Liberty Leads at IC4A's to Highlight Busy Saturday


Liberty Tops IC4A Standings After Day 1
BOSTON, Mass. - Top three finishes by Ryan Smith and Kolby Shepherd have propelled the Liberty men's team into the lead after Saturday's action at the IC4A Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston, Mass. Across town, Jennifer Klugh's sixth-place effort highlighted the Lady Flames' opening day at the ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Smith was the IC4A weight throw runner-up, while Shepherd came in third in the pole vault. The duo accounted for 14 of the Flames' 16 points, giving Liberty a one-point lead through Saturday's quartet of IC4A event finals at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center. The Flames, who tied for second place at this meet a year ago, lead Bucknell and Duquesne by a single tally.

At the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, the Lady Flames tallied three points on Saturday. As a result, they are tied for 22nd place with Navy, New Hampshire and St. Francis (Pa.) through five ECAC events. Connecticut and Cornell are deadlocked atop the ECAC standings with 16 points apiece.

IC4A Day One Recap
One week after sweeping the Big South men's shot put and weight throw titles, Smith recorded the best IC4A finish of his career on Saturday. The redshirt junior eclipsed the 63-foot barrier for the third straight meet, topping out at 63-2 for runner-up honors in the weight throw. Smith trailed only Bucknell senior Tom Barr's throw of 64-2.5 among the field of 34 entrants.

Like Smith, Shepherd built upon a successful performance at the Big South meet, where he had won his fourth indoor conference title. Shepherd's highest pole vault clearance of the day, 17-0.75, matched that of IC4A champion Kyle Dugan of Connecticut and runner-up Nico Weiler of Harvard. However, Shepherd was relegated to third place due to misses.

Shepherd took three attempts at 17-8.5, which would have won the competition and set a new school record. However, the redshirt senior was unsuccessful on all three tries.

Also in the pole vault, Cody Fridgen cleared 15-3 on his first attempt, tying for 14th place in the final standings.

The Flames' final two points of the day came in the men's 3K final, where sophomore Caleb Edmonds clocked a personal-best time of 8:16.59 for seventh place. Running in the second of three heats, Edmonds won his race by more than six seconds. Only six competitors in the third and fastest heat were able to run faster than Edmonds' time, which ranks him No. 5 in program history.

Edmonds now ranks among some of the most notable distance runners in program history, as the only Flames ever to run faster than 8:16.59 in the 3K are Sam Chelanga, Josh McDougal, Josh Cox and Jordan McDougal.

Competing in the first heat of the 3K, David Ricksecker lowered his personal-best time to 8:24.32, placing second in his section and 17th overall.

Liberty's 400 and 500-meter runners performed well on Saturday, punctuated by their effort in the day's final event, the 4 x 400 relay. The quartet of Leonard Robbins, Kyle Gill, Paul Arslain and Taylor Courtney raced to a season-best time of 3:13.81, placing a close second in their heat and advancing to Sunday's final with the ninth-fastest qualifying time overall. That grouping now ranks as the fourth-fastest 4 x 400 relay quartet in Liberty history and the fastest since 2007.

Earlier in the day, Courtney and Arslain each qualified for Sunday's 500-meter final. Courtney, the defending IC4A 500-meter champion, posted a season-best time of 1:03.47. Meanwhile, Arslain's time of 1:03.54 set a new personal best and ranks No. 7 in program history.

Although neither one of them qualified for the 400-meter dash final, both Kyle Gill (48.46) and Andre Washington (48.54) notched personal-best times in the prelims. Gill and Washington now sit No. 8 and 9, respectively, on Liberty's all-time performance list.

Tarell Williams made a solid IC4A debut in the long jump, placing 13th with a 22-3.75 leap.

Roderick Spruel advanced to Sunday's 60-meter dash semifinals, after crossing the line in 6.95 seconds in his preliminary heat.

ECAC Day One Recap
Big South Women's Outstanding Track Performer Jennifer Klugh was able to focus on just one race this weekend, after competing in the mile, 3K and 5K at the Big South meet. The senior came in sixth in the 5K final, clocking a time of 16:52.14 that was less than four seconds away from breaking her own school and Big South record.

Big South 5K champion Khristina Kanagy dropped eight seconds off of her personal-best 5K time on Saturday, running a 17:27.13 for third in her heat and 14th place overall in the event.

Another newly-crowned Big South champion, Mychelle Cumings, was also in action for the Lady Flames on Saturday. The freshman placed 14th in the shot put final, reaching 43-8.5 on her best throw.

Meghan Burggraf improved her career-best 800-meter time to 2:11.08, earning a spot in the final for the second year in a row.

Olivia Charnuski clocked a time of 8.72 to make the semifinals of the 60-meter hurdles. However, the Canadian was unable to advance to Sunday's final.

The IC4A and ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships will conclude on Sunday. Smith and David Scouten will be the first Flames to compete at the IC4A meet, beginning the shot put at 11 a.m. At the same time, Rachel Houseknecht and Shelley Parker will start pole vaulting at the ECAC meet across town.

Wood's Heptathlon Efforts Lead VMI on Day One at IC4A Championships
BOSTON, Mass. - Antonio Wood sits second in the heptathlon after four events, pacing VMI's efforts at day one of the IC4A Track and Field Championships, being held in Boston, Mass.

Wood, who won the Big South title in the event last Saturday, currently sits 31 points behind leader Jake Waruch of UConn. Wood holds 2,945 points, and a 77-point edge over third-place Nick Huber of Cornell. The VMI junior posted the second-fastest time in the 60-meter dash (7.16), was second in the long jump (6.75 M/22'1 ¾") and came back from a disappointing shot put effort to tie for the top mark in his best event, the high jump (2.01 M/6'7"). The remaining events in the heptathlon are the 60-meter hurdles, the pole vault and the 1,000-meter run.

The distance medley relay was also in action, and clocked in fourth in its heat with a 10:07.80 time. That time by the squad of Jason Thorpe (3:08), Kyle Fuller (49.1), Gabe Fisher (1:56.8) and Ermin Mujezinovic (4:13.8) was good for 17th place overall.

Also competing Saturday were Andrey Dmitriev, who finished 25th overall in the mile (4:19.67) and Jacob Lysher, taking part in his first individual IC4A event, the 800-meters (1:59.26/39th).

VMI track and field will return to action Sunday, as the Keydets wrap up competition at the IC4A Championships. Action is set to get underway at 9:30 a.m.

Three Highlanders Wrap Up Indoor Season at Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Justin Smith (Dayton, Va./Turner Ashby), Aimee Veatch (Roanoke, Va./Cave Spring) and Vincent Wyatt (Atlanta, Ga./William Fleming) all competed in the final indoor meet of 2011-12 at the VT Final Qualifier at Rector Field House Saturday afternoon.
Smith posted the second farthest shot put toss in school history with a 16.35m / 53-07.75 mark. He wrapped up the event in sixth place.
Veatch threw a season-best 18.70m / 61-04.25 in the weight throw to record yet another Top-5 showing. 
Following an all-conference showing last weekend in the 60m hurdles, Wyatt finalized his freshman indoor season with an 8.03 finals time to grab fifth place.  He ran an 8.25 in the prelims and 8.01 in the semifinals to qualify for the finals.
Radford takes to the outdoors March 16-17 when it takes part in the Wake Forest Open.

Bucs Compete at Last Chance Invite
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Select members of the CSU women's track & field team got a chance to extend their season after competing at the Virginia Tech Last Chance Invitational hosted by the Hokies at Rector Field House on Saturday.

Gabrielle Houston qualified for the semi-finals and finals in the 60-meter after running a 7.47 in the preliminaries. She then went a 7.49 in the semi-finals and 7.61 in the finals.

In the 60-meter hurdles, Mulern Jean ran an 8.53 in the preliminaries while teammate Patria Norman finished in 8.56 to both qualify for the semifinals. Jean then took third in semis, running an 8.45 to make the finals while Norman was fifth in 8.58. The two then took third and eighth in the finals, with Jean running an 8.46 while Norman finished in 8.93.

Norman also competed in the triple jump, taking sixth place with a jump of 5.65 meters.

Trio of Bucs Compete at VT Last Chance Meet
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Sprinters Javon Young and Rozzie Johnson were joined by long jumper Lavon Allen as the three looked to extend their indoor seasons competing at the Virginia Tech Last Chance Qualifier held by the Hokies at Rector Field House in Blacksburg on Saturday.

Young placed third in the preliminaries of the 60-meter dash with a 6.77, while Johnson was fifth in 6.78. The two flip-flopped in the semifinals, with Johnson taking third in 6.72 and Young coming in fourth with a time of 6.74. Young would then take second in the finals with a 6.69, while Johnson placed fifth in a time of 6.77.

Allen also had a strong outing, taking first overall in the long jump. He recorded a jump of 7.61 meters.

The Buccaneers will head to nearby Mt. Pleasant, S.C., for the Palmetto Classic. The meet, held March 9, will be the first of CSU's outdoor season.