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Liberty Trio Set for USATF Championships

June 23, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Meghan Burggraf (center), shown above leading Liberty's 1-2-3 sweep in the women's 800 at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, will run the 800 at the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships this week.

Meghan Burggraf (center), shown above leading Liberty's 1-2-3 sweep in the women's 800 at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, will run the 800 at the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships this week.

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One final track & field meet remains on the 2010 schedule for the Liberty Flames, this weekend's USA Junior and Senior Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Meghan Burggraf, Clarence Powell and Kevin Reddington will represent Liberty, Thursday and Friday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.

Powell is slated to compete in the men's triple jump at the senior meet. Meanwhile, Burggraf will run the women's 800 and Reddington is entered in the men's long jump at the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The junior meet, open to athletes 19 years old or younger, will serve as a qualifier for the 2010 World Junior Track & Field Championships, scheduled for July 19-25 in Moncton, Canada.

How to Follow the Flames
Seven hours of the meet will be televised, beginning with an 8-10 p.m. broadcast on ESPN Friday night. Highlights of Powell's triple jump competition could appear during that time slot. On both Saturday and Sunday, ESPN will televise the action from 1-2:30 p.m., before NBC picks up the broadcast from 3-4 p.m.

Events not televised will be video streamed live by and plans to focus exclusively on the running events, while will also cover the field events.

Live results will be posted throughout the meet, at both and

A Look at Liberty's Competitors
Clarence Powell – Senior Men's Triple Jump
Competition Schedule:
Final – Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern

How He Got Here: Powell enjoyed a successful junior season for the Flames, with his most impressive feat of the year coming on his final triple jump attempt at the NCAA Division I Preliminary Round meet, May 29 in Greensboro, N.C. Powell sailed out to 52-1.25, breaking the school and conference records and earning his first-ever trip to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. That distance is tied for the 15th-longest seed mark among the men's triple jump competitors in Des Moines.

Powell claimed four conference titles this year, including the Big South indoor triple jump, indoor high jump and outdoor long jump, as well as the IC4A indoor high jump. For his efforts, the Sunshine State native was named the Big South Men's Outstanding Field Performer, both indoors and outdoors.

The Competition: Drake Stadium will host the 2011 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, and fans will get a nice preview of that meet this week, with many of the top NCAA performers slated to compete. That is certainly the case in the men's triple jump, where the top three finishers at the recent NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships are entered. Leading the way with the field's top qualifying mark of 56-1 is the reigning NCAA indoor and outdoor triple jump champion, Florida sophomore Christian Taylor. Texas A&M teammates Tyron Stewart and Zuheir Sharif, who placed second and third behind Taylor in Eugene, are also listed among the field of competitors, as is NCAA Division II national champion Jonathon Allen of Lake Superior State.

Among professional athletes, the names of Kenta Bell and Brandon Roulhac stand out. Bell competed for Team USA in the triple jump in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, while Roulhac is the defending USA champion in the event.

Powell will also see a familiar face in Allen Simms during the triple jump competition. The former NCAA triple jump champion from USC set the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex record in the long jump with a 25-6 leap at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational in April. Powell finished second behind Simms that day, recording a new personal long jump best of 24-9.75.

Meghan Burggraf – Junior Women's 800
Competition Schedule:
First Round – Thursday at 1:50 p.m. Eastern; Final – Friday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern

How She Got Here: Burggraf's big breakthrough race came during the women's 800-meter final at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, April 17 at Charleston, S.C. The freshman's powerful surge down the final straightaway enabled her to win the race and lead the Lady Flames' 1-2-3 sweep in the event. Burggraf's 2:12.78 clocking, which ranks No. 13 among the entrants in Des Moines, also enabled her to run at the ECAC Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the first time. This will be Burggraf's first race since her ECAC preliminary heat on May 15.

Burggraf got her collegiate career off to a strong start indoors, winning a pair of races and finishing fourth in the Big South 800-meter final. Her first year at Liberty has seen her 800-meter personal best improve from 2:20.14 to 2:12.78.

The Competition: The women's 800 is one of the most eagerly anticipated events at the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships, due to its combination of standout high school and college performers. The four headline entrants include high schoolers Ajee Wilson and Laura Roesler and collegians Stephanie Brown and Rebecca Friday.

Wilson, who just completed her sophomore year at Neptune High School in New Jersey, notched the nation's fastest high school 800-meter time of the year, 2:04.94. If that wasn't impressive enough, Wilson clocked a 2:00.59 800-meter split at last weekend's New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., anchoring her team to a huge comeback victory.

Roesler, meanwhile, graduated as the most decorated high school athlete in North Dakota history. She won 20 state track & field championships during her career, including five straight titles in the 800. Roesler, then a sophomore at Fargo South High School, reached the women's 800-meter semifinals at the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Brown, an Arkansas Razorback, qualified for both the NCAA Division I Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 800 as a freshman. She earned All-America honors with her sixth-place indoor finish and owns the meet's top seed time, 2:04.52.

Friday, who just finished her freshman season at Oregon, placed fifth in the Pac-10 800-meter final and reached the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships on her home track at Hayward Field.

The top two finishers who have met the qualifying standard (2:09.00) will earn the right to represent the USA at the World Junior Championships. Eight entrants have run under 2:09 this season.

Kevin Reddington – Junior Men's Long Jump
Competition Schedule:
Final – Thursday at 1:45 p.m. Eastern

How He Got Here: Reddington punched his ticket to Des Moines with a career-best 24-1 long jump at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier on April 29. With that effort, the Liberty freshman ranks fifth on the entry list in Des Moines.

Reddington, part of Liberty's deep men's long jump and triple jump crew this season, scored points for the Flames in three different events at the Big South meet. Indoors, the Washington native placed third in the long jump and sixth in the triple jump, garnering Big South Men's Freshman of the Year honors. Outdoors, Reddington took home a fourth-place finish in the long jump.

Reddington also long jumped at the IC4A indoor and outdoor meets, claiming a 14th-place finish at the indoor event in March. Like Burggraf, Reddington has not competed since the IC4A Outdoor Track & Field Championships in mid-May.

The Competition: Reddington and Southern's Micah Mcculloch are the only two collegiate athletes entered in the junior men's long jump competition. Like Reddington, Mcculloch placed third at his indoor conference meet in the long jump and fourth outdoors, competing in the SWAC.

The rest of the field consists of some very talented high school athletes, paced by Justin Hunter of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach and Carlton Lavong of Methacton High School in Pennsylvania. Hunter swept the Group AAA state titles in the long jump, triple jump and high jump this season. The Tennessee football signee owns the best long jump mark in the nation by a high school athlete in 2010, 25-8.75. Meanwhile, Lavong won state titles in Pennsylvania in the long jump and triple jump and also took the long jump crown at the New Balance Nationals last weekend.

Marquis Dendy, who finished second to Lavong at the New Balance Nationals, won Delaware state titles in the 100, long jump and triple jump. Meanwhile, Kasen Covington was a long jump and triple jump state champion in Idaho.

A wild card to watch is Cameron Burrell. The son of former 100-meter dash world record holder Leroy Burrell, the former long jumped 23-7.75 this year as a high school freshman.

As an illustration of how this meet can propel athletes to future success, take the example of Marquise Goodwin. He won the men's long jump at the 2008 and 2009 USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships. This year, as a freshman at Texas, Goodwin captured the national long jump title at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The top two finishers who have met the qualifying standard of 24-7.25 will represent the U.S. at the World Junior Championships. Hunter and Lavong are the only two entrants who have hit the standard prior to the meet.