Bueno, Hicks, Shughart Excel on Opening Day of Outdoor Season
A little bit of rain at Vert Stadium could not put a damper on opening day of Liberty’s 2023 outdoor track & field season, Friday. Paola Bueno set a Liberty freshman record in the women’s hammer (188-5), John Hicks posted an NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round qualifier in the men’s hammer (202-3) and Ben Shughart shattered his javelin personal best by 37 feet with a mark of 204-10 during day one action at the Bob Davidson Memorial Invitational.
After fouling the first two hammer throws of her collegiate career, reigning World U20 silver medalist Bueno produced a clutch 188-5 effort in round three. That held up as the Mexico native’s best effort of the day and earned a third-place finish.
Bueno eclipsed the program freshman record of 184-7 set by Chelsea Igberaese at the same facility during the 2018 Big South Championship. She now ranks No. 7 in program history after one meet.
Teammate Megan Mann reached a personal-best 177-11 for fifth place in the competition and the No. 10 spot on Liberty’s all-time women’s hammer list.
Hicks’ mark of 202-3 in the men’s hammer earned runner-up honors in the competition and should secure his spot in the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet for the third consecutive season.
Hicks was joined in the top 10 by younger brother Christian Hicks (seventh, 173-11) and Stuart Folkerts (10th, 165-4).
Shughart’s top javelin mark as a freshman in 2022 measured 167-10. He established new personal bests on three of his six throws on Friday, including a 183-2 effort in round two, a 199-0 heave in round four and a 204-10 mark in round five which secured a third-place finish in the event.
Fellow sophomore Ethan Mylin came in sixth with a best mark of 179-9, wrapping up a successful day for the Liberty throws crew.
Men’s Day 1 Top 3 Finishers
2nd – John Hicks – Hammer – 202-3
3rd – Ben Shughart – Javelin – 204-10
Women’s Day 1 Top 3 Finishers
3rd – Paola Bueno – Hammer – 188-5
Women’s Day 1 Record Breakers
Liberty Freshman Record – Hammer – Paola Bueno – 188-5
Previous Record: 184-7 by Chelsea Igberaese at the Big South Championship at High Point on May 11, 2018
New Men’s NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round Qualifiers
John Hicks – Hammer – 202-3
Day 1 Updates to Liberty’s All-Time Women’s Top 10 List
Hammer – No. 7 – Paola Bueno – 188-5
Hammer – No. 10 – Megan Mann – 177-11
The Bob Davidson Memorial Invitational will conclude with a full day of activity on Saturday. The women’s javelin will get things going at 9:30 a.m., while the ESPN+ broadcast will begin at noon with the start of running events.
Featured in Main Photo: Ben Shughart