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Kurgat Blazes Record-Setting 15:47 5K
Liberty cross country All-American Ednah Kurgat opened her sophomore indoor track & field season with a bang at Friday's Husky Classic at Dempsey Indoor. She placed fourth in the women's 5K in 15:47.89, lopping 40 seconds off of her own Liberty and Big South Conference records.
Kurgat's time ranks No. 12 nationally at this point in the season, putting the native of Eldoret, Kenya in good position to qualify for the 2016 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships for the first time.
Kurgat's first 5K of the indoor season was a record breaker for the second consecutive season. She previously sped to a time of 16:28.29 at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup on Feb. 6, 2015 in University Park, Pa. That effort stood as the Liberty and Big South record, as well as Kurgat's personal best, until Friday.
Kurgat defeated a number of talented competitors on the 307-meter Dempsey Indoor oval on Friday, including two of the 11 runners who finished ahead of her at the 2015 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships (Boise State's Brenna Peloquin and Colorado's Erin Clark), two top-five finishers in the 2015 NCAA Division I women's 10K final (Oregon's Molly Grabill and Oregon's Waverly Neer) and the reigning USATF women's cross country national champion (Asics' Mattie Suver).
Tennessee's Chelsea Blaase, who placed fourth in the women's 5K at the 2015 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, won Friday's race in 15:43.81.
Liberty will take next week off from competition in preparation for the 2016 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. The meet will be contested Feb. 26-27 at Rector Field House in Blacksburg, Va. The Liberty men's squad will seek its 19th consecutive Big South indoor team title, while the Lady Flames will be in search of their first indoor championship since 2012.