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Three Track & Field athletes earn All-America honors at nationals

As the 2024 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships ended over the weekend, three Liberty University women’s track & field team members returned to Lynchburg, Va., with All-America honors as well as two top-10 finishes.

Sixth-year senior Calli Doan finished 10th in the women’s steeplechase at nationals, earning her third All America honors as a Lady Flame.

Sophomore Paola Bueno, freshman Katie Urbine, and sixth-year senior Calli Doan headlined the two Flames and four Lady Flames who made the trek to Eugene, Ore., for nationals, which ran Wednesday through Saturday.

Bueno earned her spot on the All-America second team with an 11th-place finish in the women’s hammer throw on Thursday. Her heave of 211 feet, 4 inches, bested her previous program record by 2 feet. Her finish was the highest ever for a Liberty women’s hammer thrower.

Urbine likewise received her All-America second team distinction on Thursday after clearing 14-1.25 in the women’s pole vault, resulting in a 10th-place finish. This jump matched her personal record and the Liberty freshman record.

Paola Bueno placed 11th at the women’s hammer throw.

Doan, who earned her third All-America honor for the Lady Flames, concluded her career at Liberty with an incredible 10th-place showing in the women’s steeplechase finals on Saturday. Her time of 9 minutes and 49.54 seconds bested her previous PR and set a new program record.

In addition to her trio of All-America honors, Doan closes out her time as a Lady Flame as an 11-time conference champion and a program record holder in five events (cross country 5K – 16:15.1, cross country 6K – 19:50.6, indoor mile – 4:36.52, indoor 3K – 9:24.67, and outdoor steeplechase – 9:49.54).

Fellow sixth-year senior Makenzy Mizera also punctuated her collegiate career at nationals on Saturday. She placed 24th in her NCAA women’s triple jump national meet debut, covering a distance of 39-11.5 into a slight headwind.

Liberty’s two men’s representatives at nationals, senior John Hicks (men’s hammer) and junior Ben Shughart (men’s javelin), posted strong season-ending performances in their respective events on the opening day of competition.

Freshman Katie Urbine finished 10th in the women’s pole vault.

Hicks’ throw of 218-3 on Wednesday was good for 18th place in his final event as a Flame. The Romney, W.Va., native closes his time at Liberty as a seven-time conference champion (three hammer, four weight throw). Hicks owns the program record for the men’s weight throw (68-4.5) and ranks No. 2 all-time for the Flames in the men’s hammer (220-7).

Shughart followed Hicks’ performance with a javelin throw of 216-5 to place 21st in the nation. Prior to competing on Wednesday, he was presented with the NCAA Elite 90 Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships. Shughart, who competed as a junior this season, graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in sport management and a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Liberty finished the 2023-24 campaign as men’s and women’s conference champions, with each team winning both the CUSA Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

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