Top Finishes Highlight Track & Field Action

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Shepherd, Smith Highlight Day 2 of Hokie Invite
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Liberty redshirt senior Kolby Shepherd pole vaulted 17-1 and redshirt junior Ryan Smith won the men's shot put title, leading the way for the Flames on day two of the Hokie Invitational, Saturday at Virginia Tech's Rector Field House.

Isaac Wendland also starred on the meet's final day, qualifying for the IC4A meet with his 1,000-meter time of 2:28.96. Additionally, the Lady Flames' quartet of Jacy Christiansen, Mia Aghaji, Meghan Burggraf and Jennifer Klugh hit the ECAC qualifying standard with an 11:58.50 clocking in the distance medley relay. Their efforts brought the total up to six new IC4A/ECAC qualifying performances on the week, which also included Wednesday's Hornet Sprints, Jumps and Throws Challenge at Lynchburg College.

Men's Meet Recap
Shepherd stepped into Rector Field House with fond memories of the facility, which will also host the 2012 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships next month. At last season's Hokie Invitational, Shepherd won the men's pole vault title with a career-best 17-7.25 leap while redshirting.

This time around, Shepherd got over 17-1 on his third attempt to finish third overall and second among collegiate athletes. It was the Georgia native's first time breaking the 17-foot barrier indoors in a Liberty uniform, and he joins Ken Howell and Todd Pettyjohn as the only Flames ever to do so.

Cody Fridgen also pole vaulted on Saturday, ending up in 10th place with a season-best 15-1.5 clearance. With Jon Drablos sailing over 15-1 the previous night, it gave Liberty a trio of 15-foot vaulters at the same meet.

Like Shepherd, Smith also built upon a strong performance from the 2011 Hokie Invitational, where he had finished second overall in the men's shot put final, but first among collegiate entrants. On Saturday, he won the event outright with a season-best 57-7 put, giving Smith a six-inch cushion over highly-touted Virginia freshman Nick Vena.

Smith, who remains undefeated in three shot put competitions this season, enjoyed a consistent series. All four of his legal throws landed at 17 meters (55-9.25) or longer.

Running the 1,000-meter event for the first time since placing as the 2011 IC4A runner-up, Wendland came in fourth in Saturday's race with his 2:28.96 clocking.

Wendland's cross country teammates Caleb Edmonds, Josh MacDonald and David Ricksecker finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in the men's 5K. Edmonds (14:49.30) and MacDonald (14:55.63) each dipped under the 15-minute barrier in season-best clockings for both runners.

Kyle Gill flirted with the IC4A 400-meter dash standard of 49.20 seconds but settled for a sixth-place finish in a season-best time of 49.40.

Kevin Reddington came in seventh in the men's long jump final, with his best leap of 22-11 falling just one inch shy of his top effort in 2011-12.

Women's Meet Recap
Klugh had just set the Liberty 3K school record Friday evening and hoped to stamp her name in the program's record book one more time on Saturday in the distance medley relay. Liberty's relay grouping of Christiansen, Aghaji, Burggraf and Klugh did not quite match the record time of 11:52.36, but they did finish second to Duke with a solid 11:58.50.

The ECAC-qualifying mark places this Liberty quartet at No. 3 in program history for the distance medley relay with the fastest time by the Lady Flames since 2001.

Like Shepherd in the men's pole vault, Parker achieved a notable milestone during Saturday's women's pole vault competition. The junior tied for 10th with an indoor personal-best clearance of 12-0. Parker joins Andrea Wildrick and Aimee Riley as the only Lady Flames ever to vault 12-0 or higher indoors.

Liberty's trio of women's shot putters swept three of the top six positions on Saturday, led by Emily Woods' runner-up effort. Woods reached 44-2.75 on her best throw, adding three-quarters of an inch to her personal best mark set three days earlier at the Hornet Sprints, Jumps and Throws Challenge.

Jocelyn Williams complemented her third-place weight throw finish from Friday with fourth place in the shot put, thanks to a mark of 39-9.25. Mychelle Cumings ended up sixth at 39-5.75.

Alyssa Allen posted a time of 19:17.50 to place fifth in the day's first event, the women's 5K.

High jumping for the first time this season, Aghaji tied for eighth place with a successful clearance at 5-4.25.
       
Liberty will return to the Tolsma Indoor Track Center for the second of three home meets on the 2011-12 indoor season schedule, the Liberty Open. The two-day event is slated to begin Friday at 2 p.m. with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles.

Smith Features Radford Track & Fields' Last Day in Hokie Invitational
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Senior Justin Smith (Dayton, Va./Turner Ashby) finished fourth in the shot put with a near personal-best toss on the final day of the Hokie Invitational Saturday afternoon. 
 
Smith recorded a 16.06m / 52-08.25 mark in the men's shot to capture his fourth-place showing, barely off his 16.07m personal-best indoor distance.
 
In the women's shot, freshman Jazmine Banks (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) tossed 11.62m / 38-01.50 to garner a ninth-place showing, while Sharee Fitzgerald (Chatham, Va./Chatham) wrapped the event up in 11th with a mark of 10.37m / 03.00. 
 
Brian Gorwitz (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) shattered his personal-best in the 3000m by 20 seconds.  Gorwitz capped the race with an 8:54.96 to record a 16th-place performance. Also in the 5000m, freshman Ryan Farnan (Winchester, Va./Millbrook) placed fifth with his time of 15:19.89. 
 
The short sprints were well represented in Saturday's races.  Kaise White (Houston, Texas/Freedom) crossed the finish line in seventh (49.61) in the men's 400m. Joseph Betts (Lancaster, Va./Lancaster) and Tehquin Warrick (Hampton, Va./Phoebus) performed well in the 200m, clocking times of 22.62 and 22.71 to finish 14th and 17th, respectively.
 
Shalonda Mitchell (Richmond, Va./Varina) registered a 2:21.07 in the women's 800m to finish ninth.
 
The foursome of Warrick, Brett Olinger (Timberville, Va./Broadway), Allen Dooms (Charlottesville, Va./Charlottesville) and White combined to run a 3:20.78 in the 4x400m to finish sixth.
 
The Highlanders are back in action next weekend when they take part in the Liberty Open Jan. 27-28.

Four Panthers Finish in Top Five of the 5k at Captain's Invitational
Junior Kelsey Hunt was the top collegiate finisher in the 5,000-meter, placing second overall with Kayleigh Perry, Audrey Malloy and Sarah Dorrell finishing her right behind her. Lynee Pina took home a tenth-place finish in the weight throw and freshman Catelyn Griffin placed in the top ten in the pole vault.

Hunt was the top collegiate finisher in the 5,000-meter, placing second overall in 18:20.84. Mollie Turner of Oiselle Racing won the event with a time of 17:39.95. Perry was third with a time of 18:29.32. It was the first time in her collegiate career she ran the 5k. Malloy (18:45.49), Dorrell (19:01.59), Lauren Blackwell (19:07.86) and Krista Willard (19:29.17) finished fourth through seventh.

Griffin cleared 9-11.75 in the pole vault for a ninth place finish. Carli Antor placed 14th in the event with a height of 8-11.75. On her fifth attempt Pina sent the weight throw 43-09.75 for a seventh place finish.

Freshman Emily Fisher picked up a 10th place finish in the 400-meter with a time of 1:01.57.

Senior Manika Gamble took sixth place in the 60-meter hurdles finishing the race in 8.97. Gamble advanced to the finals of the 60-meter hurdles with a 9.00 finish in the preliminaries. She was fourth in the qualifying race and the second collegiate finisher. She also finished 10th in the 200-meter in 26.47 but was the sixth collegiate finisher.

HPU will head to Chapel Hill, N.C. next weekend for the UNC Invitational.

Peachee Wins 3k, Scally Sets Weight Throw Record at CNU Invite
Sophomore Steven Scally broke his own school record in the weight throw and Dakota Peachee won the 3,000-meter to lead the High Point University men's track & field team in action at the Captain's Invitational in Newport News, Va.

Scally broke his own school record in the weight throw with a distance of 13.61 meters (44-8) on his fourth attempt. Scally finished fifth in the event. Last weekend he set the HPU record with a throw of 13.58 meters (44-6.75). Christian Spaulding placed sixth with a throw of 13.34 meters (43-9.25).

Peachee won the 3,000-meter, beating out teammate Patrick Crawford. Peachee finished in 8:43.27 and Crawford came in at 8:46.66. Jonathan Riley also ran the 3,000-meter in 9:16.58 for sixth place.

Neal Darmody, Reese Ayers, Jon Yankello and Mike Ali took the top four spots in the 5k. Darmody won the 5,000-meter in his season-opening race with a time of 15:21.66 while Ayers took second in 15:30.06. Yankello was third with a time of 15:36.10 and Ali rounded out the group in 15:41.6.

Monds, Jeff LaCoste and Jacob Smith placed second through fourth in the mile. The three ran together for most of the race with Monds taking off for the final stretch. Monds finished in 4:18.27 with LaCoste (4:20.70) and Smith (4:20.93) coming in behind him.

Evan Emery won his heat of the 60-meter dash in 7.02 to qualify for the finals of the event. In the finals he placed 10th with a time of 7.06.

Alex Fisher and Ryan Venable both qualified for the finals of the 60-meter hurdles. In the preliminaries Fisher won his heat with a time of 8.40 and Venable advanced with a time of 8.58. Fisher placed fifth in the finals with in 8.41 while Venable came in 10th at 8.57.

Monds, Sebastien Bonnot, Chris Muggler and Smith combined for a third-place finish in the DMR with a time of 10:22.01.

Tristan Faure set a personal best in the high jump. His jump of 6-00.75 was good for a fifth place finish.

Seth Harwood took eighth in the 800-meter with Mike Feroe collecting 12th place with times of 1:59.71 and 2:01.54, respectively.

Next weekend the Panthers will be at the UNC Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C.