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Parker, Newell Lead LU Kickoff Heptathlon

December 3, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Matt Parker high jumped 6-11.5 to take the lead after day one of the men's heptathlon.

Matt Parker high jumped 6-11.5 to take the lead after day one of the men's heptathlon.

Liberty senior Daniel Newell is 84 points ahead of his personal-best pace in the Liberty Kickoff men's heptathlon, after Wednesday's events at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center. However, teammate and classmate Matt Parker leapfrogged Newell with a stellar performance in the high jump, claiming the day one lead, 3,029 to 2,988.

The only events on Wednesday's schedule were the first four disciplines of the heptathlon, but Parker (Rome, N.Y.) and Newell (Roanoke, Va.) put on quite a show for those in attendance.

Newell, the 2006 Liberty Kickoff heptathlon champion, paced the six competitors across the line with a 7.10 clocking in the afternoon's first event, the 60-meter dash. His effort opened up a 58-point lead over Parker, who posted a 7.27.

Parker cut into Newell's edge during the second event, the long jump. Parker's best leap of 22-5 trimmed Newell's advantage to just 18 points.

After a solid 42-2 heave in the shot put, Newell bolstered his advantage to 125 points. However, the lead was not safe when Parker reached the day's final discipline, the high jump. A two-time NCAA East Regional participant in the event, Parker was able to clear 6-11.5, taking the overall lead for the first time.

Newell's first-day point total was 2,904 when he scored a career-best 5,155 points to win the 2008 On Track Open heptathlon crown. So, with the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000-meter run remaining on Thursday, Newell has a chance to establish a new personal best.

A strong second day by either Parker or Newell could also give them a chance at provisional qualification to the 2009 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. The provisional standard is 5,300 points.

Liberty sophomore Geren Woodbridge (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.), aided by a 40-4 shot put performance, sits third after day one. His point total of 2,584 leaves the Keystone State native 157 points ahead of Radford's Kevin Richards, currently in the fourth position.

The Liberty Kickoff will resume at 11 a.m. Thursday, when the women's pentathlon competition opens with the 60-meter hurdles. The pentathlon and men's heptathlon are scheduled to wrap up by 3:30 p.m., when the men's weight throw will get underway. Track events begin at 5 p.m., with the first heat of the men's 60-meter hurdles.

Men's Heptathlon Day One Standings
1) Matt Parker, Liberty – 3,029
2) Daniel Newell, Liberty – 2,988
3) Geren Woodbridge, Liberty – 2,584

4) Kevin Richards, Radford – 2,427
5) Jeremy Snyder, Unattached – 2,402
6) Drew Edwards, Liberty – 2,331