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NCAA Track & Field Championship Blog: Day 2

June 11, 2009  Fayetteville, Ark.  RSS
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John Talbert, one of two true freshmen throwing the discus at the NCAA meet, will begin the prelims at 2 p.m. Eastern.

John Talbert, one of two true freshmen throwing the discus at the NCAA meet, will begin the prelims at 2 p.m. Eastern.

From the spacious press box overlooking the newly renovated John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark., will provide live updates throughout the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Please see below for other ways to follow all of the action.

Meet schedule

Live video streaming

Live results

Heat sheets

Fayetteville weather

The most recent posts will be located just below this italicized message. You may need to refresh the page periodically to view the latest updates. Feel free to email with any comments, questions or suggestions. Thanks!

11:15 p.m. - Newell has officially finished 16th (11th among U.S.-born decathletes) with 7,302 points. He closed his Liberty career with a personal best by 47 points.

Ashton Eaton scored a career-high 8,241 points, scaring the meet record and winning by nearly 200 markers. Here are the final standings.

Final Decathlon Standings
1) Ashton Eaton, Oregon - 8,241
2) Mateo Sossah, North Carolina - 8,044
3) Moritz Cleve, Kansas State - 7,937
4) Michael Ayers, Tennessee - 7,794
5) Lars Rise, Missouri - 7,776
6) Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska - 7,689
7) Trinity Otto, Texas A&M - 7,652
8) Daniel Keller, North Carolina - 7,631
16) Daniel Newell, Liberty - 7,302

With that, another enjoyable year of track & field blogging is complete. Continue to watch, though, to see how the current and former Flames fare in Eugene, Ore., in two weeks.

Thanks for all of your encouragement and your support of Liberty track & field. Go Flames!

11:07 p.m. - And here we go ... Again, Newell needs 4:36 for 7,300 points and 4:44 for a personal best.

300 meters - Newell is near the middle of the pack in 55 seconds.

700 meters - Newell sits in 12th place with two laps left, at 2:10.

Bell lap - Newell is 13th with 400 meters left, in 3:25.

Newell kicks it into high gear on the final lap. He has crossed the line in 4:36.53. That will give him a score of 7,302! Congratulations on a big PR, Dan!

10:57 p.m. - I was just asked about Newell's chances at becoming an All-American. Florida freshman Gray Horn, currently in 12th place overall, is the eighth-highest U.S.-born decathlete. His score of 6,764 puts him 164 points ahead of Newell. So, it will be tough for Newell to climb all the way up to All-American status, but a personal best is very reachable.

10:45 p.m. - Newell sits in 17th place with one event left. He has totaled exactly 6,600 points. He needs to run 4:36 for 7,300 points. Anything under 4:44 will give Newell a new personal best in his final collegiate meet. Here's how things look, with three and three-quarters revolutions around the track left tonight.

Decathlon Standings (Through Nine Events)
1) Ashton Eaton, Oregon - 7,435
2) Mateo Sossah, North Carolina - 7,236
3) Moritz Cleve, Kansas State - 7,190
4) Michael Ayers, Tennessee - 7,139
5) Trinity Otto, Texas A&M - 7,114
6) Lars Rise, Missouri - 7,110
7) Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska - 7,047
8) Kevin Dwyer, Miami (Ohio) - 6,902
17) Daniel Newell, Liberty - 6,600

Again, the 1,500 will begin at 11 p.m. I'll try to figure out how to put the men's 10K into words in the meantime.

10:35 p.m. - Looks like we will run the decathlon 1,500 at 11 p.m. The javelin just concluded.

Chelanga is now a five-time All-American, having captured three of those certificates this season. He ran a gutsy race, but Rupp is just on another level right now as the Duck closes his senior campaign.

Chelanga's third-place finish ties the best ever by a Liberty men's athlete at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Josh McDougal was third in the 10K in 2007 and Clendon Henderson placed third in the discus last season.

Rupp's 28:21.45 winning time marked only the third time in the last 16 seasons that the NCAA 10K champion has dipped under 28:30. Chelanga and Forrest set up an honest pace, and then Rupp closed with a flourish.

10:20 p.m. - We have a mile remaining, and it's still a three-man race. Chelanga leads slightly in 24:03.

With 1,200 left, the lead trio has slowed as no one wants to make the first big move. Chelanga holds the lead in 25:19.

Chelanga took off right after crossing the line with three laps left. Rupp answers best as Forrest starts to fade. The surge only lasted about 200 meters, which Chelanga covered in 31 seconds.

Forrest surges with 900 meters left, taking Rupp with him. The split is 26:22. Chelanga is a couple meters back.

Rupp starts his surge with 650 left, making a big break. The split for Rupp is 27:19. Forrest 27:22. Chelanga 27:26.

At the tape, it's all Rupp. He finishes in 28:21, waving to the crowd across the line. Forrest is second in 28:24 with Chelanga third in 28:35.40. Rupp closed the last 800 in 1:59. Amazing race for all three runners!

I'll be back with some analysis and the conclusion of the decathlon shortly.

10:14 p.m. - With two miles left, Chelanga has surged back in front with Forrest and Rupp right behind him. The split is 19:16.

At 7,200 meters, Chelanga still leads in 20:29. 73 seconds for that lap, their slowest so far. How long will Rupp sit back and wait?

With six laps remaining, Forrest and Chelanga have traded the lead again. Chelanga hits the line in 21:40.

I'll give one more update before wrapping up the race in my next post. At the 8K mark, it's Forrest who has made a little surge to the lead. The other two are still with him though. 22:48 is the split.

10:10 p.m. - Chelanga leads at 5,200 meters, which they cross in 14:36. Forrest and Rupp still sitting right behind him.

14 laps in, Chelanga still in front at 15:46. The pace has slowed a bit. It's not the coolest weather for distance running, and that may be taking its toll on the leaders after a fast early pace.

At the 6K mark, Chelanga retains the lead. The split is 16:55. Forrest and Rupp are still right behind him.

Here's what it looks like at four miles. Forrest surged down the backstretch to reclaim the advantage. Chelanga second with Rupp a close third. They will be lapping runners soon. In fact, they've already put one runner a lap down. The split is 18:04 for Forrest.

10:05 p.m. - Forrest retakes the lead to start the ninth lap, pulling Chelanga with him. They've gapped Rupp by a few meters. 9:58 is the split. They are now closer to 27:40 pace.

At the 4K mark, Forrest still leads, with Chelanga and Rupp tucked closely behind. Check that, Chelanga retakes the lead right before the line, which they cross in 11:06.

Rupp seems content to sit back and watch Chelanga and Forrest take the lead. None of the three looks extremely strained at this point. The 4,400-meter split is 12:14. They are about 200 meters ahead of the chase pack.

At three miles, Chelanga leads in 13:24. Forrest and Rupp still stalking him, in that order.

Forrest takes the lead near the line. Let's see what they split for 5K. 13:59. They have slowed down a bit.

10:01 p.m. - Forrest trades places with Chelanga on the backstretch of lap #5. Forrest's split is 5:29. Rupp still within striking distance, but the rest of the field is more than 100 meters behind Forrest and Chelanga already.

At the 2,400-meter mark, Forrest leads in 6:35 with Chelanga right behind him. Rupp's about seven meters back. They are running sub-27:30 pace right now. The meet record is 28:01, and has stood since 1979.

Seven laps in, Chelanga has reclaimed the lead. The split is 7:43. Rupp has joined the lead pack of three now.

At two miles, Chelanga, Forrest and Rupp are packed together, 1-2-3. The split is 8:52.

9:56 p.m. - Chelanga breaks right to the lead within the first 200 meters. His first split is 63 seconds, with Forrest on his tail. Rupp is fourth, about 15 meters back.

At the 800 mark, it's still Chelanga and Forrest in front at 2:10. Rupp is a clear third, 12 meters behind Forrest.

Three laps in, Chelanga still leads in 3:15. Forrest still second with Rupp gradually closing on them.

At the mile mark, Chelanga has split 4:22 with Forrest second. Rupp about eight meters back.

9:45 p.m. - Danette Doetzel of Providence wins the women's 10K in 33:25.71, making a decisive break with two laps remaining.

The second flight of decathlon javelin throwers is still completing warm-ups.

9:42 p.m. - One more name to watch in the upcoming men's 10K, in addition to Chelanga and Rupp, is that of Arkansas senior Shawn Forrest. The hometown favorite, who hails from Australia, has run a school-record 27:52 this season and was the national runner-up in 2008. He likes to push the pace early, which could work to Chelanga's advantage. Two laps remaining in the women's race.

9:40 p.m. - Newell was in 18th place before the javelin started, with 6,024 points. Here's how things looked, prior to the javelin. Flight two of the decathlon javelin has now started to warm up, as just over a mile remains in the women's 10K.

Decathlon Standings (Through Eight Events)
1) Ashton Eaton, Oregon - 6,793
2) Moritz Cleve, Kansas State - 6,538
3) Mateo Sossah, North Carolina - 6,515
4) Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska - 6,475
5) Trinity Otto, Texas A&M - 6,450
6) Michael Ayers, Tennessee - 6,435
7) Lars Rise, Missouri - 6,389
8) Kevin Dwyer, Miami (Ohio) - 6,265
18) Daniel Newell, Liberty - 6,024

9:35 p.m. - I am not sure what place Newell is in, but here are a few numbers to chew on. He is still 39 points ahead of his pace when he scored a career-best 7,255 points at the Big South meet on April 16-17. By my calculations, he will score just over 7,300 if he can run 4:36 or faster in the 1,500. His personal best is 4:33.34 from the 2007 IC4A meet, while his season best, 4:37.82, came at the Big South meet.

9:30 p.m. - Newell's third throw lands just outside the right sector line. It would have been about as long as his first javelin attempt, 161-2, which stands up as Newell's best effort. He will now get ready to run the 1,500 later tonight. I will try and find some updated scores before then.

In the meantime, we are nearing the start of the men's 10K. 10 laps remain in the women's race, currently on the track.

9:25 p.m. - No improvement on Newell's second throw, which pierces the ground at 153-0. One more throw remaining. Then, Newell will have one more extended break before running 1,500 meters.

9:18 p.m. - Daniel Newell just opened the decathlon javelin with a nice 161-2 toss. That's his second-longest effort of the year. Two more throws remaining, as there are 21 laps left in the women's 10K on the track.

9:10 p.m. - The mass exodus has begun. With only the women's and men's 10K and the last two decathlon events remaining tonight, it's just the diehard track fans and the athletes' parents left in the stands here at John McDonnell Field.

We are running a little behind schedule. So, the men's 10K may not begin until closer to 10 p.m.

The decathlon javelin is about to start. I have not seen standings through eight events yet. I will post them when I locate them.

8:50 p.m. - The variable winds which were blowing earlier today have completely died down, now that the sun has set. So, it doesn't really matter which direction they throw the javelin.

It appears that they have decided to throw from north to south (or right to left on your computer screen) though.

It has been a long day for the 22 remaining decathletes, who started the 110-meter hurdles about 6.5 hours ago. Two events still remain to be contested this evening--the javelin and the 1,500 meters.

8:45 p.m. - The decathlon pole vault just wrapped up, 204 attempts later. Looks like we will begin the javelin around 9:15, with Daniel Newell scheduled to throw first in the opening flight.

At this rate, they will run the decathlon 1,500 meters after the men's 10K (the final track race of the evening) has concluded.

8:30 p.m. - They are still pole vaulting, with Tennessee's Michael Ayers now trying to get over 16-8.75.

Big news in the last race here at John McDonnell Field. Oregon freshman Matt Centrowitz, predicted by many to win the national title in the men's 1,500, faded badly in his heat. His meet is finished, and Oregon's chances at a NCAA triple crown have been dealt a serious blow.

8:15 p.m. - The pole vault competition continues. Some decathletes have gotten over 16-0.75. That's the highest clearance I have seen so far.

Good news for us in the press box. The sun has set below the ridge to the west side of John McDonnell Field. It's not quite as beautiful as last night's unique bright orange sunset, but it's a very welcome sight nonetheless.

8 p.m. - We don't know where Daniel Newell stands in the decathlon at this point, because numerous competitors are still pole vaulting. Here are a couple things we do know, though.

1) Due to his strong start to the second day, including a personal-best time in the 110 hurdles, a season-best distance in the discus and a pole vault clearance which equaled his career high, Newell is 62 points ahead of where he was in the Big South decathlon. At that meet, Newell went on to finish with a career-best score of 7,255. So, he has a realistic chance to eclipse the 7,300-point plateau.

2) If Newell can reach 7,300 points, he would become only the fourth decathlete in Liberty's storied multi-event history to score that many points at the NCAA meet. The other three Liberty decathletes to do it were Henry Elliott, Brandon Hoskins and Ryan Werner (twice).

I don't want to place any undue pressure on Newell, but I just want to let you know what to keep an eye on during his final two events.

The longest javelin toss of Newell's career, 166-5, came during the Big South meet. So, he will need a solid performance in the javelin to stay ahead of his personal-best pace.

7:45 p.m. - Daniel Newell's third try at 14-9 looked like his best, but he could not clear the bar. So, he will top out at 14-5.25 today, which equals the highest pole vault clearance of his career.

Newell will now enjoy another extended break, as the pole vault competition continues. His next event, the ninth decathlon discipline overall, will be the javelin. Newell is listed as the first javelin thrower in the first of two flights. I will let you know when warm-ups begin for that event, as well as when updated scores are posted.

We are now two hours away from the much-anticipated men's 10K final, featuring Sam Chelanga. It has been the topic of many conversations up here in the press box the last two days. Can Chelanga win his first national title and hand Rupp his first major setback of the season? Stay tuned ...

7:40 p.m. - Newell hits the bar on his way up on attempt #2 at a new personal-best 14-9 in the pole vault. He has one try left.

7:32 p.m. - No clearance for Newell on his first jump at 14-9. Two attempts remaining.

7:30 p.m. - Newell goes over 14-5.25 with room to spare! He has equaled the highest pole vault of his career. Next up, the redshirt senior from Roanoke, Va., will try to set his fourth personal best of this meet, at 14-9.

7:25 p.m. - Newell can't get over on his second try at 14-5.25 either. So, he will take one more attempt at this bar.

7:15 p.m. - Newell is unsuccessful, after making a credible first attempt at 14-5.25. He has two tries remaining at this height.

7:03 p.m. - Newell brushed the bar pretty significantly on his first try at 14-1.25, but did not dislodge it. He has matched his season-best pole vault height and will progress to 14-5.25 in a few minutes. If he gets over that bar, Newell would equal his career high.

I didn't put on any sunscreen today, and I may pay for that mistake. The sun is glaring into the press box with full force right now. I can't complain too much, however. It's better than watching a thunderstorm for three hours!

7 p.m. - It appears that Newell has passed to the next pole vault height, 14-1.25. A clearance at this bar would equal his season best.

6:43 p.m. - Newell is over easily on attempt #2 at 13-5.25. So, he will move on to the next height, 13-9.25.

6:40 p.m. - Daniel Newell just missed on his opening height, 13-5.25. He will have two more tries at this height.

Josh McDougal finished eighth in Toronto in 14:29.

6:30 p.m. - They have now started pole vaulting, at long last. It appears that the bar on Daniel Newell's pit is currently set at 13-1.5. I have not seen him take an attempt yet, but he is getting loosened up.

It didn't look like times were very fast in the Toronto 5K, across the board. I'll try to get Josh McDougal's official result for you.

6:15 p.m. - As warmups continue for the decathlon pole vault, Charleston Southern's Dionne Gibson just clocked 24.18 for fifth place in her heat of the 200 meters. Her advancement to the next round looks unlikely as well. However, she and her teammates will compete in the women's 4 x 100 final tomorrow night on CBS College Sports.

6:10 p.m. - Big South women's 200-meter dash champion Ikeiylah Brown of Coastal Carolina just ran in the 200 heats. She placed sixth in her heat with a time of 24.19 seconds. Doesn't look like she will move on to the semis, but we'll find out shortly.

6:05 p.m. - No pole vaulting has begun yet, but I may have a bit of good news. It appears that ESPN360 will broadcast the Toronto Festival of Excellence track meet, including former Liberty standout Josh McDougal's 5K. Here's the link I'm using: ESPN360.

Josh is supposed to run in 5 minutes.

5:50 p.m. - Now, Daniel Newell is warming up at the pit down by the 200-meter dash start line. I'm confused! I think I was the one left without a chair when the musical pole vaults music stopped playing.

The decathlon discus wrapped up about 45 minutes ago, but we aren't too close to beginning the pole vault yet.

5:40 p.m. - This game of musical pole vault pits is just about complete, and a few decathletes are beginning to warm up. Now, instead of vaulting near the 200-meter dash start line, it appears that Newell will vault near the 1,500-meter start line. I haven't spotted him yet, but I have seen Minnesota's R.J. McGinnis and his distinctive cowboy hat marking out his steps on that runway.

They must be assuming that all pole vault spectators are seated in the bleachers along the backstretch, because all performance boards are now pointed in that direction. This will be difficult, but I'll do my best to keep an eye on Newell's attempts.

5:25 p.m. - As the elaborate process of changing the pole vault direction continues, here is a look at the updated decathlon standings through seven events. Daniel Newell is now in 16th place, with 5,293 points. Decathletes No. 12 through 18 are separated by only 116 points.

Ashton Eaton's lead is now 337 points over North Carolina's Mateo Sossah, a France native.

Decathlon Standings (Through Seven Events)
1) Ashton Eaton, Oregon - 6,062
2) Mateo Sossah, North Carolina - 5,725
3) Trinity Otto, Texas A&M - 5,719
4) Moritz Cleve, Kansas State - 5,689
5) Lars Rise, Missouri - 5,599
6) Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska - 5,595
7) R.J. McGinnis, Minnesota - 5,537
8) Michael Ayers, Tennessee - 5,525
16) Daniel Newell, Liberty - 5,293

5:15 p.m. - Warm-ups for the decathlon pole vault are being delayed a bit. They had two pits all set up for the jumpers to compete from south to north (or left to right on your computer screen). Now, it appears the wind has reversed direction. So, an army of workers is scurrying to change the pits to a north to south setup. I'll be back with an update when they are finally ready to begin vaulting.

5:05 p.m. - They just finished the decathlon discus. So, warm-ups will begin for the pole vault shortly. This event may be a bit tougher for me to follow, as the pole vault pits are located across the infield, beside the backstretch of the track. Daniel Newell is listed in flight two, but both flights will go off simultaneously. It appears that Newell will compete at the southernmost pit, situated near the start of the 200-meter dash.

Newell's personal best is 14-5.25, set at the 2008 Big South meet. His highest clearance of 2009 is a 14-1.25 effort at the IC4A championship. Newell has recorded season bests in each of today's first two events and looks to continue the trend here.

4:40 p.m. - After enjoying a nice (and unusually healthy) meal courtesy of Charlie's Chicken, I'm back with you. The lights are now illuminated here at John McDonnell Field, as we alternate between sunlight and cloud cover.

Action continues in flight two of the men's discus. All throwers in this flight have two attempts remaining, before we progress to the pole vault.

In five minutes, we will begin the men's long jump final, women's long jump final and women's shot put final.

The hurdles are set up for the start of tonight's running events, at 5:30 p.m.

We just heard a beautiful rendition of the national anthem, which means we're ready for the main part of the Thursday program.

No rain is visible on the radar at this point, which is a welcome sight after last night's lengthy delay. It will already be a long day at the hotel for Sam Chelanga, anticipating tonight's 10K final.

3:50 p.m. - No improvement for Newell on his final discus heave. It reaches 116-10. So, he will end up with a season-best 118-7 in this event, which currently ranks him ninth in the first flight.

Newell will get an extended break before his next discipline, the pole vault, because they will not start that event until the second flight has completed the discus.

While you're waiting for the pole vault to start, here's a short video posted of the orange sky in Fayetteville I referenced in yesterday's blog. No, I wasn't one of the crazy media members who ventured outside to take pictures of it.

3:40 p.m. - Newell improves to 118-7 on his second attempt. That is his best throw of the season, improving upon his mark from the Big South decathlon by seven inches. He will have one attempt remaining.

3:30 p.m. - Daniel Newell's first discus throw lands at 113-4. A solid opening attempt for him.

3:10 p.m. - The men's discus results have been tabulated, and John Talbert finished 23rd. The Big South Men's Freshman of the Year placed third among freshmen in this meet.

California senior Martin Maric was the only 200-footer today. He led the way with a 201-10 heave on his second attempt.

2:55 p.m. - Daniel Newell is indeed 15th through six events, with 4,706 points. He is only 53 points out of 11th, as decathletes No. 11 through 17 are separated by only 99 points.

Atop the standings, Ashton Eaton continues to put on a clinic. His score of 5,361 leads Kansas State's Moritz Cleve by 312 points.

Decathlon Standings (Through Six Events)
1) Ashton Eaton, Oregon - 5,361
2) Moritz Cleve, Kansas State - 5,049
3) Trinity Otto, Texas A&M - 5,023
4) Mateo Sossah, North Carolina - 5,011
5) Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska - 4,960
6) Michael Ayers, Tennessee - 4,894
7) Gray Horn, Florida - 4,854
8) R.J. McGinnis, Minnesota - 4,850
15) Daniel Newell, Liberty - 4,706

The decathlon discus is slated to begin at 3:20 p.m., with Newell entered in the first of two flights. He will throw in the same ring where John Talbert competed a bit earlier this afternoon.

Newell's season-best discus is 118-0, achieved at the Big South meet on April 17. His career-best toss is 122-10, which he accomplished at the 2007 IC4A championship.

I will be back shortly, with throw-by-throw analysis of Newell's three discus attempts.

One more quick note: Newell now ranks 11th among U.S.-born decathletes in this competition. Northern Iowa's Mat Clark currently holds the final All-America spot, 34 points ahead of Newell.

2:50 p.m. - We have one event down and four remaining on day two of the decathlon. Here's how it unfolded. Note: Due to several decathletes dropping out of the competition yesterday, they reseeded the heats.

Heat 1 - Aided by a 2.0 m/s tailwind, Nathan Capps of Idaho State wins in 14.71 seconds.

Heat 2 - Running into a 1.3 m/s headwind, Oregon star Ashton Eaton flies to a time of 13.85. The defending national champion will certainly increase his sizable lead in the overall standings. That's the No. 7 time in Oregon school history!

Heat 3 - Akron's Dan Kinsey wins the heat in 15.72. Again, there is a 1.3 m/s headwind in his face.

Heat 4 - For the second time in four heats, Oregon wins. Marshall Ackley clocks a personal-best 14.93, with a 0.1 m/s tailwind.

Heat 5 - Mateo Sossah of North Carolina makes a strong charge at the end to post a 14.62 and win the heat. The tailwind was measured at 0.4 m/s.

Heat 6 - Daniel Newell runs a personal-best 15.31 to win the heat. He was helped along by a 2.4 m/s tailwind, as the redshirt senior trimmed 0.13 seconds off of his previous best.

I'll be back with updated point totals shortly. It appears that Newell will be in 15th place, heading to the discus circle.

2:15 p.m. - The first two throwers in the second flight--Virginia senior Yemi Ayeni and California senior Martin Maric--both reached 189-11 or longer. So, Talbert's exceptional freshman season is officially complete.

That also means that Liberty will not have any competitors on the final two days of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. All the Flames have left are Daniel Newell in the decathlon and Sam Chelanga in the 10K, both of which will be completed later tonight.

Newell will begin day two of the decathlon in 15 minutes, with the 110-meter hurdles. He is entered in the sixth of seven heats, in lane 6. It appears that he will have a tailwind again today, which will hopefully help Newell improve upon his personal best of 15.44.

2 p.m. - If anyone is interested in checking out the results of Josh McDougal's 5K for themselves, I just found the live results page. Click here to see live results from the Festival of Excellence.

You may have heard of another Festival of Excellence participant, in addition to Josh McDougal. Jamaica's Usain Bolt, the sprinting star of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will run the 100-meter dash to close out the meet at 8:21 p.m.

1:55 p.m. - As I await the start of the second flight of the men's discus, please allow me to pass along some Liberty alumni news I was just reminded of.

Liberty graduate assistant coach and 14-time All-American Josh McDougal is in the midst of a comeback, after an injury which sidelined him from competition for more than a year. Competing professionally for Nike, McDougal clocked 4:08 in a mile race in New Jersey on Saturday. Tonight at 7:10 p.m., he will compete against a star-studded 5K field at the inaugural Festival of Excellence in Toronto. Click here to view the meet website.

If I can track down Josh's result tonight, I will post it in this blog. Best of luck, Josh!

1:35 p.m. - The first flight of the discus is complete, and John Talbert ranks 11th. So, if two throwers from flight two heave the discus longer than 174-2, Talbert will be eliminated.

Rashaud Scott flirted with the right sector line on his third attempt, but kept it in bounds and moved into first place at 193-8. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Hickel Woolery is currently second at 193-2 and Arizona State's Ryan Whiting ranks third at 190-11.

I will watch flight two, which is currently warming up, and see if any throwers exceed 174-2.

1:25 p.m. - Talbert makes a slight improvement on his third attempt, to 174-2. He is currently in ninth place in the flight. Notably, he is ahead of defending national champion Rashaud Scott of Kentucky at this point, with one attempt remaining for Scott.

1:15 p.m. - Talbert's second throw reaches 172-11. He will need an improvement on attempt #3, because he currently sits in 10th place in the opening flight.

1:05 p.m. - Talbert fouls his first discus attempt. He will have two tries remaining. No super-long distances so far, but we have a lot of throwing ahead of us.

12:55 p.m. - John Talbert will be the second thrower in the first flight of the men's discus prelims, which will take place on the infield in five minutes. If he can reach 196-10 (which would be a personal best by more than five feet), he will automatically qualify for the final. Otherwise, we will have to see if the longest of Talbert's three attempts ranks in the top 12 among the 26 competitors.

The defending national champion is Rashaud Scott of Kentucky, who will also throw in the first flight with Talbert. The discuses will be flying through the air from right to left on your computer screen. An automatic qualifying throw would land right around the circular NCAA logo located around the middle of the infield.

We'll keep you posted on how it all pans out. Stay tuned!

12:30 p.m. Central – Welcome back to Fayetteville, Arkansas! It was a late night last night, but action is already back in full swing here at John McDonnell Field, on day two of the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Three Liberty Flames will compete today. Before previewing their events, let me catch you up on a couple of results which took place after Matt Parker finished high jumping, just before 11 p.m. local time.

At 11:30 p.m. last night, VMI senior Donnie Cowart (who was coached by Liberty track & field alum Gerald Mosley at Rustburg High School) clocked a personal-best time of 8:44.66 to qualify for Friday's 3,000-meter steeplechase final. His time was less than one second away from Evans Kigen's Big South record, 8:43.77, achieved at the 2008 NCAA meet. For those of you wondering about him, Kigen is currently redshirting and plans to rejoin the Liberty cross country team in the fall.

The final event of the evening (morning??), the men's 5K prelims, got started at 12:40 a.m. Running in the first heat, Oregon senior Galen Rupp comfortably qualified for Friday's final with a 13:59.26. He will have less than 21 hours to rest, before facing a talented field including Liberty's Sam Chelanga and Arkansas' Shawn Forrest in the 10K final, tonight at 9:45 p.m.

As one of my faithful blog readers reminded me last night, Rupp will have considerably more recovery time than Liberty's 14-time All-American Josh McDougal did at the IC4A meet on May 11, 2007. That evening, McDougal defeated Chelanga, then a freshman at Fairleigh-Dickinson, in the 5K. About 30 minutes later, McDougal returned to the track to capture the 10K title, completing an unprecedented performance.

The weather forecast is about the same as yesterday, with high temperatures rising into the 80s and a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening.

Freshman John Talbert will be the first Flame to get started today, as he begins competition in the discus prelims at 1 p.m. He will attempt to be one of the top 12 throwers and qualify for Saturday morning's final.

At 2:30 p.m., Daniel Newell will begin the decathlon's second day with the 110-meter hurdles. He recorded personal-best times in both the 100 (wind-aided 10.74) and 400 (48.87) yesterday and currently sits in 14th place with 3,894 points. Newell is well within striking distance of eclipsing his best-ever score of 7,255 and becoming Liberty's eighth decathlon All-American.

Finally, in one of the most anticipated races at this meet, Sam Chelanga will tangle with Oregon's Galen Rupp and hometown favorite Shawn Forrest of Arkansas in the men's 10K final. The gun is slated to go off at 9:45 p.m. Chelanga, a four-time All-American will attempt to capture his first national title, while Rupp goes for his fifth national championship this year.

I'll be here to keep you updated on all of the Flames' results throughout the day and night. I will also keep an eye on the women's 200-meter dash heats at 6:10 p.m., which include Charleston Southern's Dionne Gibson and Coastal Carolina's Ikeiylah Brown.

Thanks for all of the great feedback and questions you submitted yesterday. Keep it coming! My email address is found toward the top of this page, in italics. Go Flames!