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Liberty Open to Begin Friday

January 28, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Senior Chenoa Freeman will prepare for another 400-meter dash matchup with Robin Yerkes of Roanoke College, Saturday afternoon at the Liberty Open.

Senior Chenoa Freeman will prepare for another 400-meter dash matchup with Robin Yerkes of Roanoke College, Saturday afternoon at the Liberty Open.

Performance List

Revised Time Schedule

The second of three home indoor meets on Liberty's 2009-10 track & field schedule, the Liberty Open is expected to feature some high-quality competition at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center. The opening event of the two-day meet, the women's pentathlon 60-meter hurdles, is set to get underway Friday at 3 p.m.

Liberty will host 16 collegiate teams and numerous post-collegiate athletes, featuring past Olympians, past NCAA national champions and a candidate for the 2010 Bowerman.

Just one month away from the 2010 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, the Flames and Lady Flames will get a look at some of their conference competitors this weekend. Big South members Gardner-Webb, Radford, UNC Asheville and Winthrop are all entered in the Liberty Open.

With Penn State's Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, a team-scored event, on the schedule for next weekend, Liberty head coach Brant Tolsma noted that his team will be holding back a bit, especially in the distance and multi events. However, he noted that the sprints, hurdles and field events will still feature most of Liberty's top performers.

Athletes of the Week
Liberty has already captured two Big South Track Athlete of the Week awards this season, and both honorees will be in action at the Liberty Open.

Most recently, redshirt senior Jaime Watson (Ravenna, Mich.) was tabbed Big South Women's Track Athlete of the Week on Wednesday. She has already qualified for the ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championship in four events (400, 800, 4 x 400 and 4 x 800) and helped Liberty's 4 x 800 relay quartet break the school record at last weekend's Hokie Invitational. Watson is entered in the women's 500 and 4 x 400 relay events on Saturday.

Clarence Powell (Jr., Marianna, Fla.) captured the Big South Men's Track Athlete of the Week honor on Dec. 9. He has been one of Liberty's top competitors so far this season, high jumping 7-0.25 twice and triple jumping a school-record 50-6 at the Hokie Invitational. Tolsma believes Powell is ready to jump even higher this weekend. The Sunshine State native is entered in the long jump, triple jump and high jump and will face some stiff competition.

The reigning Big South Men's Track Athlete of the Week, Radford senior Kyle Morse, will also take part in the Liberty Open. He is entered in the Saturday's first event, the men's weight throw. Start time is set for 8:30 a.m.

Jumpers Galore
Clarence Powell is just one of the standouts entered in the triple jump and high jump events at the Liberty Open. Two former NCAA national champions will join him in the men's triple jump, which is set for a 1 p.m. Saturday start. Davidson assistant coach Allen Simms won the 2003 NCAA Division I indoor triple jump crown while competing for USC, and Muhammad Halim was the 2008 NCAA Division I outdoor triple jump champion at Cornell.

At 3 p.m., the men's high jump will begin, including Powell and teammate Anthony Bryant (R-So., Charlottesville, Va.). They will compete against former teammate Matt Parker, who competed in the high jump at the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Other jumpers to watch include Virginia State's Hoova Taylor, the fourth-place high jumper at the 2009 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships, as well as Appalachian State's Darius Purcell, who captured the Southern Conference Athlete of the Week award on Jan. 21.

The women's triple jump, scheduled to begin Saturday at 9:30 a.m., also bears watching. Shakeema Welsch, the 2009 USA outdoor national champion and a two-time Olympic Trials runner-up, is expected to compete. She owns a personal best of 46-8.25, which is nearly four feet longer than the existing facility record.

Bowerman Watch
Liberty's very own candidate for the 2010 Bowerman award, redshirt junior Sam Chelanga (Nairobi, Kenya), will not compete this weekend. He is preparing to run the 5K at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games on Feb. 6, versus a talented field including Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp.
However, the Liberty Open will still include a runner currently receiving Bowerman consideration, Lynchburg College senior Ricky Flynn. The 2009 NCAA Division III national cross country champion is entered in the men's mile (Saturday, 12:40 p.m.) and 3K (Saturday, 5 p.m.) events.

Rivalry Renewed
Liberty women's indoor 400-meter school record holder Chenoa Freeman (Sr., Lincoln, Del.) will see a familiar face in her specialty event, slated to begin Saturday at 2:05 p.m. Roanoke College senior Robin Yerkes, the 2009 NCAA Division III indoor 400-meter national champion and outdoor 400-meter national runner-up, is entered in the 400 this weekend. Yerkes edged Freeman in the 400 at last season's Liberty Collegiate Invitational, before Freeman returned the favor at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier.

Keep Your Eyes Out for Olympians
A pair of past Olympians may be found on the Liberty Open start lists, including Oludamola Osayomi of Nigeria and Hector Cotto of Puerto Rico.

Osayomi, who helped Nigeria win the bronze medal in the 4 x 100 relay at the Beijing Olympics, has entered the 60 and 200-meter dash events. The 60 prelims will begin at 11:50 a.m., with the 200 to follow at 4:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Cotto competed in the men's 110-meter hurdles in Beijing. He is expected to run both the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles on Saturday. Including prelims and finals, Cotto could compete four times between 11:10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Catching Coach's Eye
Liberty junior pole vaulter Kolby Shepherd (Dublin, Ga.) has exceeded the IC4A qualifying standard (15-9) at each of this season's first two meets. However, Tolsma believes Shepherd may significantly improve upon his season-best mark of 15-9.75 this weekend.

"Kolby really looks like he's ready to go, after a great week of practice," observed Tolsma. "I'm excited to see what he's going to do."

Shepherd is one of three Flames set to compete in the men's pole vault, Saturday at 3 p.m.

2010 Liberty Open Time Schedule
Friday, Jan. 29
3 p.m. – Women's pentathlon 60 hurdles
3:15 p.m. – Men's heptathlon 60
3:30 p.m. – Women's pentathlon high jump
3:50 p.m. – Men's heptathlon long jump
4:30 p.m. – Men's heptathlon shot put
5:30 p.m. – Women's pentathlon shot put, men's heptathlon high jump
6 p.m. – Men's 4 x 800 relay
6:15 p.m. – Women's 4 x 800 relay
6:30 p.m. – Women's pentathlon long jump, men's 5K
7:05 p.m. – Women's 5K
7:30 p.m. – Women's pentathlon 800

Saturday, Jan. 30
8:30 a.m. – Men's weight throw
9:15 a.m. – Women's pole vault
9:30 a.m. – Women's triple jump, men's long jump
10:45 a.m. – Women's weight throw
11 a.m. – Women's 60 hurdles prelims
11:10 a.m. – Men's 60 hurdles prelims
11:20 a.m. – Men's heptathlon 60 hurdles
11:30 a.m. – Men's 60 prelims
11:50 a.m. – Women's 60 prelims
12:10 p.m. – Men's 60 final
12:15 p.m. – Women's 60 final, men's heptathlon pole vault
12:25 p.m. – Men's 60 hurdles final
12:35 p.m. – Women's 60 hurdles final
12:40 p.m. – Men's mile
1 p.m. – Women's long jump, women's high jump, men's triple jump, men's shot put
1:15 p.m. – Women's mile
1:45 p.m. – Men's 400
2:05 p.m. – Women's 400
2:30 p.m. – Men's 500
2:45 p.m. – Women's 500
3 p.m. – Women's shot put, men's pole vault, men's high jump, men's 800
3:20 p.m. – Women's 800
3:40 p.m. – Men's 1,000
3:50 p.m. – Women's 1,000
4 p.m. – Men's 200
4:30 p.m. – Women's 200
5 p.m. – Men's 3K
5:25 p.m. – Women's 3K
5:50 p.m. – Men's 4 x 400 relay
6:15 p.m. – Women's 4 x 400 relay
TBA – Men's heptathlon 1,000