoor personal-best 51-1 to claim the runner-up spot. She briefly took the lead in round six before being overtaken by Charlotte's Victoria Ebert. Mojica climbed to No. 2 in Big South history with Saturday's effort.
Behind her, Patria Vaimaona added more than two and a half feet to her shot put best, reaching 46-7.5 for the No. 4 spot at the meet and on Liberty's all-time chart. Larson finished just behind her in fifth at 46-7.25.
Igberaese's successful day also included a runner-up performance in the women's discus at a personal-best 162-2. Vaimaona (153-4, fifth place) and Arey (142-5, eighth) also notched top-10 finishes for the Lady Flames.
Erin Zappia high jumped 5-4.25 to share third place.
Jessie Glynn tied for seventh place in the women's pole vault invitational section at 12-3.5. In the open section, Rachel Milnes was fifth (11-6.25) and Mariel Finger eighth (season-best 11-0.25).
Like their male counterparts, the Lady Flames' sprint crew posted quite a few fast times on Saturday. Alexis Wilson, Ty'Asia Dansbury, Kimone Green and Cortney Dowling teamed up for second place in the 4 x 100 relay. Their time of 45.96 tops the 2018 Big South list and ranks No. 7 in program history.
Later in the evening, Green, Dowling, Dansbury and Tanner Ealum came in third in the 4 x 400 relay at 3:44.40.
Dowling won her heat and came in third overall in the 400-meter dash. The sophomore's season-best time of 55.24 leads the Big South and claims a spot within Liberty's all-time top 10. Ealum's season-best 55.69 effort was good for sixth place. Meanwhile, 800-meter standout Delaney McDowell won her 400-meter heat and placed 11th overall in 56.68 seconds, slicing more than a second off of her previous best.
Freshmen Nikayla Hoyte (12.04) and Wilson (12.06) both set season bests at 100 meters, coming in eighth and ninth, respectively. Hoyte later dropped her 200 personal best to 24.76 for 13th place.
Kylie Polsgrove dropped her 100 hurdles personal best from 14.33 to 14.13 on Saturday, winning her heat and taking seventh place in the final standings. The fastest time in the Big South this season, Polsgrove's effort sits eighth all-time for the Lady Flames.
Completing her first steeplechase in over two years, Kammi Kurtz set a new personal best by 21 seconds. Her time of 11:47.83 was good enough for fourth place.
Up Next The Flames' lone home meet of the 2018 outdoor season, the Liberty Twilight Qualifier, will take place Wednesday at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex.
The meet will tentatively begin with field events at 11:30 a.m. and running events at 2 p.m. Liberty will honor its senior class on the track at 5:15 p.m., just prior to the evening session of running events.