“If you think you can win, you can. Faith is necessary to victory,” said British writer William Hazlitt.
Liberty senior Josh McDougal certainly has faith and as far as last Saturday, he had recorded his third consecutive victory at the Pre-Nationals meet in Terra Haute, Ind.
Josh did not just claim first place, though. He also took a chunk off his old course record at the same time, dropping 16 seconds to put the new record at twenty-two minutes and fifity-six seconds. The pace was a quick 4:36 per mile over a hilly eight kilometer course.
The race was even more impressive because Arizona’s Lopez Lomong (23:02) and Villanova’s Bobby Curtis (23:09) cruised under Josh’s previous record.
“It felt really, really good to break the record again,” Josh said after crossing the finish line. “A few of the guys raced really well today, it was a good day for it.”
While Josh won the overall prize, he was followed in strong pursuit by the rest of the Liberty men, as the team finished 17th out of 40 total teams.
Jordan McDougal followed his brother’s lead and hammered one of his fastest times yet, taking 30th place in 23:49. Behind Jordan was senior Jarvis Jelen in 40th place, sophomore Josh Edmonds in 154th and freshman Corey Reed in 221st, rounding out the top five. Their times were 24:00, 24:59 and 25:42, respectfully.
Also running for the Flames was sophomore Jordan Whitlock in 27:08, good for 263rd place.
“Jordan and I went out a little slower this year,” Jelen said. “We knew we went too fast at the beginning last year. We were in over 100th place for the first few miles but our splits were right where we wanted them.”
In the six kilometer race, the Liberty women showed the men that they had a little bit of speed in their legs as well, claiming 23rd overall in the team division.
Piper Newby, the familiar Flame frontrunner, once again led the charge, taking 63rd place in a quick 21:22. Newby’s time was good enough to break her own course record by a solid nine seconds. The race was won by University of Colorado runner Jenny Barringer in 19:48.
Newby was followed by a few fast-charging Flames in freshman Dacia Bushman, senior Rebekah Ricksecker and freshman Kati Albright. The three came through in 96th (21:43), 123rd (22:01) and 160th (22:36), respectfully.
“I started off conservatively and kept it fairly even,” Ricksecker said after the race. “I was following Dacia for a while there and we worked our way up the pack the entire way.” ?
Rounding out the top five Flames was freshman Rachel Valliere in 22:55, good for 182nd place. Other Liberty runners were senior Carol Jefferson, 208th in 23:40, and senior Ashley Osborne, 213th in 23:56.
Both teams raved about the supreme weather conditions in Terra Haute last Saturday morning during the racing hours.
“The weather was perfect today,” Osborne stated. “It couldn’t have been better.”
“As far as running conditions, it was really nice,” Jelen stated. “It was mid-60s, sunny and with a slight breeze.”
The Liberty Flames cross country squads lace up their spikes next on Oct. 27th in Henderson, N.C., for the Big South Championships. Both teams will look to match their Conference Championship titles from last year’s competition. ? ? ?
Contact David Hunt at email@example.com.