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4 Flames to Race at Stanford Invitational

April 3, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Junior Jacy Christiansen will be Liberty's first athlete to compete at the 2014 Stanford Invitational, racing in the women's 5K on Friday at 1:40 p.m. Eastern.

Meet Schedule (Times Listed are Pacific)

Entries/Live Results

Flotrack Live Video Streaming

Stanford Weather

The Liberty quartet of Meghan Burggraf, Jacy Christiansen, Caleb Edmonds and Josh MacDonald will race against some of the nation's top performers at the Stanford Invitational, set for Friday and Saturday at Cobb Track and Angell Field.

On Friday, Christiansen and Edmonds will run 5Ks while MacDonald contests the steeplechase. Burggraf will be Liberty's lone athlete in action on Saturday, when she runs the 800 meters.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
For a charge, live video streaming will be available throughout the meet on Flotrack. Live results will also be available for all events, courtesy of Record Timing.

Weather Report
On Friday, the temperature will be in the 50s for most of the day with breezy conditions and a 50 percent chance of passing rain showers. It will still be windy for Burggraf's 800 on Saturday, but sunny skies are forecasted with a high in the mid 60s. Additionally, the pollen count is extremely high at Stanford this week.

A Look Back at Last Year
Caleb Edmonds and Josh MacDonald will both be competing at the Stanford Invitational for the second straight year, after the pair of Flames achieved noteworthy performances on March 29, 2013.

Edmonds clocked a personal-best 13:57.09 5K last year, becoming the third Liberty runner and the fourth Big South athlete ever to run a sub-14:00 5K. MacDonald then became the seventh Flame ever to clock a sub-30:00 10K with his personal-best 29:57.64 effort.

Success at Stanford
Liberty mid-distance and distance runners have experienced success at Stanford over the years, most notably at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational on May 1, 2010. That day, three Flames established school records which still stand, including Jaime Watson (2:06.09 in the women's 800), Ashley Osborne (34:00.60 in the women's 10K) and Sam Chelanga (27:08.39 in the men's 10K). Chelanga's mark is also the all-time collegiate record for the event.

Event Capsules (Organized Chronologically)

Jacy Christiansen – Women's 5K Section 5 – Friday at 1:22 p.m. Eastern
Christiansen has been on a roll during her junior season, setting personal-best times in each of her four races over the last month. These performances include a 4:53.40 mile on March 1, a program-record 9:38.90 3K on March 9, a 2:15.52 800 on March 22 and a 4:33.84 1,500 on Friday.

Now Christiansen will attempt to improve upon her 5K personal best of 17:00.08 and become just the fourth Lady Flame ever to clock a sub-17:00 5K. A more ambitious objective would be chasing Ashley Osborne's school record of 16:31.00 from the 2010 season. Such a clocking would likely qualify Christiansen for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.

Christiansen's top competitors could be Chattanooga's Teghan Henderson, UNCG's Chelsea Sumney and Portland's Natasha Verma. Henderson placed 20th at the 2013 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, while Sumney (16:36.46) and Verma (16:37.69) own the top 5K personal bests in the field.

Christiansen and Sumney have run neck-and-neck several times this year. Christiansen finished slightly ahead at the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Cross Country Championships and in the Hokie Invitational 3K. Meanwhile, Sumney edged Christiansen in the mile at the Liberty Open.

Josh MacDonald – Men's Steeplechase Section 1 – Friday at 9:12 p.m. Eastern
Coming off of a 5K personal-best time of 14:05.87 at the Raleigh Relays, MacDonald will run his specialty event, the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the first time during his senior season on Friday.

The native of nearby San Leandro, Calif., will aim to notch an IC4A qualifier and secure his third straight trip to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. The IC4A standard is 9:15.00, while a time of 9:02.84 or faster qualified for the Preliminary Round last season. MacDonald would also like to improve upon his personal best of 8:49.14.

MacDonald will have no shortage of competition, as he is seeded in the fastest section of the steeplechase. Topping the entry list is Texas A&M graduate Henry Lelei, who was the 2013 NCAA runner-up in a time of 8:23.16.

Current collegians entered in Friday's race include Texas A&M's Isaac Spencer (8:40.87 personal best), BYU's Steve Flint (8:46.19) and Adams State's Tabor Stevens (8:46.64). When MacDonald won the 2013 IC4A steeplechase crown, Flint placed second in the race.

Caleb Edmonds – Men's 5K Section 3 – Friday at 10:47 p.m. Eastern
Edmonds will be running his second 5K in eight days, after posting an impressive time of 14:02.84 in the rain at the Raleigh Relays. He is returning to the site of his personal-best 13:57.09 clocking from 2013 and hopes to improve upon that effort Friday evening.

Edmonds, who currently ranks No. 5 on the NCAA Division I national list for the 5K, should be safely into the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet at this point. Last year, he fell just 0.68 seconds away from advancing from the Preliminary Round meet to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 5K.

Edmonds is one of only two runners in his section who has ever run a sub-14:00 5K, joining Sacramento State's Reesey Byers (13:58.14). The field also includes BYU's Curtis Carr and Loyola (Ill.)'s Sam Penzenstadler, who have excelled in other events. Carr was the fourth-place finisher in the 2013 NCAA steeplechase final, while Penzenstadler clocked a 3:58.21 mile during the 2014 indoor season.

Meghan Burggraf – Women's 800 – Saturday between 5:26-5:49 p.m. Eastern
Burggraf will be running the open 800 for the first time since March 9, when the redshirt senior captured the ECAC indoor title with a personal-best 2:06.84 effort. On Saturday, Burggraf aims to improve upon her outdoor personal best of 2:09.94 and post a time which will secure a berth at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet (likely sub-2:08).

Burggraf's former teammate Jaime Watson set the Liberty and Big South outdoor 800-meter record of 2:06.09 at Stanford on May 1, 2010. If Burggraf hopes to break that record, Saturday could be one of her best chances to do so.

The women's 800-meter sections have not yet been seeded, but Burggraf should be in one of the faster heats. Only seven collegiate women in the field own personal-best times faster than Burggraf, topped by BYU's Kelsey Brown at 2:03.95. Oklahoma State freshman Kaela Edwards is coming off of an impressive indoor season which saw her place third in the NCAA 800-meter final.

Maggie Vessey will be the featured performer in the 800, as she owns a personal-best time of 1:57.84 and has represented Team USA at a pair of World Championships. Also entered is Jessica Smith, who ran the 800 for Canada at the 2012 Olympics.