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Liberty Track Bound for IC4A/ECAC Championships in Boston

February 27, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Tanner Ealum enters this weekend's meet as the ECAC 500 dash's defending champion.

Tanner Ealum enters this weekend's meet as the ECAC 500 dash's defending champion.

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Live Video Streaming (RunnerSpace PLUS+)

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Liberty Track & Field Twitter (@Liberty_XCTF)

Fresh off of their first-ever ASUN Conference titles, the Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field teams will compete in a conference meet for the second straight weekend. The Flames and Lady Flames will head to the Boston University Track & Tennis Center for the 2019 IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, Friday through Sunday.

The meet will begin Friday at 2:30 p.m. with the ECAC pentathlon 60-meter hurdles. Saturday's action will get started at 9:30 a.m. with the IC4A heptathlon 60-meter hurdles. The IC4A triple jump and ECAC shot put will begin the final day of competition, Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Video streaming will be available throughout all three days of competition with a paid subscription to RunnerSpace PLUS+.

Live results will be available throughout the meet, courtesy of Paynes Corner Timing.

Periodic updates will also be posted to the Liberty Track & Field/Cross Country Twitter account, @Liberty_XCTF.

Liberty's IC4A Entrants
Jose Ballivian – Shot Put
Jeremy Davis – Heptathlon
Nick Doan – 3K
Jahquez Durham – 400, 4 x 400
Christian Gilliam – DMR
Anders Janes – Pole Vault
Felix Kandie – 3K
Ally Kipchirchir – DMR
Azaria Kirwa – 3K, 5K
Kyle Mitchell – Shot Put
Kysheen Myrick – Heptathlon
Alejandro Perlaza Zapata – 200, 4 x 400
Elijah Pierson – 60
Branson Rolle – 60 Hurdles, Long Jump
Jonny Saintil – Triple Jump
Brad Smalley – 200, 4 x 400
Joe Spitzer – DMR
Paul Squires – DMR
Reilly Stroot – Pole Vault
Michael Todd – 800, 4 x 400

Liberty's ECAC Entrants
Fiona Barnes – Long Jump
Naomi Bowser – DMR
Ty'Asia Dansbury – 400, 4 x 400
Katie Dodson – 60 Hurdles
Cortney Dowling – 400, 4 x 400
Tanner Ealum – 500, 4 x 400
Chelsea Igberaese – Shot Put, Weight Throw
Taylen Langin – Pole Vault
Delaney McDowell – 800, 4 x 400
Adrianna Mitchell – Triple Jump
Makenzy Mizera – Long Jump, Triple Jump
Naomi Mojica – Shot Put, Weight Throw
Jaiden Mulder – 60 Hurdles
Noel Palmer – 5K
Calli Parlier – Mile, DMR
Kylie Polsgrove – Pentathlon
Jessica Rogers – DMR
Alexis Rolan – 60, 200, DMR
Heidi Smith – DMR
Jada Thomas – 60 Hurdles
Patria Vaimaona – Shot Put, Weight Throw
Marvalyn Vernon – Weight Throw
Alexis Wilson – 60, 200

What Do All of These Letters Stand For?
The acronym ECAC is short for Eastern College Athletic Conference. According to the ECAC website, it "is the nation's largest athletic conference and only multi-divisional conference, with approximately 300 member institutions ranging across 16 states from Maine to North Carolina and westerly to Wisconsin." This weekend's women's meet is officially titled the ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championship.

Meanwhile, the concurrent men's meet is called the IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championship. IC4A stands for Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America, and the name is only applied to the ECAC's Division I men's championships in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field.

Looking Back at Last Year
Liberty enjoyed arguably its best-ever showing at the IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in 2018.

The Lady Flames captured their first-ever ECAC title, while the Flames finished a close second to UConn in the IC4A standings, matching their best-ever placement at this meet.

Liberty won five events, including ECAC titles by Tanner Ealum (500) and Dasiana Larson (weight throw) and IC4A championships by Markus Ballengee (heptathlon), Alejandro Perlaza Zapata (400) and the 4 x 400 relay quartet of Jahquez Durham, Michael Todd, Jeff Jacobs and Perlaza Zapata.

The Flames set seven new school records on the weekend in Boston, including the women's 500 (Ealum – 1:11.17), women's 4 x 400 relay (Ty'Asia Dansbury, Cortney Dowling, Olivia Behymer and Ealum – 3:41.09), women's distance medley relay (Alyssa Karle, Dansbury, Heidi Smith and Anna Van Wyk – 11:44.49), men's 400 (Perlaza Zapata – 46.14), men's 4 x 400 relay (Durham, Todd, Jacobs and Perlaza Zapata – 3:09.88), men's distance medley relay (Andrew Crowell, Branson Rolle, Bradley Prentice and Colin Schultz – 9:47.30) and men's heptathlon (Ballengee – 5,537).

Chasing Team Championships
The Lady Flames will attempt to defend their ECAC team title from a year ago. It was Liberty's first-ever ECAC championship, either indoors or outdoors.

Liberty has captured three outdoor IC4A team championships (1996, 2007 and 2008), but the Flames are seeking their first indoor team title. Last season marked Liberty's third IC4A runner-up finish, along with 2008 and 2011.

Time to Tune Up
Alejandro Perlaza Zapata will compete in the men's 400 at the 2019 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, March 8-9 in Birmingham, Ala.

Perlaza Zapata will not attempt to defend his IC4A 400 title in Boston this weekend. However, the senior from Colombia is entered in both the 200 and 4 x 400 relay for the Flames.

Preparing Her Defense
Junior Tanner Ealum will attempt to claim her second-straight ECAC 500 title this weekend. No Lady Flame has won the same event in back-to-back years at this meet since Danielle McNaney captured the ECAC pentathlon championship in 2004 and 2005.

ASUN All-Stars
Eleven different Flames and Lady Flames captured individual event titles at last weekend's ASUN Indoor Track & Field Championships. All of them will compete in their ASUN championship events this weekend except Alejandro Perlaza Zapata, who will forego the 400.

Liberty's newly-crowned ASUN champions competing in Boston include Jose Ballivian (men's shot put), Chelsea Igberaese (women's weight throw), Azaria Kirwa (men's 5K), Taylen Langin (women's pole vault), Naomi Mojica (women's shot put), Kysheen Myrick (men's heptathlon), Perlaza Zapata (men's 200), Branson Rolle (men's long jump), Jonny Saintil (men's triple jump), Reilly Stroot (men's pole vault) and Jada Thomas (women's 60 hurdles).

Last year, Liberty's Dasiana Larson (women's weight throw) and Perlaza Zapata (men's 400) successfully claimed Big South and IC4A/ECAC individual event championships on back-to-back weekends.

Baton Battles
Liberty won three of the ASUN's four relay events last weekend, including the men's 4 x 400, women's 4 x 400 and women's distance medley relays.

All three squads set records at the ASUN meet, with the men's (3:11.65) and women's (3:41.74) 4 x 400 squads breaking meet records and the women's distance medley relay team (11:42.29) taking down the school record.

Last season, all four of Liberty's relay teams posted new school records at the IC4A/ECAC meet, including the men's 4 x 400 (3:09.88) and distance medley relays (9:47.30) and the women's 4 x 400 (3:41.09) and distance medley relays (11:44:49).

The 2018 men's 4 x 400 team became Liberty's first-ever relay champions at the IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Fresh Faces
The 2019 Liberty men's and women's indoor track & field teams have been bolstered by newcomers. More than half (22 of 43) of the Flames and Lady Flames competing in Boston this weekend are in their first indoor season representing Liberty.

Liberty's first-year team members heading to Boston this weekend include Jose Ballivian, Fiona Barnes, Naomi Bowser, Christian Gilliam, Chelsea Igberaese, Anders Janes, Felix Kandie, Ally Kipchirchir, Taylen Langin, Adrianna Mitchell, Kyle Mitchell, Makenzy Mizera, Kysheen Myrick, Calli Parlier, Elijah Pierson, Jessica Rogers, Alexis Rolan, Joe Spitzer, Paul Squires, Jada Thomas, Patria Vaimaona and Marvalyn Vernon.

Familiar Faces
Four Liberty seniors (Delaney McDowell, Kylie Polsgrove, Jonny Saintil, Michael Todd) will be competing at the IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships for the fourth consecutive year.

For Polsgrove, the ECAC meet has become an annual homecoming of sorts. Her father, Scott Polsgrove, is the head coach of the Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team in Quincy, Mass., located just outside Boston.

Upholding the Tradition
Over the years, Liberty's best events at the IC4A and ECAC meets have been the multi events. The Flames have captured 12 IC4A decathlon titles and three IC4A heptathlon crowns, including victories each of the last two years (2017 – Zach Davis and 2018 – Markus Ballengee). Meanwhile, the Lady Flames have won two ECAC heptathlon championships and three ECAC pentathlon competitions.

Senior Kylie Polsgrove has made steady upward progress in the ECAC pentathlon standings throughout her career, going from eighth place as a freshman in 2016 to fifth place as a sophomore in 2017 to the runner-up spot as a junior in 2018. Polsgrove is the top seed in Friday's competition thanks to her effort at the ASUN meet. She posted the No. 2 score in program history (3,835) to finish as the ASUN pentathlon runner-up.

Meanwhile, ASUN heptathlon champion Kysheen Myrick and Jeremy Davis will each compete in the heptathlon this weekend. Davis took sixth place in the IC4A heptathlon competition a year ago.

Changing of Seasons
After this weekend, senior Alejandro Perlaza Zapata will be the only Flame still competing indoors. He will race in the men's 400 at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, March 8-9 in Birmingham, Ala.

The rest of the Liberty athletes will prepare to kick off the 2019 outdoor season at the CSU Spring Break Invitational, March 16 in Charleston, S.C.