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Liberty to Open 2014 XC Season Friday

August 28, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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(L-R): Jeremie Bourget, Josh MacDonald and Sam Hibbs are expected to be three of the Flames' top runners in 2014.

Panorama Farms Information

4K Course Map

Earlysville Weather

For the second consecutive season, the Liberty men's and women's cross country teams will open the year by competing in the UVa Duals. The low-key meet is slated for Friday afternoon at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va.

Both the men's and women's races will be 4Ks, with the first race beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Weather Report
The weather is forecasted to be warm for distance running on Friday, with a high temperature in the low 80s under partly cloudy skies.

Scouting the Competition
Liberty will match up against host Virginia, Duke, Florida State, James Madison and Norfolk State on Friday. Duke and Florida State will make the trek to Earlysville to preview the Panorama Farms course, which will play host to the 2014 ACC Championships.

On the women's side, the meet will feature two of the top 10 teams in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason national poll, in No. 3 Florida State and No. 10 Virginia. Meanwhile, the Virginia men's squad is ranked No. 14 nationally with Florida State checking in at No. 24.

Checking Out the Course
The looping, undulating terrain of Panorama Farms is quite familiar to the Liberty cross country teams. The Flames and Lady Flames ran a trio of meets at Panorama Farms last season and are scheduled for two races there in 2014 (also the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational on Sept. 26).

Three of Liberty's current runners fared quite well in the Flames' most recent trip to Panorama Farms, at the 2013 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships (Nov. 15, 2013). In the men's 10K, redshirt senior Josh MacDonald placed 15th to earn all-region honors and narrowly miss qualifying for the national meet, while junior teammate Jeremie Bourget crossed the line 31st.

Lady Flames senior Jacy Christiansen clocked a 6K personal-best time of 21:52.5 in the women's race that day, placing 57th overall and second among Big South Conference entrants.

Great Expectations
In 2013, Liberty won its ninth straight Big South men's cross country title. With its top three finishers from the Big South meet returning, the Flames are favored to claim their 10th conference title in a row. Additionally, head coach Brant Tolsma's squad is ranked No. 10 in the Southeast Region to start the season.

The Lady Flames, who finished as the Big South runner-up in 2013, are picked to finish second to Coastal Carolina once again in 2014. The Liberty women's cross country team has recorded 10 consecutive top-two finishes at the Big South meet.

Big South's Best
A number of Liberty runners are among the Big South Conference's top returnees in 2014. Redshirt senior Josh MacDonald is a two-time all-conference performer in cross country, while teammates Jeremie Bourget, Sam Hibbs and Will Templeton have each earned a single All-Big South cross country honor during their respective careers.

On the women's side, senior Jacy Christiansen has earned a pair of All-Big South accolades in cross country, while sophomore Jessie Proehl was an all-conference honoree as a freshman in 2013.

Welcome Back
David Cheromei rejoins the Liberty program this season as a full-time assistant coach for cross country and track & field. A 10-time NAIA national champion during his collegiate career at Virginia Intermont, Cheromei previously served as the Flames' cross country/track & field graduate assistant from the 2007 cross country season through the 2009 outdoor track & field campaign.

Spanning the Globe
The Liberty men's cross country team will have a strong international flavor this season. Junior Jeremie Bourget (Timmins, Ontario, Canada) will be joined by countryman Graham Hansel (Powassan, Ontario, Canada) and Stalline Kurgat (Eldoret, Kenya), under the direction of new assistant coach David Cheromei (Eldoret, Kenya).