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Five Flames Earn USTFCCCA Academic Honors

July 14, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Matt Parker is one of Liberty's five USTFCCCA Men's All-Academic Track & Field Team honorees.

Matt Parker is one of Liberty's five USTFCCCA Men's All-Academic Track & Field Team honorees.

Five members of the Liberty men's track & field team—Ryan Bell, Elliot Galeone, Daniel Newell, Matt Parker and John Talbert—have been named to the 2009 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Men's All-Academic Track & Field Team. The five student-athletes were recognized on the basis of their achievements on the track and in the classroom.

Liberty was one of only 18 Division I men's track & field squads in the nation to place at least five student-athletes on the USTFCCCA All-Academic team. The Flames' student-athletes qualified by compiling a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher and meeting either the NCAA Division I outdoor regional or national qualifying standards.

Bell (New Wilmington, Pa.) posted a 3.40 grade-point average as a business major during his first year at Liberty. The Keystone State native hurled the javelin 217-10 to win the Big South title and break the school record, which had stood for 20 years. He also qualified for and competed in both the NCAA Division I East Regional Championship and the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championship at season's end.

Galeone (White Hall, Md.), a redshirt sophomore, maintains a 3.48 GPA as a kinesiology major. He returned from a redshirt season in fine fashion, placing second in the discus and third in the javelin at the Big South outdoor meet. Galeone later went on to heave the javelin a season-long 204-7 for a fifth-place showing at the IC4A meet, helping the Flames finish second in the team standings.

Newell (R-Sr., Roanoke, Va.) graduated with a 3.65 grade-point average in English and currently owns a 3.50 GPA as he pursues a master's degree in the same subject. He has garnered several academic awards during his final season with the Flames. Most recently, Newell was voted a third-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American. He was also tabbed the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year for men's indoor track & field.

On the track, Newell qualified for the decathlon at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the first time this season. He scored a career-high 7,302 points to place 16th at the meet. Earlier in the year, Newell swept the Big South and IC4A decathlon championships for the second straight season.

Parker (Sr., Rome, N.Y.), making his second consecutive appearance on the USTFCCCA All-Academic team, recently graduated with a 3.51 GPA in business. Like Newell, Parker punctuated his Liberty career with his first-ever trip to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, where he competed in the high jump. The Empire State native cleared a career-best and school-record height of 7-1 to become Liberty's first-ever IC4A high jump champion. He also played a key role in the Flames' Big South indoor and outdoor team titles this season, scoring a total of 47.25 at the two conference meets.

Talbert (Newton, Kan.), one of two Liberty freshmen to make the USTFCCCA All-Academic squad, sports a 3.50 grade-point average as a kinesiology major. Talbert was also one of only two true freshmen to compete in the men's discus at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, where he finished 23rd. The Big South Men's Freshman of the Year, Talbert won the discus and racked up 23 points at the outdoor conference meet. The Kansas native also placed second in the IC4A discus competition.