Anthony Bryant qualified for the IC4A meet in both the high jump and long jump, Saturday at the Liberty Open.
The Flames' Anthony Bryant qualified for the IC4A meet in both the high jump and long jump, highlighting Saturday's action at the Liberty Open. The busy day at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center also featured an IC4A qualifier by Taylor Courtney, an ECAC qualifier by Mia Aghaji and six Liberty event wins.
Men's Meet Recap Bryant, who already owned an IC4A qualifier in the triple jump, punched his ticket to Boston in both the high jump and long jump on Saturday. He won the Liberty Open high jump title for the third time in the last four years, clearing a season-best 6-10.25 on his third attempt. Bryant also placed second in a very competitive long jump field. His leap of 23-8.75 established an indoor personal best and ranks No. 9 in program history. Courtney was a double winner for the Flames on Saturday. The redshirt sophomore started out by successfully defending his Liberty Open 500-meter dash title, with a winning and IC4A-qualifying time of 1:05.01. Courtney later joined Jacey Bailey, James Hatch and Chris Johnson in winning the 4 x 400 relay. The quartet's time of 3:21.85 was a season best. Reigning Big South Men's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week Ryan Smith suffered a shot put defeat at the hands of a collegiate competitor for the first time this season. East Tennessee State's Jarrod Burton defeated him, but Smith was able to claim runner-up honors with his 55-4.25 toss. Smith also nabbed third place in the weight throw, at 57-1. Seeking his fourth Liberty Open triple jump crown in a row, Clarence Powell fell just shy. The senior finished second with a leap of 48-10.75. Competing unattached, Kolby Shepherd posted his third straight Liberty Open pole vault title. His winning clearance was a meet-record 17-0.75.
Women's Meet Recap Aghaji had a successful day in the jumping events, including an ECAC-qualifying 39-3 triple jump. The indoor personal-best distance won the competition by 3.25 inches. Aghaji also finished second in the high jump, with freshman teammate Kristen Willeford following in third. Both Lady Flames sailed over 5-5, marking the highest clearance for either Aghaji or Willeford in a Liberty uniform. Juniors Olivia Charnuski and Melanie Sims each won events on Saturday. Charnuski was victorious by a quarter-second in the 60-meter hurdles final, after equaling her season best with an 8.77 clocking. It was the Canadian's third Liberty Open 60 hurdles crown in a row. Meanwhile, Sims was the only 400-meter runner to break 60 seconds, completing the two-lap race in a personal-best time of 59.77. Sophomore Sherri Spruel tied for third in the 60-meter dash while improving her personal best to 7.80 seconds. Fellow sprinter Alyssa Pegues focused on the jumps on Saturday and took home a pair of fourth place finishes. She long jumped 18-0.25 and triple jumped a season-best 38-1.5.
Most of the Flames and Lady Flames will travel to University Park, Pa. next Saturday, to compete in the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup for the fourth consecutive season. The meet, which will feature team scoring, will begin at 9 a.m. at Penn State's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track Facility. Meanwhile, Sam Chelanga will race against some of the world's top distance runners at next Saturday's New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. He will run the 3K at the Reggie Lewis Center at 7:10 p.m. The meet will be televised on ESPN2 Feb. 6, from 2-4 p.m.