Ryan McCann put himself onto the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round bubble with a personal-best 16-5.25 clearance on Sunday.
Liberty men's pole vaulters Carson Waters (17-5) and Ryan McCann (16-5.25) both recorded new personal bests at the Mount Olive Final Qualifier, Sunday afternoon at the Ray McDonald, Sr. Track & Field/Lacrosse Complex.
For the second time in five days, Waters won a pole vault competition in North Carolina with a new personal-best clearance. On Wednesday, the senior had successfully defended his Big South title with a meet-record 17-4.25 effort at High Point.
Sunday's competition saw Waters top the field by making it over 17-5. He needed third attempts to clear both 16-11 and 17-5 before missing on three attempts at a new Liberty and Big South-record height of 17-9 for the second straight meet.
Waters will now prepare to pole vault at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in Tampa, Fla., near his hometown of St. Petersburg Beach. At last year's meet, a 17-2.75 clearance was necessary for advancement to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
McCann put himself on the bubble for a NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round invitation on the last possible day to post qualifying marks. The Big South third-place men's pole vault finisher also placed third on Sunday.
After needing three attempts to make it over 15-5.5, McCann cleared both 15-11.25 and 16-5.25 on his first try, adding 3.5 inches to his previous best. The sophomore, in just his fourth year of pole vaulting, is now tied for No. 10 all-time at Liberty.
Erin Zappia, coming off a Big South women's high jump title, closed out her collegiate career by tying for first place on Sunday. Both she and Ashland's Hannah Bartlome sailed over 5-5.25 on their second attempt but could get no higher.
Jonny Saintil also competed for the final time in his Liberty career on Sunday, coming in fifth in the men's triple jump. He reached 48-4.5 on his sixth and final attempt despite battling a headwind.
Up Next The NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will take place May 24-26. At least 20 Liberty athletes are expected to qualify for the meet at USF Track & Field Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The official list of qualifiers will be announced Thursday on NCAA.com.