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Lady Flames Make it Back-to-Back ECAC Titles

March 3, 2019  Boston, Mass.  RSS
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The Lady Flames celebrate their second straight ECAC team championship.

The Lady Flames celebrate their second straight ECAC team championship.

For the second consecutive season, the Liberty women's squad hoisted the ECAC team champion trophy at the conclusion of the 2019 IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, Sunday at the Boston University Track & Tennis Center. Meanwhile, the Flames ended up fourth in the final IC4A team standings.

The Lady Flames ran away with the ECAC title, racking up 95 points over the course of the three-day meet as compared with 56.5 for runner-up UConn. Liberty won two events in school-record fashion on Sunday, including the 500 (Tanner Ealum – 1:10.74) and 4 x 400 relay (Cortney Dowling, Ty'Asia Dansbury, Delaney McDowell, Ealum – 3:39.06). But it was a true team victory, as 17 different Lady Flames contributed points to the victory.

Kylie Polsgrove had previously captured the ECAC pentathlon title with a school record of her own (3,986 points) on Friday, making this the first time the Lady Flames have ever won three events at an ECAC meet.

On the men's side, Liberty recorded its fourth consecutive top-five finish at this meet, aided by Nick Doan's victory in Sunday's 3K final. The Flames' total of 49 points put them just 0.5 point behind third-place Monmouth. UConn (108) and Rutgers (93) topped the final IC4A standings.

On a day full of impressive performances, Ealum stole the show. The junior from Alaska successfully defended her ECAC 500 title from 2018, lowering her own school record from 1:11.17 to 1:10.74. The time ranks No. 1 in the NCAA, No. 2 among Americans (trailing only Olympian Sydney McLaughlin) and No. 4 in the world for 2019. Ealum joins Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Danielle McNaney (pentathlon, 2004-2005) as the only Lady Flames to win the same ECAC event in back-to-back years.

Ealum later helped Liberty capture its first-ever ECAC relay championship, as the Lady Flames put an exclamation mark on their team title in the final event, the 4 x 400 relay. Running the anchor leg for the first time this season, Ealum clocked the team's fastest split (53.52), helping Liberty hold off UConn for the victory. Liberty's winning time of 3:39.06 shaved two seconds off the previous school record of 3:41.09, set at last year's ECAC championship.

Three of the four members of last year's record-setting 4 x 400 relay quartet (Dowling, Dansbury and Ealum) returned to gain a measure of redemption after being edged by Rhode Island by 0.03 seconds in the 2018 ECAC final.

The Lady Flames also posted a trio of third-place finishes on Sunday, coming in the 800 (McDowell – 2:08.24), distance medley relay (Naomi Bowser, Alexis Rolan, Heidi Smith, Calli Parlier – 11:46.76) and triple jump (Adrianna Mitchell – season-best 40-6.25). Jada Thomas added a fourth-place showing in the 60 hurdles, improving her own Liberty freshman record to 8.61.

The Liberty men's squad scored points in bunches on Sunday, headlined by a 16-point haul in the 3K. Doan pulled away from the pack with a 2:37.32 final kilometer, finishing in a time of 8:07.07 which lowered his personal best by seven seconds. The California native becomes Liberty's first IC4A 3K champion since Josh McDougal in 2006, just one year removed from a 17th-place finish in the 2018 IC4A 3K final.

Redshirt freshman teammate Felix Kandie finished just behind Doan in third place, crossing the finish line in 8:09.28 for six additional team points. Kandie also slashed seven seconds off his previous best on Sunday.

First-year Flames Jose Ballivian (second place, 57-2.75) and Kyle Mitchell (third, 57-2.25) pulled down 14 points in the IC4A shot put, wrapping up a successful weekend by the Liberty men's and women's throwers in Boston.

Anders Janes joined the pole vault's 16-foot club with a 16-0.75 clearance on Sunday but finished one spot behind teammate Reilly Stroot, who claimed the eighth and final scoring position on misses.

ECAC Top 5 Teams (45 teams scored points)
1) Liberty – 95
2) UConn – 56.5
3) Towson – 50
4) Rutgers – 38
5) Northeastern – 37.5

IC4A Top 5 Teams (39 teams scored points)
1) UConn – 108
2) Rutgers – 93
3) Monmouth – 49.5
4) Liberty – 49
5) Hampton – 43

ECAC Event Champions (Day 3)
Tanner Ealum – 500 – 1:10.74
Notes: Ealum's second straight ECAC 500 title, making her the first Lady Flame to successfully defend her ECAC crown since 2004 and 2005 (Danielle McNaney in the pentathlon)

Cortney Dowling, Ty'Asia Dansbury, Delaney McDowell, Tanner Ealum – 4 x 400 – 3:39.06
Note: Liberty's first-ever ECAC relay title

IC4A Event Champions (Day 3)
Nick Doan – 3K – 8:07.07
Note: Liberty's first IC4A 3K champion since Josh McDougal in 2006

Other Women's Top 8 Finishers (Day 3)
3rd – Delaney McDowell – 800 – 2:08.24
3rd – Adrianna Mitchell – Triple Jump – 40-6.25
3rd – Naomi Bowser, Alexis Rolan, Heidi Smith, Calli Parlier – DMR – 11:46.76
4th – Jada Thomas – 60 Hurdles – 8.61
5th – Cortney Dowling – 400 – 54.98
6th – Alexis Rolan – 60 – 7.69
6th – Patria Vaimaona – Shot Put – 48-4.5
7th – Alexis Wilson – 200 – 7.71

Other Men's Top 8 Finishers (Day 3)
2nd – Jose Ballivian – Shot Put – 57-2.75
3rd – Felix Kandie – 3K – 8:09.28
3rd – Kyle Mitchell – Shot Put – 57-2.25
6th – Brad Smalley, Jahquez Durham, Michael Todd, Christian Gilliam – 4 x 400 – 3:14.23
8th – Reilly Stroot – Pole Vault – 16-0.75

Women's Record Breakers (Day 3)
School Record – 500 – Tanner Ealum – 1:10.74
Old Record: 1:11.17 by Ealum at the 2018 ECAC meet

School Record – 4 x 400 – Cortney Dowling, Ty'Asia Dansbury, Delaney McDowell, Tanner Ealum – 3:39.06
Old Record: 3:41.09 by Ty'Asia Dansbury, Cortney Dowling, Olivia Behymer and Tanner Ealum at the 2018 ECAC meet

Freshman Record – 60 Hurdles – Jada Thomas – 8.61
Old Record: 8.62 by Thomas at last weekend's ASUN meet

Updates to Liberty's All-Time Women's Top 10 List (Day 3)
500 – No. 1 – Tanner Ealum – 1:10.74
4 x 400 – No. 1 – Dowling, Dansbury, McDowell, Ealum – 3:39.06
60 Hurdles – No. 2 – Jada Thomas – 8.61
DMR – No. 3 – Bowser, Rolan, Smith, Parlier – 11:46.76
Triple Jump – No. 3 – Adrianna Mitchell – 40-6.25
Shot Put – No. 3 – Patria Vaimaona – 48-4.5

Updates to Liberty's All-Time Men's Top 10 List (Day 3)
3K – No. 5 – Nick Doan – 8:07.07
3K – No. 6 – Felix Kandie – 8:09.28
Shot Put – No. 6 – Kyle Mitchell – 57-2.25
Pole Vault – Tie for No. 8 – Anders Janes – 16-0.75

Up Next
Alejandro Perlaza Zapata will wrap up Liberty's indoor season when he competes in the men's 400 at the 2019 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. The meet will take place Friday and Saturday at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala. Perlaza Zapata's semifinals will take place Friday at 7:42 p.m. Eastern with the final set for Saturday at 6 p.m. Eastern.