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Liberty Track Headed Back to UVA

April 25, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Michael Todd

Michael Todd

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For the second straight weekend, Liberty will compete at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville, Va. This week's competition will be the Virginia Grand Prix, with events slated for Friday and Saturday.

The Flames' next-to-last regular-season event will begin Friday at 5 p.m. with the men's and women's long jump. Most of the events are set for Saturday, starting with the women's hammer at 11:30 a.m.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available throughout the Virginia Grand Prix, courtesy of Flash Results.

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

Weather Report
Friday's forecast for Charlottesville calls for a high around 70 degrees and thunderstorms, which should be departing the area around the time the meet is scheduled to begin.

On Saturday, the weather forecast looks ideal, with sunny skies and a high in the low 70s.

Scouting the Competition
The Virginia Grand Prix is a much smaller meet than last week's Virginia Challenge. However, the Flames should still face some strong competition from a field including Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech among other colleges and universities.

Looking Back
Liberty set a pair of school records at the 2018 Virginia Grand Prix, including the women's hammer (Dasiana Larson – 204-4) and men's 800 (Colin Schultz – 1:48.96).

The Flames posted four first-place finishes during the one-day meet, including current Flame Nick Doan's men's steeplechase triumph.

Long Jump Renaissance
The long jump has been one of Liberty's most improved events in 2019. During the indoor season, Branson Rolle won the Flames' first-ever ASUN event title (men's long jump) and Makenzy Mizera broke the women's long jump school record which had stood since 1985.

Outdoors, Mizera is one of seven Lady Flames to long jump 18 feet or longer this season, joining Hannah Andrews, Fiona Barnes, Jamie Gray, Adrianna Mitchell, Kylie Polsgrove and Alexis Rolan. That equals the number of Lady Flames who long jumped 18 feet during the previous four outdoor seasons (2015-18) combined.

Mizera, the two-time defending ASUN Women's Freshman of the Week, reached a season-best 19-0.5 at the Gamecock Invitational on April 13. That was the longest outdoor jump by a Lady Flame since 2006.

Last week, Jeremy Davis long jumped 23-7.5 during the Virginia Challenge decathlon, the best effort by a Liberty men's long jumper since 2017 and the top mark in the ASUN this season. Two years ago at the Virginia Grand Prix, Brad Smalley reached a Liberty freshman-record 23-11.75.

The long jump will be featured among Friday's limited schedule of events in Charlottesville, with Mizera and Davis headlining the Flames' list of entrants.

Among the Nation's Best
Eight Liberty athletes rank among the nation's top 50 performers in their respective events, topped by senior Alejandro Perlaza Zapata's No. 7 ranking in the men's 400.

No. 7 – Alejandro Perlaza Zapata – Men's 400 – 45.79
No. 21 – Denzel Pratt – Men's Javelin – 227-1
No. 23 – Chelsea Igberaese – Women's Discus – 179-6
No. 26 – Kylie Polsgrove – Women's Heptathlon – 5,333
No. 35 – Kyle Mitchell – Men's Shot Put – 61-2.75
No. 36 – Felix Kandie – Men's Steeplechase – 8:55.06
No. 39 – Naomi Mojica – Women's Shot Put – 52-3.75
No. 41 – Noel Palmer – Women's 10K – 33:56.67

Atop the ASUN
Two weeks before the 2019 ASUN Outdoor Track & Field Championships (May 10-11), Liberty athletes rank No. 1 in the ASUN Conference in 20 different events.

Men's 100 – Elijah Pierson (10.64)
Men's 200 – Elijah Pierson (21.25)
Men's 400 – Alejandro Perlaza Zapata (45.79)
Men's 10K – Azaria Kirwa (29:22.05)
Men's Steeplechase – Felix Kandie (8:55.06)
Men's 4 x 400 – Perlaza Zapata, Todd, Kipchirchir, Durham (3:11.42)
Men's Pole Vault – Anders Janes (16-7.5)
Men's Long Jump – Jeremy Davis (23-7.5)
Men's Shot Put – Kyle Mitchell (61-2.75)
Men's Javelin – Denzel Pratt (227-1)

Women's 800 – Delaney McDowell (2:06.70)
Women's 1,500 – Delaney McDowell (4:29.99)
Women's 10K – Noel Palmer (33:56.67)
Women's 400 Hurdles – Kylie Polsgrove (1:01.09)
Women's 4 x 400 – Ealum, Dansbury, McDowell, Dowling (3:38.67)
Women's Triple Jump – Adrianna Mitchell (40-9)
Women's Shot Put – Naomi Mojica (52-3.75)
Women's Discus – Chelsea Igberaese (179-6)
Women's Hammer – Chelsea Igberaese (181-7)
Women's Javelin – Paige Demetriades (136-1)

Punching Tickets to Jacksonville
The 2019 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will be contested at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., May 23-25. The East Region's top 48 performers in each individual event (other than the heptathlon and decathlon) and top 24 teams in each relay will compete at the meet, looking to qualify for the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

At this stage of the season, a dozen Liberty athletes appear to have punched their tickets to compete in Jacksonville, based upon previous seasons' qualifying requirements. They include the following athletes:

Jose Ballivian – Men's Shot Put
Nick Doan – Men's Steeplechase
Anders Janes – Men's Pole Vault
Felix Kandie – Men's Steeplechase
Azaria Kirwa – Men's 5K & 10K
Kyle Mitchell – Men's Shot Put
Alejandro Perlaza Zapata – Men's 400
Denzel Pratt – Men's Javelin

Chelsea Igberaese – Women's Discus
Delaney McDowell – Women's 800
Naomi Mojica – Women's Shot Put
Noel Palmer – Women's 10K

On the Bubble
A number of Flames and Lady Flames currently rank among the East Region's top 48 performers but will likely need to improve their marks in order to qualify for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. These include the following athletes:

Jose Ballivian – Men's Discus
Michael Todd – Men's 800

Ty'Asia Dansbury – Women's 400
Cortney Dowling – Women's 400
Chelsea Igberaese – Women's Shot Put
Taylen Langin – Women's Pole Vault
Adrianna Mitchell – Women's Triple Jump

With only three opportunities remaining to punch NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round tickets (Virginia Grand Prix, Liberty Twilight Qualifier and ASUN Championships), all of the above athletes will be competing in these events this weekend except Dansbury. The sophomore will step down in distance to the 100-meter dash on Saturday.

Up Next
Liberty will close out its regular season by hosting the Liberty Twilight Qualifier, Wednesday at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex. Field events will begin at 11:30 a.m., running events will get started at 1:45 p.m. and the team's seniors will be honored on the track at 5:15 p.m.