Freshman John Talbert finished first among collegiate men's discus throwers, Friday at the Raleigh Relays.
Reigning Big South and ECAC Athlete of the Week John Talbert posted another impressive result on a wet Friday at the Raleigh Relays. He added three feet to his Liberty freshman record in the discus, placing second in the event to highlight the Flames' opening-day efforts at Paul Derr Track. The Flames and Lady Flames also notched one other runner-up finish, one new IC4A qualifier and an ECAC qualifying mark, despite some adverse weather conditions which plagued the prestigious invitational. Men's Meet Recap Talbert (Newton, Kan.) finished as the top collegiate discus thrower on Friday, defeating Duke's Michael Schalmo by more than 11 feet with his top throw of 181-9. Talbert, who ranked No. 13 nationally in the discus entering the weekend, was edged by a familiar face. Liberty assistant coach Clendon Henderson won the competition with a 185-4 heave. Liberty's other runner-up finish on day one of the Raleigh Relays also came in a field event. Only eight men's pole vaulters were able to clear the opening height, due in part to the weather. However, sophomore Kolby Shepherd (Dublin, Ga.) sailed over a season-best 15-7 on his first attempt. The clearance, just two inches off the IC4A standard, held up for second place. The men's high jump competition was also hampered, with just 13 athletes clearing a bar. Two of the 13 successful high jumpers were Liberty's Matt Parker (Sr., Rome, N.Y.) and Anthony Bryant (R-Fr., Charlottesville, Va.). Both Flames topped out at 6-8.75. Parker, who qualified for the IC4A meet for the first time this season, placed third, while Bryant was awarded the fourth spot. Parker had earlier clocked a 14.59 in the 110-meter hurdles prelims. His time was the 10th fastest of the 47 entrants and earned the Empire State native a spot in Saturday's final, scheduled for a noon start. Meanwhile, junior Josh Edmonds (Cooperstown, N.Y.) flourished in the cool, damp conditions of the evening distance session. He finished third in Section II of the men's 5,000 meters, on the strength of a personal-best 14:34.76 performance. His clocking just missed the IC4A barrier by less than a second. Women's Meet Recap Andrea Beckles (Sr., Lynchburg, Va.) qualified for the ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 100-meter dash on Friday. She won her heat with a season-best time of 11.97 seconds. The eighth-fastest clocking out of 99 entrants put Beckles into Saturday's 100-meter dash final, which is scheduled for a 12:15 p.m. start. Multi-event specialist Marie Williams (R-Sr., Tampa, Fla.) kept busy on Friday, setting season bests in all three of her events. Her most impressive effort came in the high jump, when Williams got over the bar on her third and final try at 5-5. The senior placed ninth in the event and is now tied for fourth place on Liberty's all-time performance list. Williams also participated in both the 100 and 400-meter hurdles. She finished 21st out of 73 competitors in the shorter event, crossing the line in 14.63 seconds. About three hours later, Williams posted the 19th-fastest 400-meter hurdles time, a season-best 1:03.16. Chenoa Freeman (Jr., Lincoln, Del.) was part of an enormous field of 100 competitors in the women's 400-meter dash. She posted a 56.37 to finish in 12th place. A trio of Liberty men's throwers will get Saturday's Raleigh Relays action started at 10 a.m. Talbert will compete in the hammer throw, while Ryan Bell (Fr., New Wilmington, Pa.) and Elliot Galeone (R-So., White Hall, Md.) will both begin the javelin competition at that time.