Dacia Bushman briefly claimed the NCAA Division I national lead in the women's 10K Friday evening, thanks to her personal-best 35:15.84 clocking.
Liberty seniors Dacia Bushman and Sam Chelanga each raced to NCAA Division I nation-leading 10K times, Friday evening at the Raleigh Relays. Their efforts, along with Kolby Shepherd's men's pole vault title, highlighted Liberty's day at Paul Derr Track. Bushman clocked a personal-best 35:15.84 in the women's race, while Chelanga sped to a 28:15.64 effort in the men's 10K. Both times top the NCAA Division I charts, pending the results of Friday night's distance races at the Stanford Invitational.
Men's Meet Recap Just two weeks removed from his third straight 5K runner-up finish at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, Chelanga returned to the track in spectacular fashion. His meet-record 10K time of 28:15.64 won the race by nearly two minutes over Coastal Carolina's Kyle Kling. Chelanga's effort on Friday was also 22 seconds faster than his winning time from the 2010 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. As a result, the Nairobi, Kenya native essentially clinched a berth in the 10K at the NCAA Division I Preliminary Round meet, which is set for May 26-28 in Bloomington, Ind. On a day when only five pole vaulters in Section I were able to clear a bar, two of the successful vaulters were Liberty Flames. Shepherd led the way with a 16-6.75 clearance, claiming first place over multiple-time All-American Luke Schoen of Albany on misses. Meanwhile, Geren Woodbridge sailed over a season-best 15-1 to share fourth place. Liberty also garnered four other top 10 finishes in men's field events on Friday. Ryan Smith's top shot put attempt of the day stretched the tape to 53-11.75 for fifth place. Meanwhile, Elliot Galeone's throw of 159-3 netted seventh place in the discus. In his outdoor season long jump debut, Anthony Bryant flew 22-0.25 for 10th place in Section I. Teammate Chris Johnson came in second in Section II, thanks to a 21-8.25 long jump. Chelanga was not the only Liberty men's distance runner to find success on a cool day in the Tar Heel State. David Ricksecker came in fifth in Section III of the men's 5K, with a solid 14:51.15 clocking.
Women's Meet Recap Before Chelanga took the track, Bushman had provided the highlight of the day for Liberty. Her 35:15.84 10K time lopped about a minute and a half off of her previous best, which had been set during her freshman season. Bushman's ECAC qualifier placed the Iowa native third in the race, but first among NCAA Division I athletes. Her performance was a near reprise of Ashley Osborne's 10K at the 2010 Raleigh Relays. Like Bushman, Osborne ran a significant personal-best time (35:35.65) under the lights in Raleigh and briefly held the NCAA Division I national lead for the event. Fellow distance runner Khristina Kanagy also fared quite well on Friday. Her personal-best 5K time of 17:52.13 took 12th place in Section II of the event. It also moves the sophomore up to No. 9 in program history, just ahead of teammate Jennifer Klugh. Speaking of program history, Liberty's sprint medley quartet of Olivia Charnuski, Alyssa Pegues, Mia Aghaji and Meghan Burggraf nearly made some of it on Friday. Their time of 3:58.62 was the second-fastest ever by the Lady Flames and the fastest in the last 10 years. Liberty came in fourth in the event. Charnuski and Pegues also qualified for Saturday's finals in individual events. Charnuski ran a 14.55 in her 100-meter hurdles heat, while Pegues' 12.19 effort in the 100-meter dash prelims was good enough to reach the final. Heptathlete Krystle Matthews long jumped a season-best 17-6.75, sharing third place in Section II.
The 2011 Raleigh Relays will conclude with a full day of action on Saturday. The women's 3,000-meter steeplechase will get things started at 9:30 a.m.