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Liberty XC Prepared for Pre-Nationals
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Terre Haute Weather
The Liberty men's and women's cross country teams will face a host of nationally and regionally ranked opponents at Saturday's ISU Pre-National Invitational. The meet will be contested at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind., the site of the 2014 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships
The Flames will compete in the men's 8K blue (seeded) race at 11:35 a.m., while the Lady Flames are entered in the women's 6K white (non-seeded) race at 12:15 p.m.
How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available during all of Saturday's races, courtesy of Branch Sports Technology.
For a subscription fee, Flotrack will provide live video streaming coverage of the ISU Pre-National Invitational races.
Updates will also be available on the USTFCCCA's Weekend Results Wall.
Saturday looks to be a nice day for distance running in Terre Haute, with a high temperature in the upper 50s under partly cloudy skies.
Scouting the Competition
The Liberty men's squad will face some stiff competition in the blue race. Seven nationally ranked teams headline the field of 43 teams, including No. 1 Colorado and No. 2 Oregon. The Flames, who are ranked No. 9 in the Southeast Region, will also meet regional foes Furman (No. 3 Southeast), NC State (No. 4 Southeast), Louisville (No. 7 Southeast) and Duke (No. 12 Southeast).
In the women's white race, the Lady Flames will be part of a 39-team field including 14 regionally ranked squads. That list includes No. 13 Western Kentucky and No. 14 Louisville from the Southeast Region.
Checking Out the Course
The LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course will host the 2014 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, marking the 11th time in 13 years that the NCAA national meet has been contested in Terre Haute.
Some of Liberty's greatest moments in cross country have been achieved in Terre Haute, including NCAA national titles by Josh McDougal (2007) and Sam Chelanga (2009 and 2010).
Chelanga owns the 8K course record at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, with his winning time of 22:51.3 from the 2008 Pre-Nationals white race. He also set the Liberty men's cross country 10K record (28:41.3) while winning the 2009 NCAA title.
A Look Back at Last Year
Like this season, the Liberty men's team competed in the blue race and the women's team was entered in the white race at the 2013 ISU Pre-National Invitational. The Flames placed 37th out of 52 teams in the blue race, paced by Josh MacDonald's 109th-place finish.
On the women's side, the Lady Flames came in 31th of 35 squads in the white race. Jacy Christiansen led the way individually, placing 49th in a 6K time of 22:01.91.
Past Performances at Pre-Nationals
Liberty men's runners finished first at Pre-Nationals five times in a six-year span between 2005 and 2010. Josh McDougal took top honors in the Pre-Nationals men's 8K white race in 2005, 2006 and 2007, while Sam Chelanga won the men's 8K white race in both 2008 (course-record time of 22:51.3) and 2010.
Chelanga's performance in 2010 led the Flames to their best-ever team finish at Pre-Nationals. Liberty came in 10th of 36 teams in the men's 8K white race that year, defeating No. 21 Tulsa and No. 25 Minnesota in the process.
Jennifer Klugh achieved the best-ever individual showing by a Lady Flame at Pre-Nationals, coming in 36th in the women's 6K blue race in 2010 with a time of 21:01.6.
The Lady Flames' top Pre-Nationals team placement was 23rd in the 2007 6K white race. Piper Newby led the charge with a then school-record clocking of 21:22.5. Current assistant coach Rebekah Ricksecker was Liberty's No. 3 runner that day, placing 123rd overall in 22:01.8.
First Trip to Terre Haute
Five of Liberty's seven men's runners will be racing at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course for the first time on Saturday, including redshirt sophomores Josh Showalter and Will Templeton and freshmen Graham Hansel, Titus Koech and Stalline Kurgat.
For the second time this season, redshirt sophomore Will Templeton will race against his younger brother. Aaron Templeton is a freshman runner for No. 26 Furman.
At the Sept. 26 Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational, Aaron Templeton came in 16th overall while Will Templeton was 58th.
Saturday's race will mark Liberty's final competition prior to the championship portion of the 2014 season. The Flames and Lady Flames will next race on Nov. 1 at the 2014 Big South Cross Country Championships in Boiling Springs, N.C.
Campbell is the only other Big South team slated to compete in the ISU Pre-National Invitational. The Camels and Lady Flames will go head-to-head in the women's white race, but the Campbell and Liberty men's teams are entered in different races on Saturday.