Ryan Drew's 5K time of 13:53.30 on Saturday set an ASUN Conference all-time record. (Photo provided by Jim Daves)
A trio of Liberty athletes set records on a successful day at the Virginia Grand Prix, Saturday at Lannigan Field. Ryan Drew (13:53.30) broke the ASUN men's 5K record, Calli Doan (10:10.23) shattered her own Liberty women's steeplechase standard and Quinten Clay (24-11) took down his own Liberty freshman record in the men's long jump.
Doan and Clay won their events in the process. Liberty also posted the top collegiate performance in three additional events, including the men's 110 hurdles (Jovaine Atkinson – 13.92), men's 400 hurdles (Felix Lawrence – 52.15) and men's high jump (Clay – 6-8).
With the full field of 48 competitors per event recently reinstated to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, six Flames effectively punched their tickets to Jacksonville on Saturday. They included all three record breakers, along with Atkinson, Felix Kandie (men's steeplechase – 8:46.35) and Ally Kipchirchir (men's 800 – 1:49.67). Taylen Langin's season-best 13-0.75 pole vault clearance put her onto the NCAA East Preliminary Round bubble.
Two weeks earlier, Drew had posted a personal-best 5K time of 14:04.34 on the same track at the Virginia Challenge despite having to run much of the race alone, well ahead of the pack. He had plenty of competition this time around, as Drew was one of six runners to break 14:00.
Drew placed third overall with his time of 13:53.30 that took down the previous ASUN standard of 13:55.57 set by Northern Kentucky's JJ Webber at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 16, 2015.
Drew is the fifth Flame to break the 14:00 barrier in the 5K, indoors or outdoors. He now ranks No. 3 all-time in program history for the event, trailing only NCAA national champions Josh McDougal and Sam Chelanga. Behind Drew, freshman Kyle Harkabus posted a personal best for the second straight race, at 14:23.29.
Competing in the steeplechase for just the second time, Doan made a late-race charge to pick up the victory. She had clocked 10:25.34 two weeks earlier at the Virginia Challenge to set a school record by 10 seconds. On Saturday, the sophomore improved the record by 15 more seconds, to 10:10.23. As a result, she becomes the first Lady Flame ever to qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet in the steeplechase.
Clay's record came during only the third long jump competition of the freshman's career. He stretched the tape to 24-11 on his fifth attempt to add 7.5 inches to his previous freshman record from the Aggie Invitational on April 10.
Clay's mark ties him for third in program history with Nick Anderson and Kevin Octave and was the longest jump by a Flame since Octave's 24-11 effort at the 2005 IC4A meet. Clay had warmed up for the long jump by tying for second place in the men's high jump with a 6-8 clearance.
One of the first Flames to take the track on Saturday, Atkinson competed in his first 110 hurdles race in over a month. The indoor All-American showed few signs of rust, crossing the line in 13.92 for second place overall and first among collegiate competitors. That will qualify the redshirt senior for his third NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round appearance in the event.
Lawrence's 52.15 effort in the men's 400 hurdles just missed his personal-best 52.11 performance from the Virginia Challenge. However, it was good enough for third place overall and top collegiate entrant in the event. That pair of times this season as Lawrence looking good for an NCAA East Preliminary Round trip.
Liberty's top performance of the day from a national perspective was Kandie's 8:46.35 steeplechase, good for third place in one of the meet's deepest events. The second fastest time of the 2019 All-American's career ranks No. 14 in the NCAA this season. It was 10 seconds faster than Kandie's first steeplechase of the season, two weeks ago at the Virginia Challenge.
Liberty's indoor men's 800 record holder at 1:50.40, Kipchirchir broke 1:50 for the first time with his 1:49.67 performance on Saturday. That time sits fifth on the Flames' all-time list.
Doan was not the only member of the Liberty women's distance crew to run well on Saturday. Adelyn Ackley was the women's 5K runner-up in 16:18.36, while freshman Marie Hostetler won her heat in her collegiate 1,500 debut in a time of 4:30.62 that ranks No. 8 on Liberty's top 10 list.
Naomi Armstrong achieved personal bests and cracked the Lady Flames' all-time top 10 lists in both of her events on the day. She pole vaulted 12-0.75 (No. 7 all-time) and later dropped her 800 personal best to 2:09.62 (No. 8 all-time).
Women's Event Winners (1) Calli Doan – Steeplechase – 10:10.23
Men's Event Winners (1) Quinten Clay – Long Jump – 24-11
Other Women's Top 3 Finishers 2nd – Adelyn Ackley – 5K – 16:18.36
Other Men's Top 3 Finishers 2nd – Jovaine Atkinson – 110 Hurdles – 13.92 (1st collegiate) Tie for 2nd – Quinten Clay – High Jump – 6-8 (1st collegiate) 3rd – Ryan Drew – 5K – 13:53.30 3rd – Felix Kandie – Steeplechase – 8:46.35 3rd – Felix Lawrence – 400 Hurdles – 52.15 (1st collegiate)
Women's Record Breakers Liberty Record – Steeplechase – Calli Doan – 10:10.23 Previous Record: 10:25.34 by Doan at the Virginia Challenge on April 16
Men's Record Breakers ASUN Record – 5K – Ryan Drew – 13:53.30 Previous Record: 13:55.57 by Northern Kentucky's JJ Webber at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 16, 2015
Liberty Freshman Record – Long Jump – Quinten Clay – 24-11 Previous Record: 24-3.5 by Clay at the Aggie Invitational on April 10
Women's NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round Qualifiers Calli Doan – Steeplechase – 10:10.23
Men's NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round Qualifiers Jovaine Atkinson – 110 Hurdles – 13.92 Quinten Clay – Long Jump – 24-11 Ryan Drew – 5K – 13:53.30 Felix Kandie – Steeplechase – 8:46.35 Ally Kipchirchir – 800 – 1:49.67
Updates to Liberty's All-Time Women's Top 10 List Steeplechase – No. 1 – Calli Doan – 10:10.23 Pole Vault – No. 7 – Naomi Armstrong – 12-0.75 800 – No. 8 – Naomi Armstrong – 2:09.62 1,500 – No. 8 – Marie Hostetler – 4:30.62
Updates to Liberty's All-Time Men's Top 10 List 5K – No. 3 – Ryan Drew – 13:53.30 Long Jump – Tie for No. 3 – Quinten Clay – 24-11 800 – No. 5 – Ally Kipchirchir – 1:49.67
Up Next Liberty will return home for its first home outdoor meet in two years on Wednesday, the Liberty Twilight Qualifier. The team's seniors will be recognized at 5:15 p.m., prior to the evening session of running events. However, the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex will be closed to the public for Wednesday's meet due to COVID-19 protocols.
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