RU Track and Field dominates at Liberty

Sophomore Amber Church is a rising star for Women's Track & Field.

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AJ Neuharth-Keusch

Sophomore Amber Church is a rising star for Women's Track & Field.

Radford University Track and Field met for their third invitational of the indoor season over the weekend at Liberty University in the Liberty Open.
The Open had dozens of different schools in competition, some that were extremely unique for an event held in Lynchburg, Va., such as a school from Hong Kong, China. Other notable universities from out of state were Charlotte, Bethune-Cookman, UNC Wilmington, and Winston-Salem.
RU had men and women participants in a variety of events, including the 60, 200, 400, and 800 meter runs, 60 meter hurdles, one mile run, pole vault, high jump, long jump, triple jump, shot put, weight throws, etc.
With an average of about 20 contestants in each event, the competition was intense and the standards were high. RU didn’t seem phased by this, as they placed in the top three 15 times in the preliminary and final rounds of the different events.
With their domination throughout the invitational, some RU contestants were destined to make their marks in the record books, as well as the post-invitational statistics. Destiny was reached, as not only personal records, but RU records were broken during the course of the weekend.
The RU hurdlers set the tone for the record-breaking day. Amongst the record-setters were sophomore hurdler Courtni Pannell and freshman hurdler Vincent Wyatt, who respectively recorded the second and third best times in RU history for 60 meter hurdles, in addition to winning both of their events.
However, not only did the hurdlers made their way into the history books, but throwers did as well.
Senior Justin Smith set an RU shot put record with a throw of 16.25 meters, which rewarded him second place in the finals of the event.
Smith has been performing well for the Highs for his whole track and field career, and has recorded accolades such as Big South Indoor All-Conference in shot put and Big South Field Athlete of the Week in the 2010-2011 season.
Even though team win-loss records aren’t recorded in Division I Track and Field, it is obvious that the Highs are performing to the best of their ability week in and week out.
The team has looked impressive thus far, and with the massive amount of youth on the team, things are looking promising for the future.
The Highs have 23 freshmen on the men’s and women’s rosters, out of a combined total of 64 members.
RU will next be in action on Feb. 10 and 11 at the Akron Invitational in Akron, Ohio, continuing the four-month span before they make their mark at the annual Highlander Invitational in April.