Ekporere’s Program-Record 13.67 in 110 Hurdles Headlines Preliminary Round Day 1
Liberty’s Prosper Ekporere ran a program-record 13.67 in the men’s 110 hurdles, making him one of three Flames (also Rayan Holmes – men’s 400 hurdles and Donald McClinton – men’s 200) to advance to the quarterfinal round on Wednesday, the opening day of the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet at Visit Jax Track at Hodges Stadium.
The Flames also had a pair of near misses at punching tickets to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, getting 14th-place finishes from John Hicks (men’s hammer) and Kevin Nedrick (men’s discus).
Aided by a 3.5 m/s tailwind, Ekporere clocked a lifetime-best 13.67 to take fifth place in his first-round heat of the men’s 110 hurdles and grab a time qualifier to Friday’s quarterfinals. The Nigeria native took down the program record of 13.77 (also wind-aided) set by All-American Jovaine Atkinson at the 2018 Texas Relays.
Liberty will be represented in the quarterfinal round of both hurdles races Friday evening, as Holmes clocked 51.01 out of lane one to nab the third and final auto qualifier from his heat of the men’s 400 hurdles. The ASUN champion is the first Flame ever to advance to the quarterfinal round of the men’s 400 hurdles at this meet.
McClinton will be the first Flame to compete in the NCAA men’s 200 quarterfinals after finishing third in his first-round heat. McClinton’s time of 20.83 edged Purdue’s Justin Becker for the final automatic qualifier from his section.
The first Flame to compete on the day, Hicks enjoyed easily the best of his three NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round appearances to date. His third and final attempt measured 212-6 for 14th place, leaving the junior just two spots and less than four feet away from a trip to Austin for the national meet after entering as the No. 24 seed in the East Region. Hicks has now improved from 38th place to 23rd to 14th in his trio of appearances at this meet.
Hicks was not the only Liberty thrower to finish 14th in his event on Wednesday, as Nedrick also did so in the shot put. His top mark of 61-1.5 fell just two places and five inches away from national qualification. Nedrick will be back in action in the discus on Friday after earning All-America honors in that event a year ago.
The final Flame in action Wednesday evening, Tristian Merchant entered his second career 10K as the event’s No. 47 seed. The first-year Flame ended up in 24th place with a final time of 30:01.58.
Men’s Day 1 Record Breakers
Liberty Record – 110 Hurdles – Prosper Ekporere – 13.67
Previous Record: 13.77 by Jovaine Atkinson at the Texas Relays on March 31, 2018
Day 1 Updates to Liberty’s All-Time Men’s Top 10 List
110 Hurdles – No. 1 – Prosper Ekporere – 13.67
Women’s events will get started on Thursday. Paola Bueno will be the first Lady Flame in action, with the hammer set to begin at 10 a.m.
Featured in Main Photo: Prosper Ekporere