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Liberty XC Opens Season at UVa Duals
Both the Liberty men's and women's cross country teams picked up victories over Norfolk State during the season-opening UVa Duals, on a warm, sunny Friday afternoon at Panorama Farms.
The Liberty men's squad went 1-3 on the day, defeating Norfolk State by a 25-30 count and falling to a trio of ACC opponents, No. 14 Virginia (25-30), No. 24 Florida State (15-40) and Duke (20-35).
Meanwhile, the Lady Flames posted a 15-40 win over Norfolk State while losing to No. 3 Florida State (15-40), No. 10 Virginia (16-39), Duke (15-40) and James Madison (22-33).
Liberty's five men's runners ran the undulating 4K course as a pack, finishing 16th through 20th in the field of 28 collegiate finishers. Junior Sam Hibbs led the way for the Flames in 13:09, followed closely by teammates Josh MacDonald (13:10), Will Templeton (13:10), Graham Hansel (13:11) and Stalline Kurgat (13:12).
Host Virginia boasted three of the top four men's finishers, paced by Mike Marsella's winning clocking of 12:19.
Senior Jacy Christiansen was the Lady Flames' top runner on Friday, placing 26th of 53 entrants in a 4K time of 15:33. Liberty's next four finishers crossed the line within six seconds of each other, including redshirt junior Meredith Mistretta (31st place, 15:58), redshirt junior Caroline Parris (33rd, 16:00), sophomore Kat Bouton (34th, 16:03) and sophomore Terrill Zentmeyer (35th, 16:04).
Sophomore Lindsey Bray (37th, 16:16) and senior Mary Cate Cooper (39th, 16:25) rounded out the Lady Flames' top seven finishers on the afternoon.
Duke's Wesley Frazier won the women's 4K in 14:01, leading the Blue Devils to a 1-2-3-4 finish overall and victories in all five of their dual competitions.
Liberty will return to action at the Gardner-Webb XC Invitational, set for Sept. 13 on Gardner-Webb's campus in Boiling Springs, N.C. The day's first race will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the venue for the 2014 Big South Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships.