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Igberaese, Kandie, Mitchell Set for NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

June 7, 2021  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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(L-R): Chelsea Igberaese, Felix Kandie and Kyle Mitchell will compete at this week's 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.

(L-R): Chelsea Igberaese, Felix Kandie and Kyle Mitchell will compete at this week's 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Meet Schedule (Times Listed are Pacific)

Live Video Links (ESPN Networks)

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Men's Start Lists

Women's Start Lists

Eugene Weather

The Liberty trio of Chelsea Igberaese (women's discus), Felix Kandie (men's steeplechase) and Kyle Mitchell (men's shot put) will compete in the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Wednesday through Saturday at the new Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Kandie will be the first Flame in action in Oregon, competing in the men's steeplechase semifinals Wednesday at 8:32 p.m. Eastern. Liberty's other events will be contested Wednesday at 10:10 p.m. Eastern (Mitchell in men's shot put final), Friday at 8:24 p.m. Eastern (Kandie in men's steeplechase final) and Saturday at 5:35 p.m. (Igberaese in women's discus final).

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Kandie's steeplechase races will be televised live on ESPNU (Wednesday semifinals) and ESPN2 (Friday final).

Live video streaming coverage of the field events will be available on ESPN3 throughout the meet.

Live results, including throw-by-throw results in the field events, will be available, courtesy of Flash Results.

Weather Report
Eugene's weather forecast throughout the meet calls for a high temperature in the upper 60s and lower 70s each day, with a chance of rain showers on Friday and Saturday. Lows are expected to dip into the 40s and low 50s at night.

About the Facility
Hayward Field has been completely reconstructed since it played host to the 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, in preparation for next summer's World Championships.

The track & field-only stadium features 12,650 permanent seats, expandable to 25,000.

The original Hayward Field, which stood in the same location on Oregon's campus, was built in 1919. The iconic venue played host to six U.S. Olympic Trials and 16 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which took place at the original Hayward Field, also featured three Liberty competitors. That year, the Flames' qualifiers included a men's shot putter (Ryan Smith), a women's discus thrower (Mychelle Cumings) and Isaac Wendland in the men's 1,500. This year's trio of qualifiers also features a men's shot putter (Kyle Mitchell), a women's discus thrower (Chelsea Igberaese) and an athlete coached by Wendland (Felix Kandie).

NCAA Championship Event Capsules (Organized Chronologically)
Men's Steeplechase
Event Schedule: Semifinals – Wednesday at 8:32 p.m. Eastern; Final – Friday at 8:24 p.m. Eastern
Liberty Competitor: Felix Kandie (Jr., Eldoret, Kenya)
Season Best/Personal Best: 8:40.23/8:40.23
How He Got Here: Kandie earned his second trip to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships with relative ease. He placed second in his heat and second overall at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet with a Liberty and ASUN-record time of 8:40.23. Kandie previously held both records at 8:42.43, from the 2019 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.

Kandie has contested the steeplechase four times this season, beginning with a pair of races at UVA. He clocked 8:56.17 for 13th place in the Virginia Challenge on April 16 and 8:46.35 for third at the Virginia Grand Prix on May 1. Kandie also successfully defended his ASUN steeplechase title with a winning time of 9:05.46 on May 14.

Kandie's 2021 outdoor season has also featured new personal bests in the 1,500 (3:47.62 in the Liberty Twilight Qualifier on May 5) and 5K (14:07.77 at the Sound Running College Invite on April 2).

Event Breakdown: Although Kandie is coming off a career-best 8:40.23 clocking, 16 of the 24 runners who qualified to Eugene have dipped under 8:40 this season. The list is topped by ACC champion Fitsum Seyoum of Virginia Tech (8:31.23) and Ahmed Jaziri of future ASUN member Eastern Kentucky (8:32.92).

Kandie is one of eight returnees from the men's steeplechase competition at the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, where he finished one spot away from qualifying for the final in 13th for second team All-America honors. The returners are headlined by 2019 national runner-up Ryan Smeeton of Oklahoma State and third-place finisher Kigen Chemadi of Middle Tennessee, the lone runner to defeat Kandie at this year's NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.

Kandie is one of four Kenyans who qualified to Eugene in the men's steeplechase, along with Chemadi, Louisville's Albert Kosgei and Iowa State's David Too. Too and Kandie hail from the same hometown (Eldoret).

Nine steeplechase conference champions will compete in the event in Eugene.

How the Event Will Progress in Eugene: Two semifinal heats of 12 runners apiece will be contested on Wednesday. The top five finishers in each heat, along with the next two fastest time qualifiers, will advance to Friday's final. The top eight finishers on Friday will score points for their teams and earn first team All-America honors. The other four finalists along with the four fastest performers from the semifinals who do not advance to the final will be named second team All-Americans, as was the case for Kandie in 2019.

In 2019, 8:54.21 was the final time qualifier from the semifinal heats and an 8:45.40 was required to score in the final.

What's at Stake: Kandie will attempt to become the first men's steeplechase runner in Liberty or ASUN Conference history to score points and earn first team All-America honors at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

A 16th-place finish or better would make Kandie the first Liberty men's distance runner to earn multiple All-America recognitions on the track since Sam Chelanga graduated in 2011.

If Kandie runs a personal best in Eugene, he would eclipse his own Liberty and ASUN all-time steeplechase records.

Liberty's best-ever finish in this event at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships was Evans Kigen's 10th-place showing in 2008. Like Kandie, Kigen was a native of Eldoret, Kenya.

Men's Shot Put
Event Schedule: Final – Wednesday at 10:10 p.m. Eastern
Liberty Competitor: Kyle Mitchell (Jr., Kingston, Jamaica)
Season Best/Personal Best: 64-9.75 (19.75m)/64-9.75 (19.75m)
How He Got Here: Two years ago, Mitchell placed 13th in the men's shot put at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, missing national qualification by one spot and 1.25 inches.

At this year's NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, Mitchell stood in 13th place with one throw remaining. He then unleashed a 63-0 effort in round three to place sixth and punch his ticket to Eugene. Mitchell is the first Liberty men's shot putter to advance to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships since 2013 (Ryan Smith) and is the first ASUN men's shot putter to advance since 2011 (Kennesaw State's Joshua McNair).

Mitchell has broken the program record at four different meets this season, including his winning mark of 61-11.5 at the Texas Relays (March 27), a 62-11.25 effort at the Virginia Challenge (April 17) a 64-3 performance at the UNF Invitational (April 29) and his ASUN-winning effort of 64-9.75 (May 14).

This has truly been a breakthrough season for Mitchell, who entered the 2021 outdoor campaign with a lifetime best of 62-10.5. He is the only Liberty men's shot putter ever to reach 19 meters (62-4), and Mitchell has recorded 12 throws of 19 meters or longer in his last four meets.

Event Breakdown: Nine of the 24 men's shot putters in Eugene have exceeded 20 meters (65-7.5) this season, topped by 2021 NCAA indoor national champion Turner Washington of Arizona State at 21.07 meters (69-1.5). Also included among the 20-meter entrants are the national champion (Texas' Adrian Piperi) and third-place finisher (Arizona's Jordan Geist) from the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Mitchell is one of seven conference champions who will throw the shot put in Eugene. The list is headlined by the champions of the Big 12 (Piperi), Pac-12 (Geist), Big Ten (Michigan's Andrew Liskowitz) and SEC (Alabama's Isaac Odugbesan).

Mitchell, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, is one of four foreign-born entrants in Eugene, joining Odugbesan (Nigeria), North Dakota State's Kristoffer Thomsen (Denmark) and Nebraska's Burger Lambrechts Jr. (South Africa).

Track & Field News projects Washington, Piperi and Liskowitz to place 1-2-3, in that order, Wednesday evening.

How the Event Will Progress in Eugene: After each of the 24 men's shot put competitors takes three throws, the top nine will receive three more attempts apiece in the finals. The top eight finishers will score points for their respective teams and earn first team All-America honors. Placers No. 9-16 will become second team All-Americans.

In 2019, it took a shot put of 63-11.75 to reach finals and a 64-0.5 effort to score.

What's at Stake: Mitchell will aim to become the first shot put NCAA Division I All-American in Liberty and ASUN Conference history. Liberty's last men's shot put All-American was Bill Gillespie at the 1983 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The best NCAA placement by an ASUN men's shot putter is 20th place, by Kennesaw State's Joshua McNair in 2011. Liberty's best finish in this event at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships is 22nd place, by Ryan Smith in 2013.

A new personal best would break Mitchell's own program record of 64-9.75. The ASUN Conference all-time record of 65-6.75 was set by Kennesaw State's Tyler Blalock earlier this season.

Women's Discus
Event Schedule: Final – Saturday at 5:35 p.m. Eastern
Liberty Competitor: Chelsea Igberaese (Jr., Dacula, Ga.)
Season Best/Personal Best: 178-0 (54.26m)/179-6 (54.71m)
How She Got Here: Igberaese's second of three attempts at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet measured 174-11. That put her in fourth place at the end of flight two. Igberaese then had to wait more than an hour to see if she would qualify to Eugene. When the third and final flight was complete, Igberaese resided in the 12th and final qualifying position and was bound for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the second time (also 2019).

Igberaese has become consistent at throwing the discus over 170 feet in 2021, having done so at five of her last six meets. She has posted four first-place discus finishes this season, including her first ASUN title in the event.

Igberaese's year also saw her set an ASUN all-time women's hammer record (204-10) and post the No. 3 shot put mark in conference history (52-6). She competed in all three events at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.

Saturday's competition will mark her first as a 22-year-old, after Igberaese celebrates her birthday in Eugene on Tuesday.

Event Breakdown: Igberaese will face a tough task in Eugene. Her season-best mark of 178-0 from the Liberty Twilight Qualifier (May 5) ranks No. 46 nationally this season and is superior to that of only Indiana's Khayla Dawson among the event's 24 Eugene qualifiers.

Additionally, Igberaese's personal best of 179-6 from the 2019 Texas Relays is superior to only Dawson and Minnesota's Shelby Frank.

Four of the event's competitors have thrown over 60 meters (196-10) in 2021, with Arizona State's Jorinde Van Klinken reaching a world-leading 70.22 meters (230-4) last month.

Igberaese is one of nine athletes who are back from the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships women's discus competition, including 2019 national champion Laulauga Tausaga of Iowa and runner-up Shanice Love of Florida State. Track & Field News projects Tausaga and Love to finish second and third, respectively, this time around, following Van Klinken.

Igberaese is one of eight women's discus conference champions who will compete in Eugene. The list also includes Southland champion Annina Brandenburg of Abilene Christian, who was previously coached by Liberty Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Lance Bingham.

Igberaese is the only ASUN women's athlete ever to compete at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in any throwing event and has now done so twice.

How the Event Will Progress in Eugene: After each of the 24 women's discus competitors takes three throws, the top nine will receive three more attempts apiece in the finals. The top eight finishers will score points for their respective teams and earn first team All-America honors. Placers No. 9-16 will become second team All-Americans.

In 2019, it took a throw of 181-5 to reach finals and a 185-11 effort to score.

What's at Stake: The best women's discus showing in program history at this meet is 20th place, by Mychelle Cumings in 2013 and Igberaese in 2019.

Igberaese will aim to join the hammer duo of Melinda Bendik (2012) and Jocelyn Williams (2015) as the only Liberty women's throwers ever to earn NCAA Division I All-America recognition.

The last Lady Flame to either earn All-America honors or score points at this meet was Ednah Kurgat, who came in fourth in the women's 5K at the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene. No Liberty women's thrower has ever scored team points at either the NCAA Division I Indoor or Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

A new personal best would eclipse Igberaese's own school record of 179-6. With a big day, she could also take aim at the ASUN all-time record of 185-1, set by Jacksonville's Kree Clark in 2015.