Ryan Drew won his second straight ASUN men's 3K title on Friday.
Host Liberty enjoyed a successful opening day of the 2021 ASUN Indoor Track & Field Championships, Friday at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex. The Flames and Lady Flames both top the team standings after a day where Liberty won six of 11 events contested while setting multiple records.
The Lady Flames tallied 68 points during Friday's five women's events, putting them 19 points in front of second-place Kennesaw State. Liberty got victories from Ayanna Johnson (long jump), Naomi Mojica (shot put) and the distance medley relay quartet of Naomi Armstrong, Megan Hinzman, Itzel Santos and Calli Doan.
The Liberty men's squad owns a 91-63 advantage over Kennesaw State through six of 17 men's events. The Flames were also victorious in three different events, including the long jump (Quinten Clay), 3K (Ryan Drew) and distance medley relay (Noah Tindale, Michael Rose, Tyler Modrzejewski, Ally Kipchirchir).
Women's Day One Recap Mojica successfully became the first women's shot putter ever to win three straight ASUN indoor titles. The senior from Mexico did so in resounding and record-breaking fashion, as her indoor personal-best mark of 51-5 outdistanced the runner-up (teammate Chelsea Igberaese, 48-2) by more than three feet. In the process, Mojica improved upon her own meet and ASUN all-time conference records.
Also winning for the third year in a row was the Lady Flames' distance medley relay squad (11:41.12), and Armstrong and Doan have now bookended all three of those winning teams. Doan had to chase down Kennesaw State anchor Rachel Van Amburgh after receiving the baton more than eight seconds behind. She made up the ground and then some with a sterling 4:47.06 split which made the Lady Flames the first ASUN team to win three consecutive women's distance medley relay crowns.
The Lady Flames broke the program record of 11:42.29 which had been set at the 2019 ASUN Championship. The first three splits included 3:34.62 for Armstrong, 57.02 for Hinzman and 2:22.42 for Santos.
Johnson posted one of Liberty's most amazing performances of the day, impressively stepping up in the absence of her teammate, defending ASUN women's long jump champion Makenzy Mizera. Johnson equaled Mizera's program record of 19-4.75 during round three to take top honors in the event. Prior to Friday, the senior had never recorded a top-three ASUN finish and owned an indoor personal-best of just 18-2.5.
The Lady Flames very nearly won a fourth event on Friday, but freshman Meredith Engle finished just three points behind pentathlon champion Anna Richardson of Lipscomb with 3,559 points. Aided by big personal-best marks in the 60 hurdles (9.34), high jump (5-5) and shot put (38-9.5), Engle shattered the Liberty freshman record of 3,465, set by Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Danielle McNaney at the 2002 ECAC Championship.
A program freshman record also went down in the women's 3K, thanks to Marie Hostetler's 9:41.80 effort for third place in her collegiate 3K debut. She improved upon Anna Van Wyk's 9:43.63 performance in 2017 and finished just behind teammate Priscillah Kiplagat, who clocked a personal-best 9:40.42 for second.
Liberty put four runners into Saturday's women's 60 dash final, paced by No. 1 qualifier Abby Pantlitz (season-best 7.64) and Johnson, whose 7.67 demolished her previous best of 7.87 and earned her a spot in Liberty's all-time top 10.
Men's Day One Recap Drew pulled away during the latter stages of the men's 3K to win the 15-lap event for the second consecutive year with a personal-best time of 8:13.56. He becomes the first Flame to win back-to-back conference 3K titles since Josh McDougal won four Big South crowns in a row between 2005 and 2008. Drew just missed the meet record (8:12.82) in a race which saw teammate Joe Spitzer cross the line in third (8:25.19) for his first career All-ASUN medal.
For the third year in a row, Liberty won an unlikely ASUN men's long jump title. On the very first long jump attempt of his collegiate career, Clay stretched the tape to 23-7.5, a mark which held up for a first-place finish.
Clay later high jumped 6-7 for third place, finishing one spot and two inches behind freshman teammate Gabriel Willis in the event.
Tindale, Rose, Modrzejewski and Kipchirchir teamed up for Liberty's first conference men's distance medley relay crown since 2010, when Sam Chelanga anchored the Flames to a Big South triumph. The Flames clocked 10:24.61 on Friday, seizing the lead for good during Modrzejewski's 800-meter split of 1:55.56. Rose also contributed a strong 48.67-second 400 split before handing off to Modrzejewski.
Kyle Mitchell came one centimeter away from defending his men's shot put title from 2020. His sixth and final attempt measured a season-best 60-10.5, just off the winning mark of 60-10.75 put up by Kennesaw State's Tyler Blalock. Fellow Flames Warren Barrett (60-4.5) and Jose Ballivian (59-6.75) followed in third and fourth places, respectively, with each recording new personal bests.
It took a meet record (17-1 by Kennesaw State's Jack Rhea) to keep Anders Janes from winning his first ASUN indoor pole vault title. Janes made it over an indoor personal-best 16-7.25 to nab second place.
Liberty boasts four of the top five qualifiers to Saturday's men's 60 hurdles final, paced by Juan Pablo Germain Ronco (season-best 8.02), and put three runners into the 60 dash final.
Competing in the first four of his seven events on the day, redshirt freshman Anthony Bryan totaled 2,823 points in the heptathlon. That puts him just 62 points behind Kennesaw State's Quann Shears entering Saturday's trio of events.
Women's Team Scores (Through 5 of 17 Events) 1) Liberty – 68 2) Kennesaw State – 49 3) Lipscomb – 29 4) Bellarmine – 6
Men's Team Scores (Through 6 of 17 Events) 1) Liberty – 91 2) Kennesaw State – 63 3) Lipscomb – 21 4) Bellarmine – 8
Women's ASUN Champions Ayanna Johnson – Long Jump – 19-4.75 Naomi Mojica – Shot Put – 51-5 Naomi Armstrong, Megan Hinzman, Itzel Santos, Calli Doan – Distance Medley Relay – 11:41.12
Men's ASUN Champions Quinten Clay – Long Jump – 23-7.5 Ryan Drew – 3K – 8:13.56 Noah Tindale, Michael Rose, Tyler Modrzejewski, Ally Kipchirchir – Distance Medley Relay – 10:24.61
Other Women's Top 3 Finishers 2nd – Meredith Engle – Pentathlon – 3,559 2nd – Chelsea Igberaese – Shot Put – 48-2 2nd – Priscillah Kiplagat – 3K – 9:40.42 3rd – Marie Hostetler – 3K – 9:41.80
Other Men's Top 3 Finishers 2nd – Anders Janes – Pole Vault – 16-7.25 2nd – Kyle Mitchell – Shot Put – 60-10.5 2nd – Gabriel Willis – High Jump – 6-9 3rd – Warren Barrett – Shot Put – 60-4.5 3rd – Quinten Clay – High Jump – 6-7 3rd – Joe Spitzer – 3K – 8:25.19 Tie for 3rd – Luke Lombardi – Pole Vault – 14-7.5
Women's Record Breakers ASUN All-Time Record – Shot Put – Naomi Mojica – 51-5 Previous Record: 51-0.25 by Mojica on Feb. 13 at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational
Meet Record – Shot Put – Naomi Mojica – 51-5 Previous Record: 50-4 by Mojica in 2020
School Record – DMR – Armstrong, Hinzman, Santos, Doan – 11:41.12 Previous Record: 11:42.29 by Naomi Armstrong, Tanner Ealum, Delaney McDowell and Calli Doan at the 2019 ASUN Championship
School Record – Long Jump – Ayanna Johnson – 19-4.75 Shared Record: 19-4.75 by Makenzy Mizera on Feb. 1, 2020 at Liberty
Liberty Freshman Record – Pentathlon – Meredith Engle – 3,559 Previous Record: 3,465 by Danielle McNaney at the 2002 ECAC Championship
Liberty Freshman Record – 3K – Marie Hostetler – 9:41.80 Previous Record: 9:43.63 by Anna Van Wyk on Feb. 4, 2017 at Penn State
Updates to Liberty's All-Time Women's Top 10 List DMR – No. 1 – Armstrong, Hinzman, Santos, Doan – 11:41.12 Long Jump – Tie for No. 1 – Ayanna Johnson – 19-4.75 Shot Put – No. 2 – Naomi Mojica – 51-5 3K – No. 4 – Priscillah Kiplagat – 9:40.42 3K – No. 5 – Marie Hostetler – 9:41.80 Pentathlon – No. 9 – Meredith Engle – 3,559 60 – No. 9 – Ayanna Johnson – 7.67
Updates to Liberty's All-Time Men's Top 10 List Shot Put – No. 3 – Warren Barrett – 60-4.5 Shot Put – No. 5 – Jose Ballivian – 59-6.75 Pole Vault – No. 6 – Anders Janes – 16-7.25 60 – No. 7 – Diamantae Griffin – 6.87 3K – No. 7 – Ryan Drew – 8:13.56
Up Next The second and final day of the 2021 ASUN Track & Field Championships will begin Saturday at 9:45 a.m. with the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles.