Clockwise from top left: Tanner Ealum, Patria Vaimaona, Taylen Langin, Felix Kandie, Jose Ballivian, Alejandro Perlaza Zapata
Liberty track & field athletes swept all six ASUN Conference weekly awards following an impressive weekend of competition at the Liberty Kickoff. The Flames' honorees included Alejandro Perlaza Zapata (Men's Track Athlete of the Week), Jose Ballivian (Men's Field Athlete of the Week), Felix Kandie (Men's Freshman of the Week), Tanner Ealum (Women's Track Athlete of the Week), Patria Vaimaona (Women's Field Athlete of the Week) and Taylen Langin (Women's Freshman of the Week).
Perlaza Zapata won all three of his events on Saturday, including the men's 200, 500 and 4 x 400 relay. Most impressive was his 500 clocking of 1:01.35, which ranks No. 1 in the world for 2019 and took down the school, facility and meet records.
The senior Olympian from Cali, Colombia also broke a Liberty record which had stood for 19 years with his 21.17 effort in the 200. That time ranks No. 1 in the ASUN and No. 33 nationally this season.
Perlaza Zapata capped off his banner day by anchoring the Flames' 4 x 400 relay squad to a come-from-behind victory over Hampton with a 46.11 split on his anchor leg. Liberty's winning time of 3:11.39 ranks No. 2 in program history, No. 1 in the ASUN this season and No. 22 among NCAA Division I squads in 2019.
Ballivian repeated as ASUN Men's Field Athlete of the Week after winning the Liberty Kickoff men's shot put title by more than three feet. The redshirt sophomore from Santiago, Chile's season-best effort of 58-6.5 leads the ASUN and is tied for No. 49 in the NCAA this season.
Kandie, a redshirt freshman from Eldoret, Kenya, finished as the Liberty Kickoff men's mile runner-up (first collegiate finisher) with a big personal-best time of 4:09.59. Kandie's ASUN-leading clocking broke the Liberty freshman record and moves him up to No. 6 on the Flames' all-time mile list.
Ealum was a double winner on Saturday, claiming gold in the women's 500 and 4 x 400 relay. Her meet-record 500 time of 1:11.92 ranks No. 10 in the world this year. The junior from Anchorage, Alaska later clocked 55.01 seconds for the 4 x 400 relay's third leg, sending the Lady Flames on their way to a dominating victory in a season-best time of 3:46.30.
Vaimaona recorded a personal-best 62-2.5 weight throw to win the event by more than four feet on Friday. A redshirt junior from Waimanalo, Hawaii, Vaimaona leads the ASUN and ranks No. 65 nationally for the event this season. One day later, she followed up with a fourth-place showing in the women's shot put, topping out at 45-10.75.
Langin claimed runner-up honors during Friday's women's pole vault competition, thanks to a 12-5.5 clearance. The freshman from Meridian, Idaho currently ranks No. 1 among ASUN women's vaulters with her Liberty freshman record clearance of 12-7.5 from the season-opening Hokie Invitational.
The Flames will remain at home on Saturday, playing host to the Liberty Flames Invite. The one-day meet at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex will pit Liberty against opponents from Campbell, Charleston Southern, Howard, Maryland, Norfolk State, VCU and Virginia. Saturday's first event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
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