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Christiansen Wins Big South Women's XC Title

November 1, 2014
|  Boiling Springs, N.C.
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Jacy Christiansen became the third Lady Flame ever to win the Big South women's cross country individual title.

Liberty senior Jacy Christiansen was the women's 5K individual champion at Saturday morning's 2014 Big South Cross Country Championships. She helped the Lady Flames finish second to High Point on a cold, windy, rainy morning on Gardner-Webb's campus. Meanwhile, the Liberty men's squad also placed second behind High Point, snapping the Flames' conference-record string of nine straight Big South team titles.

Christiansen was one of four Lady Flames to place in the top 20 overall, as Liberty totaled 73 team points for its 11th straight top-two finish at this meet. High Point captured its second women's title and first since 2011 with 67 points. The top five women's teams were separated by just 20 points, as third-place Radford (81 points) recorded its top Big South finish since 1990 and defending champion Coastal Carolina dropped to fifth place with 87 tallies.

On the men's side, freshman Titus Koech came in fourth and was one of seven Flames in the top 22 in the 8K. Liberty finished with 52 points for the runner-up spot, which marked its 12th consecutive top-two placement at this meet. High Point boasted six of the first 12 finishers, capturing its first team title since 2004 with 27 points and halting the Flames' streak of 24 consecutive Big South men's cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field team championships that dated back to 2006.

Christiansen was named Big South Women's Runner of the Year, and the senior communications major also earned a spot on the Big South All-Academic Team. Redshirt sophomore Will Templeton, an aeronautics major, also made the Big South All-Academic Team.

Women's 5K Championship Recap
Christiansen led nearly from start to finish while claiming her first Big South women's cross country individual title. Her course record 5K time of 17:37.64 put her 10 seconds in front of the race runner-up, Campbell freshman Joan Maritim. It shattered the previous course record by 21 seconds and was the third fastest time ever recorded by a Lady Flame at the Big South meet.

Christiansen becomes the third Lady Flame to win a Big South women's cross country individual crown, joining Heather Sagan (2000-01) and Jennifer Klugh (2010-11-12) in that exclusive club. She is also the seventh Lady Flame to earn three All-Big South honors in cross country.

Behind Christiansen, sophomore Jessie Proehl and redshirt junior Meredith Mistretta finished together in 14th and 15th places, respectively. Proehl's time was 18:58.53, while Mistretta crossed the line in 19:00.81.

One year after finishing 78th at this meet, sophomore Terrill Zentmeyer came in 20th in 19:12.59. Classmate Kat Bouton rounded out the Lady Flames' five scorers with a 23rd-place finish in a personal-best 19:20.55 clocking.

Redshirt junior Caroline Parris was Liberty's No. 6 runner, placing 30th in 19:35.49. Sophomore Lindsey Bray followed in 43rd place with a time of 20:08.37.

Men's 8K Championship Recap
Koech, who led for part of the men's 8K, became the first freshman to serve as Liberty's men's No. 1 runner at this meet since Josh McDougal in 2004. He was the second fastest freshman finisher in the meet with his time of 25:15.7 and was one of four conference rookies to place inside the top 10 overall.

Junior Sam Hibbs clocked 25:42.8 for sixth place, earning All-Big South honors for the second straight year at this meet.

Redshirt sophomore Josh Showalter earned his first career All-Big South award with an 11th-place finish. He traversed the course in 25:58.3 in his first visit to the Big South Cross Country Championships.

Freshman Stalline Kurgat (15th place, 26:08.1) and redshirt sophomore Will Templeton (16th place, 26:08.4) finished side-by-side to close out Liberty's scorers.

Redshirt senior Josh MacDonald posted a 19th-place finish in 26:23.2, while freshman Graham Hansel was 22nd in a time of 26:37.9. Fellow freshman Cameron Francis crossed the line 25th overall in 26:42.7, giving the Flames eight of the top 25 finishers in the field of 82 men's entrants.

A number of Liberty runners will wrap up their 2014 cross country season at the Hokie Open, Friday at Virginia Tech's Buford Meredith Cross Country Course in Blacksburg, Va. The men's 6K will begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by the women's 4K at 5:10.

Other Flames and Lady Flames will take next weekend off from competition in preparation for the 2014 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships. The meet will take place at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 14.

Final Men's Team Scores
1) High Point – 27
2) Liberty – 52
3) Campbell – 75
4) Radford – 141
5) UNC Asheville – 156
6) Winthrop – 170
7) Coastal Carolina – 184
8) Longwood – 191
9) Charleston Southern – 289
10) Gardner-Webb – 305
11) Presbyterian – 318

Final Women's Team Scores
1) High Point – 67
2) Liberty – 73
3) Radford – 81
4) Campbell – 83
5) Coastal Carolina – 87
6) UNC Asheville – 109
7) Gardner-Webb – 210
8) Winthrop – 212
9) Charleston Southern – 248
10) Longwood – 295
11) Presbyterian – 304

Men's Runner of the Year
Jeff LaCoste, High Point

Women's Runner of the Year
Jacy Christiansen, Liberty

Men's Freshman of the Year
Jacob Kipserem, Campbell

Women's Freshman of the Year
Joan Maritim, Campbell

Men's Coach of the Year
Mike Esposito, High Point

Women's Coach of the Year
Jenna Wrieden, High Point

Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Reece Ayers, High Point

Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Teresa Williamson, Radford

Men's All-Academic Team
Anthony Hughes, Campbell
Caleb Breeden, Charleston Southern
Evan Niciphor, Coastal Carolina
Reece Ayers, High Point
Will Templeton, Liberty
Russell Reed, Longwood
Reid McCandless, Presbyterian
Caleb Smith, UNC Asheville
Blake White, Winthrop

Women's All-Academic Team
Michelle Kauffman, Campbell
Jessie Dotson, Charleston Southern
Kyla van Graan, Coastal Carolina
Jenna Ford, Gardner-Webb
Julia Zautcke, High Point
Jacy Christiansen, Liberty
Gracie Piekarski, Longwood
Gabriele Lesieur, Presbyterian
Teresa Williamson, Radford
Adrian Etheridge, UNC Asheville
Sarah DeVaux, Winthrop