Josh MacDonald came in fifth in the championship section of the men's steeplechase, Thursday evening at the Penn Relays.
Liberty sophomore Josh MacDonald made a successful Penn Relays debut on a cool, damp Thursday evening, placing fifth in the championship section of the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase. Teammates Caleb Edmonds and David Ricksecker then notched personal-best times and top-five finishes in the college section of the men's 5K. Just six days after placing as the Big South men's steeplechase runner-up, MacDonald found the famous track at Franklin Field to his liking. He clocked the second-fastest time of his career, 9:00.84, to place fifth in a strong field. Two of the four runners to defeat MacDonald on Thursday (Indiana's Andrew Poore and Temple's Travis Mahoney) were All-Americans in this event in 2011. MacDonald edged Michigan's Zach Ornelas by one-hundredth of a second at the finish line. That gave the California native the fifth-fastest time overall among the 38 collegiate men who ran the steeplechase in one of Thursday evening's three heats. Later on Thursday evening, both Edmonds and Ricksecker excelled in their heat of the men's 5K. Edmonds came in a close second to Kevin McDonnell of St. Joseph's in the 31-man section, cutting eight seconds off of his personal-best 5K time in the process. At 14:21.15, Edmonds now ranks No. 6 on Liberty's all-time outdoor men's 5K list, one spot behind older brother Josh Edmonds. Ricksecker followed with a fourth-place finish, clocking a personal-best time of 14:27.74. It is the first time Ricksecker has ever broken the 14:30 barrier for a 5K. The 118th Penn Relays will resume Friday morning at 9 a.m. Liberty's first event of the day will be the prelims of the men's 4 x 100 relay, set for 12:40 p.m. Other Liberty athletes will compete at Radford's Highlander Invitational on Friday, starting with the women's discus at noon.