Klugh Runs Liberty and Big South Record 16:48 5K

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Klugh Runs Liberty and Big South Record 16:48 5K
BOSTON, Mass. - On a day which saw the Liberty women's indoor track & field team achieve two new ECAC-qualifying performances and four personal-best efforts at the Valentine Invitational, senior Jennifer Klugh stole the show. She clocked a time of 16:48.32 in the 5K, breaking her own Liberty and Big South Conference records in the event.

Klugh's previous 5K record-setting performance came almost exactly one year ago, when she raced to a time of 16:56.14 at the Flotrack Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash on Feb. 11, 2011.

This time around, Klugh found success on the opposite coast, shaving nearly eight full seconds off of her record inside the Boston University Track and Tennis Center. She placed sixth overall and third among collegiate entrants.

Fellow senior Olivia Charnuski has now qualified for the 2012 ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in two events this season, after running a season-best time of 25.00 seconds in the 200-meter dash on Friday. The Canadian had previously met the ECAC standard in the 60 hurdles.

Freshman Jacy Christiansen ran a personal-best time of 4:58.44 in the mile, also qualifying for the ECAC meet in her second event this year (also the 3K). She became the sixth Lady Flame ever to crack the 5:00 barrier indoors and placed 27th in one of the meet's strongest events.

Mia Aghaji posted a pair of strong field event finishes on Friday, coming in second in the triple jump and fourth in the high jump. Her triple jump mark of 39-6 had her in the lead until the sixth and final round, when Florida Atlantic's Ashani Roberts stretched out to 39-9.75 to take the win.

Aghaji also boosted her high jump personal best to 5-8 with a third-attempt clearance at the height. The Big South leader in the event joins Kena Butts and Arlene Zelinskas as the only Lady Flames ever to high jump 5-8, either indoors or outdoors.

Khristina Kanagy almost picked up an ECAC qualifier of her own, but her 5K time of 17:35.15 missed the standard by 1.5 seconds. However, it was a personal-best effort for the junior, who placed second in her heat and 16th in the event overall. Kanagy now ranks No. 8 in program history for the indoor 5K.

Like Kanagy a junior, Meghan Burggraf posted a season-best 800-meter time of 2:12.08, improving upon her conference-leading mark and placing 15th in the event.

All of the Valentine Invitational men's events will take place on Saturday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Ryan Smith (shot put) and Kyle Wheeler (high jump) will be the first two Flames to get started, as both of their events are set for 11 a.m. starts.

Cumings' Record 51-3 Shot Highlights Quad
LYNCHBURG, Va. - Liberty freshman Mychelle Cumings unleashed a school and meet-record 51-3 shot put Friday evening inside the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, producing the host Flames' most impressive performance of the 2012 Liberty Quad. Meanwhile, the Liberty men's and women's squads won four events apiece, while the Flames recorded five new IC4A-qualifying efforts.
       
Women's Meet Recap
Cumings, a native of Madison, Tenn., was already the program record holder in the women's shot put entering Friday's meet. However, her second throw of the night landed nearly four feet beyond her previous record distance, stretching the measuring tape to 51-3.

Cumings' big throw also eclipsed the meet record of 50-5.5, which had been set by Radford's Tiffany Evans at the inaugural Liberty Quad in 2007. Cumings now ranks as the No. 4 freshman on the NCAA Division I women's shot put national performance list for 2011-12.

Cumings led Liberty's 1-2-3 sweep in the event, as she was followed by Emily Woods in second place at 41-9.25 and defending Liberty Quad champion Rachel Barnes in third at 41-3.

Redshirt senior Rachel Houseknecht also enjoyed a big night, winning a pair of events in personal-best fashion. In the pole vault, Houseknecht made a second-attempt clearance at 12-5.5 to win the competition, break the meet record and climb to No. 2 on the Lady Flames' all-time indoor women's pole vault list.

Just as Cumings did in the women's shot put, Houseknecht paved the way for a 1-2-3 Liberty sweep. Shelley Parker's indoor personal-best vault of 12-1.5 netted runner-up honors, while Tami Tolsma's indoor personal-best 12-8 clearance placed her third. Parker is now tied for No. 3 in program history, while Tolsma moves up to No. 6.

Houseknecht also claimed the Liberty Quad women's 60 hurdles title for the second time in three years, posting a winning time of 8.77 seconds. During the prelims, Houseknecht had dropped her personal-best time to 8.64, making the Pennsylvania native the second-fastest 60-meter hurdler in program history.

The Lady Flames' final event victory came in the 60-meter dash, courtesy of Abigail Flower's 7.77 clocking. Teammate Sherri Spruel crossed the line second, stopping the clock in a season-best time of 7.83 seconds.

Liberty displayed its strength in the women's throwing events in the weight throw as well, claiming the second, third and fourth places. Melinda Bendik captured runner-up honors at 51-9, Cumings took third place at 51-5.5 and Woods was fourth at 47-9.75. Cumings' throw set a personal-best and moved her into fourth place in program history.

Men's Meet Recap
All of Liberty's new IC4A qualifiers came from two events-the men's 60-meter dash and pole vault. The Flames' sprinters were especially impressive, claiming all of the top six positions in the 60-meter final.

Roderick Spruel won the 60-meter title while equaling his personal-best time of 6.92 seconds. Teammates Tarell Williams, Maxwell Asante and Anthony Settje then finished nearly simultaneously in second, third and fourth place, respectively. All three notched personal-best clockings on Friday, and all three will now join Spruel at the IC4A meet next month. Williams and Asante were both timed in 6.97 seconds, with Settje reaching the line in 6.98.

In the pole vault, both Jon Drablos and Cody Fridgen topped out at the IC4A standard of 15-9, but Drablos was awarded first place over his teammate on fewest misses. Drablos set a new career-best clearance, while Fridgen equaled his best-ever effort. Liberty will now have three men's pole vaulters heading to Boston for the IC4A meet, as Kolby Shepherd has already qualified.

Settje came back after his strong effort in the 60 dash to win the 200 in a time of 22.72 seconds. Spruel was his closest competition on the night, running an indoor personal-best time of 22.97 seconds for second place.

Just like the women's shot put, the men's shot put championship was claimed by a Liberty freshman. David Scouten reached 53-6.5 on his very first throw, improving upon his previous personal-best by nearly a foot and a half and winning the competition by more than two feet. Scouten jumped up to No. 6 on the Liberty all-time list with the result.

Liberty fared well in the mid-distance events, even though many of its competitors were running different distances than they were accustomed to. Paul Arslain nearly won the men's 800 final with his indoor personal-best time of 1:57.10, but was edged at the tape by Virginia's Payton Hazzard.

Dropping down in distance from the 3K and 5K, Caleb Edmonds fared well in both the 1,000 and mile events on Friday. He came in third in the 1,000 in a time of 2:33.04 and placed second in the mile at 4:19.35.

Seven Liberty men's athletes will compete at the Valentine Invitational in Boston, Mass., on Saturday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. inside the Boston University Track and Tennis Center.

The rest of the Flames and Lady Flames will be off from competition until Feb. 24-25, when the 2012 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships take place inside Rector Field House in Blacksburg, Va. Both the Liberty men's and women's teams will enter the meet as defending conference champions.

Lemon and Reives Compete in Rare Indoor Discus
AKRON, Ohio - VMI's Mary Grace Lemon and Renee Reives were the Keydet representatives at day one of the Akron Invitational, hosted by Akron University Friday evening in Akron, Ohio.

The two Keydet throwers took part in a discus event that, although originally scheduled to be held outside in traditional format, was moved indoors due to snow. The duo participated in a combined flight, with eight male throwers as well as Lemon and Reives. Reives finished eighth in the flight, posting a 36.10 meter (118'2") toss, while Lemon came home one place better, recording a seventh-place finish (39.10 M/128'3").

VMI track and field will return to action Saturday, taking part in the final day of competition at the Akron Invitational. Action is set to get underway at 10 a.m.