Scores & Schedule Close keyboard_arrow_down

Team News

Flames Win 14 Events at Liberty Quad

February 12, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
|   Share
Jacey Bailey won all three events he entered on Friday, taking Liberty Quad titles in the men's 60, 200 and 4 x 400 relay.

Jacey Bailey won all three events he entered on Friday, taking Liberty Quad titles in the men's 60, 200 and 4 x 400 relay.

Liberty won the first event (men's weight throw), the last event (women's 3K) and a dozen events in between, Friday evening at the final home meet of the 2009-10 indoor track & field season, the Liberty Quad. The Flames' individual standouts at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center included triple event winner Jacey Bailey and junior pole vaulter Kolby Shepherd.

Bailey (Jr., Tamarac, Fla.) was victorious in the men's 60, 200 and 4 x 400 relay, while classmate Shepherd (Dublin, Ga.) stole the show on the pole vault runway with a personal-best 16-8.75 clearance. Their efforts highlighted an exciting five and a half hours of action, as Liberty competed against local rivals Elon, James Madison, VMI and William & Mary in its final tune-up for the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships.

The lone alteration to the facility record book came in the men's high jump. Former Liberty standout Matt Parker equaled the Tolsma Indoor Track Center record for the second time in 14 days, clearing 7-0.5 to win the event.

Men's Meet Recap
Bailey has found this low-key meet to his liking throughout his collegiate career. He clocked his two fastest 60-meter dash times of the season, 6.95 in the prelims and 6.96 in the final, on Friday, winning the event for the third consecutive season at the Liberty Quad. The Sunshine State native also ran the 200-meter dash for the first time this season and won by nearly a full second at 22.37 seconds.

Finishing second behind Bailey in both races was freshman Roderick Spruel (Fredericksburg, Va.), who posted a 7.05 in the 60 and a 23.28 in the 200.

Bailey later teamed up with Andre Washington (Fr., Unionville, Va.), Drew Edwards (So., Anchorage, Alaska) and Taylor Courtney (Fr., Manheim, Pa.) to capture the 4 x 400 relay crown in a time of 3:26.77.

Shepherd has now won his specialty event at the Liberty Quad three years in a row as well, after adding 3.5 inches to his previous indoor pole vault personal best. The two-time defending Big South indoor pole vault titlist led a 1-2-3 sweep for the Flames in the event. Cody Fridgen (So., Sarasota, Fla.) got over 15-9 for the second straight meet to take runner-up honors, and Justin Savini's (Sr., Lincoln, Del.) 15-3 clearance netted third place.

Bailey was not Liberty's only multiple event champion on the men's side, as redshirt freshman Ryan Smith (Winder, Ga.) took both throwing event titles. He started his day in dramatic fashion, unleashing a personal-best 55-0 weight throw on his sixth and final attempt to claim first-place honors. The shot put was not nearly as competitive, with Smith's 55-6.25 heave leading his nearest competitor by more than six feet.

The Flames won both horizontal jumping events, and it was freshmen who led the way both times. Kevin Reddington (Vancouver, Wash.) reached out to 23-0 on his winning long jump, exceeding the seven-meter plateau for the second time this season. Fellow rookie Cameron French (Culpeper, Va.) used a season-best 44-2 triple jump to win his event.

Sophomore Kyle Powers (Waterford, Vt.) was Liberty's final men's event titlist, dominating the 5K Friday evening. His winning time of 15:27.51 gave him a cushion of more than 21 seconds over the race runner-up.

Liberty also accounted for five other runner-up finishes, including a pair by Tashan Duff (So., Chester, Va.). He triple jumped 42-0.75 for second place and shared the second spot with a 6-2.75 high jump. Meanwhile, Oronde Vassell (R-Sr., Brooklyn, N.Y.) long jumped a season-best 22-9 for runner-up honors.

In the men's running events, Chris Herbst (R-Jr., Baiting Hollow, N.Y.) could not quite defend his 60-meter hurdles title from the 2009 Liberty Quad, crossing the line second in 8.55 seconds. Meanwhile, Washington's 50.42 clocking in the 400-meter dash put him in the runner-up position.

Women's Meet Recap
Meghan Burggraf (Fr., Lynchburg, Va.) was involved in two of the Lady Flames' five event victories on Friday, after running a strong pair of 400s. Making her collegiate debut in the two-lap event, Burggraf held off teammate Mia Aghaji (R-So., Chester, Va.) to claim the open 400 title in 59.21 seconds. Aghaji followed in 1:00.72.

The duo later ran the middle two legs of Liberty's victorious 4 x 400 relay quartet. Brittany Heath (Sr., Freeport, Grand Bahamas) and Melanie Sims (So., Cleveland Heights, Ohio) comprised the rest of the squad which fought off Elon by 1.94 seconds in 4:03.49.

Rachel Houseknecht (Jr., Hughesville, Pa.) led the way in a sterling Liberty 1-2 finish in the women's 60-meter hurdles, and was followed closely by classmate Krystle Matthews (Chesapeake, Va.). The pair became the seventh and eighth 60-meter hurdlers in program history to dip below nine seconds. Houseknecht's winning time of 8.87 puts her No. 6 all-time at Liberty, while Matthews now ranks No. 8 at 8.99.

Juniors were responsible for Liberty's other two event championships as well, as Dacia Bushman's (Castalia, Iowa) 10:40.74 made her a clear winner in the 3K and Marianne Wheeler's (Wilson, Texas) 5-3 high jump paced the field.

The Lady Flames also tallied seven additional runner-up finishes during the meet, including a quartet in the field disciplines. Melinda Bendik (Jr., Odessa, Texas) added almost two feet to her previous best in the weight throw at 51-11.25. Matthews also notched a season best by long jumping 17-8. Shelley Parker's (Fr., Lynchburg, Va.) 11-3.75 pole vault clearance and Laura Haugland's (So., Park Rapids, Minn.) success at 5-1 in the high jump also earned runner-up placing in their respective events.

Sims ended up second overall and first among collegiate performers in the women's 60-meter dash, stopping the clock in 7.99 seconds. Aghaji did the same in the 200-meter dash, with her 26.54 effort leaving her behind only unattached sprinter Damola Osayomi. Finally, junior Hailey Neal (West Palm Beach, Fla.) won a sprint down the final straightaway to capture the runner-up spot in the women's mile, at 5:12.07.

Liberty's last scheduled competition prior to the 2010 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships will take place Saturday at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. Five Flames and Lady Flames will be in action, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern, when Alyssa Pegues (So., Warner Robins, Ga.) competes in the women's triple jump.