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Men's Team Places 6th, Lady Flames 9th at PSU

February 6, 2010  University Park, Pa.  RSS
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Chenoa Freeman broke her own school record in the women's 400-meter dash on Saturday, clocking a 55.64.

Chenoa Freeman broke her own school record in the women's 400-meter dash on Saturday, clocking a 55.64.

Liberty's performances on Saturday at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup featured a school record, two new IC4A qualifiers and a new ECAC qualifier. Those efforts helped the Flames finish sixth and the Lady Flames end up ninth in the competitive two-day meet at Penn State's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track Facility.

Cody Fridgen (So., Sarasota, Fla.) qualified for the IC4A meet in the men's pole vault, while Evans Kigen (R-Jr., Eldoret, Kenya) did the same in the men's 3K.

The duo contributed to Liberty's final point total of 58, which placed sixth in a 12-member field, including a pair of nationally ranked squads. Princeton took home the meet title with 111 points.

On the women's side, Chenoa Freeman (Sr., Lincoln, Del.) improved her own school record in the 400-meter dash and fellow Delaware native Rebekah Ricksecker (R-Sr., Laurel, Del.) hit the ECAC qualifying standard in the mile.

Liberty finished the meet with 28 team points, which was good for ninth place out of 14 participating teams. The Lady Flames finished two spots ahead of Big South rival Coastal Carolina, who totaled 24 points. The host team, No. 8 Penn State, used a strong second day to win the women's championship with 134 points.

Men's Meet Recap
Fridgen helped Liberty score more than a quarter of its overall team points in a single event, the men's pole vault. His first-attempt clearance at a personal-best 15-9 secured fourth place, three spots behind teammate and event champion Kolby Shepherd (Jr., Dublin, Ga.). Shepherd equaled his personal best with a 16-5.25 vault, claiming his second meet championship in as many weeks.

A pair of Flames also placed in the men's triple jump, led by Clarence Powell (Jr., Marianna, Fla.). His 49-0.25 leap held up for third place, while Chris Johnson (So., Virginia Beach, Va.) landed at 45-4.25 for the eighth spot. Powell later claimed fifth place in the high jump at 6-10.25, giving him a total of 16 points on the weekend.

Rounding out the field events, Ryan Smith (R-Fr., Winder, Ga.) reached 55-9.75 with his best shot put attempt of the afternoon. The effort was good for sixth place in the meet and makes him the No. 5 shot putter in program history.

Racing for the first time since his impressive 20th-place finish at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship on Nov. 23, Kigen clocked 8:20.56 in the 3K and placed sixth. His IC4A-qualifying run ranks him No. 7 all-time in the event at Liberty.

Underclassmen stood out in the remainder of the running events. Freshman Paul Arslain (Dover, Pa.) came in sixth in the 600-meter run, in a time of 1:21.82. Redshirt sophomore Will Reeves' (Rustburg, Va.) personal-best mile time, 4:16.74, earned seventh place.

In the final event of the day, Liberty's 4 x 400 relay quartet was bookended by freshmen and finished fourth. The team of Andre Washington (Fr., Unionville, Va.), Drew Edwards (So., Anchorage, Alaska), Chris Herbst (R-Jr., Baiting Hollow, N.Y.) and Taylor Courtney (Fr., Manheim, Pa.) combined to run a 3:20.44.

Women's Meet Recap
Freeman raced to a time of 55.64 in the women's 400-meter dash, shaving six hundredths of a second off the record she had set in 2008. The fastest time in the Big South Conference this season placed the senior seventh in one of the day's most competitive events.

Freeman later joined Olivia Charnuski (So., Elmira, Ontario), Meghan Burggraf (Fr., Lynchburg, Va.) and Jaime Watson (R-Sr., Ravenna, Mich.) on the Lady Flames' fourth-place 4 x 400 relay squad. Their time of 3:47.79 makes them the third-fastest 4 x 400 relay grouping in program history.

Before the relay, Watson had fashioned one of the meet's most impressive performances. She won the 600-meter run by more than six seconds, with her hand-timed 1:28.2 clocking. The effort was likely the fastest time ever posted by a Lady Flame over that distance, but no official school records are kept for the 600 because it is so rarely contested.

Charnuski had also been successful earlier in the day, climbing to eighth place in program history after a personal-best 25.39 in the women's 200-meter dash.

Ricksecker made a successful season debut in her specialty event, the mile. She crossed the line third, stopping the clock in a personal-best 4:51.39. Not only did she meet the ECAC qualifying standard, but the redshirt senior also climbed to the top of the Big South performance list. Only 2002 national mile champion Heather (Sagan) Zealand has ever run the mile faster at Liberty.

Teammate Jennifer Klugh (So., Centerburg, Ohio) followed closely behind Ricksecker, coming in seventh. Her personal-best 4:59.50 clocking made the Buckeye State native only the fifth Lady Flame ever to run a sub-5:00 mile indoors.

Newcomer Marianne Wheeler (Jr., Wilson, Texas) highlighted the Lady Flames' field event showing on Saturday. She tied for 11th place, after sailing over the bar at 5-5. Wheeler now shares fifth place on Liberty's all-time performance list with two individuals, including her teammate Christina Mitchell (So., Monroe, Va.).

Liberty's athletes will be divided between a pair of meets next weekend. Some of the Flames and Lady Flames will compete in the final home indoor meet of the season, Friday's Liberty Quad. The one-day competition at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m., with the men's weight throw.

Other Liberty competitors will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Tyson Invitational. The prestigious two-day meet will held Friday and Saturday at the Randal Tyson Track Center, the site for the 2010 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. The first events on the docket are the women's 400 heats and the women's pole vault, both slated to begin at 1 p.m. Eastern on Friday.

Men's Team Scores (Final)
1) Princeton – 111
2) No. 14 Penn State – 83
3) Cornell - 80
4T) South Florida – 71
4T) No. 20 Auburn – 71
6) Liberty – 58
7) Buffalo – 57
8) UNC Wilmington – 34
9) Coastal Carolina – 33
10) East Carolina – 27
11) Monmouth – 25
12) Lock Haven – 9

Women's Team Scores (Final)
1) No. 8 Penn State – 134
2) No. 17 Auburn – 111
3) Cornell – 78
4) South Florida – 69
5) Buffalo – 45
6) James Madison – 39
7) East Carolina – 37
8) Princeton – 34.5
9) Liberty – 28
10) Tulane – 26
11) Coastal Carolina – 24
12) Monmouth – 19
13) West Virginia – 11.5
14) UNC Wilmington – 4