When autocomplete options are available, use up and down arrows to review and enter to select.
Apply Give

Liberty Track & Field athletes to compete at nationals this week

(Left to right: John Hicks, Paola Bueno, Track & Field Assistant Coach Luke Johnson, Ben Shughart)

As the 2023-24 Liberty Athletics season draws to a close, two Flames and four Lady Flames are making the trip to Eugene, Ore., to compete at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships this Wednesday through Saturday.

These six athletes composed Liberty’s third-largest group of NCAA Division I national qualifiers in program history. This is the ninth consecutive season Liberty has been represented at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the sixth straight year a Flames thrower has qualified.

Senior John Hicks, who competes in men’s hammer, punched his ticket to nationals after recording a personal best toss of 220 feet, 7 inches, to finish fifth at the 2024 NCAA Division I East First Rounds on May 22. Hicks becomes Liberty’s first men’s hammer thrower to advance to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships since program record holder Jon Hart made it in 2008. Hicks will open the Flames’ competition in Eugene, with the men’s hammer national final slated for Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST.

Junior Ben Shughart earned a 12th-place finish in men’s javelin, due in part to a heave of 223-7 the same day to likewise clinch a trip to Eugene. The javelin throw competition will take place at 8:45 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

The day after Shughart’s qualifying toss, sophomore Paola Bueno became the first Lady Flame to qualify for nationals when she recorded a season best 208-11 javelin throw, good enough for sixth place overall. The women’s javelin final is slated for 9:45 p.m. EST on Thursday.

Freshman Katie Urbine earned the chance to compete alongside her college teammates with a personal-best and Liberty freshman pole vault record 14-1.25. Urbine was one of only eight athletes to clear this height at East First Rounds, earning herself a trip to nationals. The women’s pole vault event will start at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday.

Sixth-year senior Calli Doan, who finished 11th at the 2023 NCAA women’s steeplechase national final, finished her First Rounds steeplechase run with a time of 10 minutes, 3.25 seconds, despite a fall with just over a lap remaining in the race. This effort gave her an 11th place overall finish, qualifying her for her second trip to nationals in two years. Doan will return to the track on Thursday at 9:02 p.m. EST for the women’s steeplechase semifinals.

Fellow sixth-year senior Makenzy Mizera qualified for nationals with a 10th place finish with a leap of 14-4.25 in the women’s triple jump despite entering as the East Region’s No. 41 seed. Mizera will become the first Lady Flame ever to triple jump at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, beginning at 5:50 p.m. EST on Saturday.

Chat Live Chat Live Request Info Request Info Apply Now Apply Now Visit Liberty Visit Liberty