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Koech Paces Flames at NCAA SE Regional
Liberty freshman Titus Koech placed 28th in the men's 10K, highlighting the Flames' day at the 2014 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships. Meanwhile, Lady Flames senior Jacy Christiansen finished 47th in the women's 6K on a chilly Friday afternoon at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.
Koech clocked a time of 30:59.7 in the first 10K of his collegiate career and was the third freshman to cross the finish line. He helped the Flames place 15th in the men's team standings with 433 points. No. 28 Virginia (75 points) and No. 16 Furman (79 points) claimed the two automatic qualifying spots to the 2014 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.
Christiansen's career-best 6K time of 21:19.0 was good for 47th place out of 257 women's runners. She contributed to the Lady Flames' 19th-place finish with 586 points, an improvement upon their 23rd-place effort at this meet in 2013. Unranked William & Mary was the surprise women's team champion, scoring 74 points to edge No. 14 Virginia (82 points) for top honors.
Men's 10K Race Recap
Koech, who ran inside the top 20 during the early stages of the race, was the second fastest Big South finisher on the day, trailing only High Point's Jeff LaCoste (19th place). Koech recorded the highest regional finish by a Liberty freshman since Ngetich Kipchirchir came in 26th at the 2012 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships.
Redshirt senior Josh MacDonald wrapped up his collegiate career with an 88th-place finish. His official time was 32:00.2. Junior Sam Hibbs made it three Flames in the top 100, coming in 99th with a time of 32:14.4.
Redshirt sophomore Josh Showalter moved up through the field well during his regional meet debut. He passed 16 runners during the final 2K of the race, ending up in 105th place with a 32:22.6 clocking. Classmate Will Templeton served as the Flames' fifth scorer, completing the course in 32:45.2 for 127th place.
Women's 6K Race Recap
Two weeks after claiming the Big South individual title, Christiansen lopped 33 seconds off of her previous best 6K effort in the final race of her collegiate cross country career. The effort earned her best-ever placement at this meet, 47th.
Sophomore Jessie Proehl also clocked her fastest 6K time, 22:16.9. After passing 16 competitors during the final half of the race, she ended up in the 102nd position overall. Redshirt junior Meredith Mistretta followed in 131st place, crossing the line in 22:37.4.
Sophomore Kat Bouton fashioned one of the Lady Flames' most impressive performances on Friday. She moved up 20 places after the halfway mark, ending up in 149th place with a 22:55.7 time. That was an improvement of 63 places and 1:07 over her effort at the 2013 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships.
Liberty's No. 5 runner, redshirt junior Caroline Parris, made a successful regional meet debut, placing 170th and improving her 6K best from 23:58.44 to 23:07.7.
Sophomores Lindsey Bray and Terrill Zentmeyer came in back-to-back in 206th and 207th places, respectively. Bray's time of 23:45.4 shattered her previous 6K best of 24:53.4, while Zentmeyer posted a 23:49.2.