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Edmonds' Course Record and Runner-Up Finish by Ricksecker Highlight Season-Opening Virginia Tech Invitational
With Josh McDougal and some of the other Liberty cross country stalwarts sitting out the season's inaugural meet, Saturday morning's Virginia Tech Invitational, some of the younger Flames and Lady Flames took advantage of their chances to shine. Leading the way were sophomore Josh Edmonds, who eclipsed McDougal's men's course record, and junior Rebekah Ricksecker, the women's overall runner-up.
In addition to the absence of some of the Flames and Lady Flames' top veterans, some of the most promising Liberty freshmen ran unattached on Saturday. As a result, the Liberty men's team dressed the minimum of five runners and finished fourth out of four teams, with 58 points. The host Hokies won a tight team battle, scoring 45 points.
On the women's side, the story was much the same, as only six Lady Flames donned red Liberty singlets for the 4K race. Virginia Tech captured the women's team title as well, tallying 27 points to outdistance Liberty by eight in the three-team field.
Edmonds (Cooperstown, N.Y.), coming off an extended freshman cross country season, which ended with a trip to Kenya for the World Junior Cross Country Championships, steadily moved up through the pack during the 6K race. His winning time of 18:32 improved upon Josh McDougal's (Sr., Peru, N.Y.) course record of 18:55, established as a freshman, on a different course layout.
Transfer Kalib Wilkinson (Sr., Silverdale, Wash.) made a successful Liberty debut, placing 11th out of 50 runners in 19:08. Jordan Whitlock (R-Fr., Elmhurst, Ill.) came in next, clocking a 19:41 for 20th place. Freshman Kyle Davidson (Charlotte, N.C.) (31st place, 20:26) and redshirt freshman Mark Brucker (Clarksboro, N.J.) (37th, 20:53) rounded out the Flames' varsity five.
Highlighting the men's unattached runners were freshman Cory Reed (Eldred, N.Y.), who ran with the lead pack the entire way and finished fourth with an 18:49 effort. Classmate Mark Hopely (Lorney's Point, N.J.) added an 18th-place finish, traversing the rolling hills in 19:37.
If all of the Liberty female athletes who ran on Saturday would have represented the team, the Lady Flames could have swept the top three spots. As it was, Ricksecker's (Laurel, Del.) second-place finish in 14:28 was sandwiched by a pair of unattached Liberty freshmen. Kati Albright (Wake Forest, N.C.) won the race by a second, falling just 2.5 seconds shy of the course record. Dacia Bushman (Castalia, Iowa) added a third-place finish, stopping the clock at 14:31.
Rod'Esther Castor (Fr., Hamilton, N.J.), the top Liberty newcomer who did represent the Lady Flames on Saturday, placed sixth in 15:08. Jaime Watson (Jr., Ravenna, Mich.) and Ashley Teer (Jr., Abbotsford, British Columbia), both mid-distance specialists on the track, came in 16th and 18th, respectively, among the 29 female finishers. Watson's time was 16:26 and Teer's 16:32. Nicole Miglis (Fr., South Plainfield, N.J.) rounded out the Liberty top five, posting a 17:26 and finishing 20th.
Liberty will return to action next Saturday, when the Flames travel east on Route 460 to run in the Longwood Invitational.
Men's 6K Race
Individual Finishers (50 total finishers in race):
1) Josh Edmonds, 18:32 (Course Record)
2) Jeff Crane, East Tennessee State, 18:42
3) David Atkiss, Virginia Tech Alumni, 18:45
4) Cory Reed, Unattached, 18:49
5) Ryan Kent, Concord, 18:51
11) Kalib Wilkinson, 19:08
20) Jordan Whitlock, 19:41
31) Kyle Davidson, 20:26
37) Mark Brucker, 20:53
1) Virginia Tech, 45
2) Concord, 53
3) East Tennessee State, 57
4) Liberty, 58
Women's 4K Race
Individual Finishers (29 total finishers in race):
1) Kati Albright, Unattached, 14:27
2) Rebekah Ricksecker, 14:28
3) Dacia Bushman, Unattached, 14:31
4) Sam Ference, Virginia Tech, 14:46
5) Dietz Jenn, Virginia Tech Alumni, 15:08
6) Rod'Esther Castor, 15:08
16) Jaime Watson, 16:26
18) Ashley Teer, 16:32
20) Nicole Miglis, 17:26
27) Richlyn Yond, 19:06
1) Virginia Tech, 27
2) Liberty, 35
3) Concord, 65