Liberty Flames HS Invitational Coverage


Sean McGorty (pictured by Gabe Lamartina) of Chantilly slingshot himself around the Tolsma Track Center 200 meter indoor oval for a nation's best 4:11.35 1600 meter run.

Friday Highlights:

A US #1 4:11.50 (60-63-64-62) 1600 meter performance by Chantilly senior Sean McGorty was the top highlight from the first day of the Liberty Flames High School Invitational in Lynchburg, Virginia. An impressive follow-up race for McGorty after his 9:07 3200 to kickstart his indoor season last weekend at the Southern Maryland Indoor Classic. McGorty will be featured Saturday on Chantilly's 4x800 meter relay and completing a weekend triple with racing towards a time likely near 2:30 in the 1000 meter run. Group AA runners Matthew Borny (2nd, 4:18.81) of Blacksburg and David Cedillo (3rd, 4:20.19) of Brookville were the next finishers after McGorty with his teammate and returning Group AAA state indoor 1600 champ Logan Miller in fourth place (4:20.67).

It was sweep for the Chantilly program in the seeded 1600 meter races on Friday night as Kendall Cowne was able to seize the lead away from girls' race leader Katie Fortner of Cave Spring before the bell lap and hold off a late surge by Fortner (2nd, 5:01.35) on the homestretch for a 5:01.20. Cowne made her early impressions two years ago at a Liberty University track meet and has continued to improve and become of the state's top middle distance runners. Fortner, a sub 4:50 miler last winter at the New Balance Indoor Nationals, comes back tomorrow as the top seed in the 3200 meter run.

A freshmen stole the show in the 300 meter dash for the girls in Patrick Henry (Ashland)'s Tiffany Harris. Harris shifted into overdrive off the final turn to pass early race leader Kacey Wheeler (4th, 42.35) of James Robinson with a 41.97 clocking. The next fastest times came from the previous section winners in Delaney Wickman (42.12) of South Lakes and Diana Young (42.29) of Clover Hill.

Nathan Kiley of Westfield has great range as shown in coming off a cross country season with a 16:46 5K and sub 16 minute 3 mile, while then winning the 300 meter dash at Liberty with a near sub 36 clocking in his 36.01 performance. Kiley was a key leg on Westfield's Penn Relays Championships of America 4x800 last April, which graduated one of their best legs in Tyrone Walker. Kiley ran 1:53 last spring in the open 800 and will see if his range allows him to excel in the 1000 meter run on Saturday at Liberty. 

On his first attempt, Manchester senior Christian Rogers was able to establish a new meet record in the boys' triple jump with a mark of 46'11.25", which carried him through the finals to first place. Rogers is a three-time All-State performer in Group AAA in the triple jump and will be in the mix with others for the state title certainly this year if he continues to jump over 46 feet and around his personal best of 48'4".

Saturday Highlights:

On Saturday, Chantilly's McGorty came back in two events in the 4x800 meter relay and 1000 meter run. In the 4x800, the Chantilly boys ran a state leading time of 8:02.91 to establish a new meet record as McGorty anchored with a 1:55 split. Later in the 1000 meter run, McGorty went 59 seconds through the first 400 meters and split 2:01.3 at 800 meters before finishing in a US #5 performance of 2:30.24. McGorty led 6 others under 2:35 in the 1000 with the state's top five fastest times this season in McGorty, Westfield's Nathan Kiley (2:31.54), Radford's Walker Mogen (2:32.09), Chantilly's Logan Miller (2:32.54), and Blacksburg's Matthew Borny (2:33.00).

The Raymond siblings swept the 55 meter dash finals as Seye Raymond edged out Pulaski County's Sydney Anderson in a photo finish with both clocking times at 7.51 as only a thousandths of a second margin separated the two at the line, while her older brother Ayo Raymond was a bit more definitive in his victory with a 6.58 clocking following a 6.53 prelim performance.

Photo by Jon Fleming

Pulaski County's Anderson was a runner-up again later in the 500 meter dash as she set a strong early pace and had victory in sight rolling off the final turn, but was caught in the final strides by Blacksburg junior and district rival Kendell Wiles who posted a state best time of 1:16.08, which also ranks Wiles #5 in the United States. Second and third place finishers Anderson (US #9 1:16.39) of Pulaski County and Kyannah Calhoun (US #10 1:16.92) of South County also posted US top 10 times in the 500 meter dash at Liberty University.

Brookville's David Cedillo was the only runner in the field committed to try and roll a fast time in the first half of the race as he went through the 1600 under 4:45, while the rest of the field including Chantilly's Faris Sakallah lingered back in a chase pack well over 4:50 for the first 1600. However, Sakallah found himself in range of chasing down Cedillo on the bell lap and was able to catch him in time for the 9:44.38 win and Cedillo in second at 9:45.40.

The Clover Hill girls rolled to an impressive 4x200 meter relay time of 1:46.19 at the Tolsma Track Center as they were nearly two seconds faster than the next best squad in James Robinson (1:48.00), who later had a quartet win the 4x400 meter relay event in 4:06.08..

Micah Brickhill of Liberty Christian Academy led wire to wire in the 1000 meter run as she was challenged through much of the race by 1600 meter winner Kendall Cowne of Chantilly, but was able to power away on the final lap to a personal best time of 3:01.41. Jefferson Forest sophomore Alyssa Shupe closed strong as well on the final lap in a PR effort of 3:02.41 for second place.

Cave Spring junior Katie Fortner nearly lapped the entire field in the 3200 meter run en route to a 39 second margin of victory with her final time of 11:02.07 as she gave a good solo run after a sub 11 minute performance at the Liberty Invitational.

Two cleared 5'4" in the girls' high jump, but only one could be the winner in James Robinson's Uloma Nwaolu over Clover Hill's Julia Logan on a tiebreaker of earlier misses. 

More to come from Liberty including race videos, photo galleries, and interviews.


Photos by Andrew Kicinski

Performance list for this weekend's Liberty Flames High School Invitational is posted.  Another large and deep meet will be found at the Tolsma Track Center for this two day meet. will be on-site with coverage. The 1600 meter races on Friday will be led by Foot Locker Nationals runner-up Sean McGorty of Chantilly in a boys' race with five runners seeded under 4:20 and 16 under at 4:30, while sub 4:50 miler Katie Fortner of Cave Spring will be a race with two Northern Region runners Kendall Cowne of Chantilly and Macey Schweikert who are capable of posting a time south of 5 minutes.


Liberty Flames High School Invitational Time Schedule

Friday and Saturday, January 11th & 12th
Schedule Updated Jan. 8 

Friday January 11th

Running Events 
3:00pm Track Opens 
4:30pm 300m Dash Final (Girls) 
5:15pm 300m Dash Final (Boys) 
6:00pm 55m Dash (Girls) 
6:20pm 55m Dash (Boys) 
6:45pm 1600m Final (Girls 5:41 & faster) 
7:15pm 1600m Final (Boys 4:40 & faster) 
7:45pm 1600m Final (Girls/Boys) remaining sections 

Field Events
4:30pm LJ Prelim/Final (Girls) 15-3 & below 
HJ Final (Boys) 
TJ Prelim/Final (Boys) 39-5 & below 
PV Final (Girls) 
5:45pm LJ Prelim/Final (Girls) 15-4 & above 
TJ Prelim/Final (Boys) 39-6 & above 

Saturday January 12th 

Running Events
7:30am Track Opens 
9:15am 3200m Relay (Girls) 
9:30am 3200m Relay (Boys) 
10:00am 55m Hurdle Prelims (Boys) 
10:25am 55m Hurdle Prelims (Girls) 
10:50am 55m Dash Finals (Girls) 
10:55am 55m Dash Finals (Boys) 
11:00am 55m Hurdle Final (Girls) 
11:05am 55m Hurdle Final (Boys) 
11:10am 800m Relay Final (Girls) 
11:40am 800m Relay Final (Boys) 
12:15pm 1000m Run Final (Girls) 
12:50pm 1000m Run Final (Boys) 
1:35pm 500m Dash Final (Girls) 
2:30pm 500m Dash Final (Boys) 
3:15pm 3200m Run Final (Girls) 
3:50pm 3200m Run Final (Boys 10:41 & faster) 
4:25pm 1600m Relay Final (Girls) 
4:55pm 1600m Relay Final (Boys) 
5:35pm 3200m Run Final (Boys) remaining sections 

Field Events
9:15am LJ Prelim/Final (Boys) 19-1 & below 
HJ Final (Girls) 
TJ Prelim/Final (Girls) 31-7 & below 
PV Final (Boys) 
SP Prelim/Final (Girls) 
10:45am LJ Prelim/Final (Boys) 19-2 & above
TJ Prelim/Final (Girls) 31-8 & above 
1:00pm SP Prelim/Final (Boys)