Liberty Track & Field/XC Adds 9 Signees
Liberty Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Lance Bingham has announced nine future additions to his squads. Summer Bejarano, Emily Coates, Allison Engle, Anna Ripple, Jessie Zealand, Dominic Conroy, Jacob Hess, Graham Mussmon and Gavin Sweeney have signed to attend Liberty University for the 2022-23 academic year.
They join six previously announced signees (Ava Gordon, Katrina Schlenker, Katie Sigerud, Kayla Werner, Woodrow Dean and Joshua Smith) as incoming freshmen who will enroll in fall 2022.
“We are excited for each athlete that the Lord brings into our program,” stated Bingham. “This is a solid group of recruits that we feel will make an impact on our program in the next few years. Most importantly, they embrace the vision of our program, which is to honor and serve Jesus Christ in and through our sport. As we continue to build upon the foundation that has been laid, we know these recruits will be an important part of this process.”
Distance | Silver Lake Regional High School | Halifax, Mass.
2 Mile: 11:12.02
5K (XC): 18:34
Bejarano burst onto the scene as a freshman at Silver Lake Regional High School, placing fourth in the mile at the Massachusetts Division 3 Indoor Championship and taking third in the two mile at the Massachusetts Division 2 Outdoor Championship.
This fall, Bejarano took 12th place at the Massachusetts Division 1C Cross Country Championship, qualifying for the All-State Championship.
Sprints/Jumps | Rustburg High School | Rustburg, Va.
Long Jump: 16-11.5
Hailing from nearby Rustburg, Va., Coates has earned a pair of state gold medals on the track. Her Rustburg quartet claimed the 4 x 200 relay title at the 2021 Virginia Class 3 Indoor Championships. Coates then clocked a personal-best 24.97 to win the 200 state championship at the 2021 Virginia Class 3 Outdoor Championships.
Coates also helped Rustburg win the Virginia Class 3 softball state championship one week after the outdoor track & field state meet.
Distance | Northern High School | Dillsburg, Pa.
5K (XC): 19:33
Engle made two appearances at the Pennsylvania State Cross Country Championships for Northern High School with a top finish of 38th as a freshman in 2018. The younger sister of current Liberty heptathlete Meredith Engle, also placed 10th in the 1,600 at the Pennsylvania District 3 AAA meet in 2021.
Distance | Woodridge High School | Stow, Ohio
5K (XC): 19:15
Ripple ran well this fall during her first season at Woodridge High School, placing third at the Metro Athletic Conference meet for the league champion. She also lowered her cross country 5K PR to 19:15.
As a junior, Ripple placed 97th at the Ohio Division II Cross Country Championships, representing Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. She later took eighth place in the 3,200 on the track at the regional meet.
Distance | Home Schooled | Forest, Va.
5K (XC): 18:48
Zealand, who competes for the Pacers Home School team, recently punctuated her high school cross country career by placing 59th in the silver race at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships in 18:51.
Zealand is the niece of Liberty assistant coach Heather Zealand and the daughter of former Liberty track & field/cross country runner and current Liberty professor Clark Zealand.
Distance | Porter Ridge High School | Indian Trail, N.C.
5K (XC): 16:02
Conroy, who attends Porter Ridge High School, crossed the line 14th at the North Carolina 4A Cross Country Championship last month. On the track, Conroy posted a 10th-place finish at the North Carolina 4A Outdoor Track & Field Championship at 3,200 meters as a junior in 2021.
Distance | Lewisburg High School | West Milton, Pa.
Hess has been a key cog in Lewisburg High School’s three consecutive Pennsylvania AA cross country team state titles (2019-21), placing fifth individually in 2019, second in 2020 and third in 2021.
On the track, Hess has recorded a pair of 10th-place finishes in the 3,200 at the Pennsylvania AAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships (2019 and 2021).
Distance | Loudoun Valley High School | Purcellville, Va.
5K (XC): 15:12
Loudoun Valley High School product Mussmon has been at his best during his senior cross country season, winning the Virginia Class 4 individual state title and placing second at the NXR Southeast Regional Championships in a 5K personal-best 15:12.
The younger brother of current Liberty distance runner Jeremiah Mussmon, Mussmon came in second in the 3,200 and fourth in the 1,600 at the 2021 Virginia Group 4 Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Distance | Lake Norman High School | Mooresville, N.C.
5K (XC): 15:39
Sweeney placed 27th at this year’s North Carolina 4A Cross Country Championship, helping his Lake Norman High School team take fourth place at the meet.
At the 2021 North Carolina 4A Outdoor Track & Field Championship, Sweeney dropped a personal-best 4:22.41 to claim seventh place in the 1,600.