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7 Flames Set for Friday's Hokie Open
Seven Liberty cross country runners will wrap up their respective 2013 seasons at Friday afternoon's Hokie Open. The low-key meet will mark the seventh straight year Liberty has competed in an event at the Virginia Tech Cross Country Course in Blacksburg, Va.
The day will feature two shorter-than-usual races, beginning with a men's 6K at 4:30 p.m., followed by a women's 4K at 5:15. Jacob Onifer is expected to be the lone Flames entrant in the men's race, with Lindsey Bray, Mary Cate Cooper, Kaitlyn Hutchins, Alexis Taylor, Megan Versen and Terrill Zentmeyer set for the women's competition.
The weather will be a bit cool Friday afternoon despite the forecasted sunny skies. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 40s in Blacksburg.
Checking Out the Course
The terrain is mostly flat at the on-campus Virginia Tech Cross Country Course, which will be a welcome change for the Liberty runners who just competed in the Big South Cross Country Championships at the hilly Vista Links Golf Course on Saturday.
Friday's race will make it seven straight years that Liberty has competed in a race at Virginia Tech, but only two of the Flames' entrants (Jacob Onifer and Mary Cate Cooper) have ever run there. This is the first time the Flames have been represented at the Hokie Open since 2007.
Onifer has raced at the course twice, competing unattached at the 2011 and 2012 Virginia Tech Alumni Invitationals. In 2011, he opened his collegiate career with an 18th-place finish at Virginia Tech, coming in ahead of teammates Zach Barker and Will Reeves.
Additionally, Cooper was the Lady Flames' No. 10 finisher at the 2012 Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational, coming in 43rd overall.
From A to Zentmeyer
The first Liberty women's cross country runner in program history with a last name starting with "Z," Terrill Zentmeyer enjoyed a unique introduction to the team on Saturday. The Big South Cross Country Championships marked the first time that the freshman from Odessa, Fla., got the chance to wear a Liberty uniform in competition. She was the No. 10 runner for the Big South runner-up Lady Flames, coming in 78th overall in a 5K time of 22:29.48.
Bouncing Back from Big South
Four of Liberty's entrants for the Hokie Open raced at the Big South Cross Country Championships on Saturday, helping the Flames win the men's team title and the Lady Flames earn the women's runner-up trophy.
Jacob Onifer was the men's team's No. 9 finisher, coming in 38th overall in an 8K time of 28:03.
On the women's side, Alexis Taylor (57th place, 20:42) ran in the No. 8 spot for the Lady Flames, Lindsey Bray (62nd place, 20:58) was No. 9 and Terrill Zentmeyer (78th place, 22:29) was No. 10.
Reaching the Finish Line
Friday's Hokie Open will most likely be the final race of the 2013 season for each of Liberty's competitors there. The Flames and Lady Flames will be limited to seven entrants apiece at the 2013 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships, which are set for Nov. 15 at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va.